Officially, Iraq is now a democracy… a far cry from the cruel dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, as echoed in the speeches of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, with its repression and brutality, torture, perpetual fear and terror. Or is it?
A tyranny is a cruel and oppressive government or rule, with unrestrained exercise of power and undue severity or harshness. Iraqi democracy has all the characteristics of a tyranny. Since 2006 thousands have been arrested, imprisoned and tortured by the regime. Protesters have been shot at and killed, any insurgency is met with shelling that kills insurgents as well as civilians, while political opponents have been persecuted. In the past 2 years, since the US army has left Iraq, the situation has deteriorated to where now there are nightly shellings and mortar attacks by the Iraqi army, in addition to the terrorist acts which never ceased.
In Ramadi and Fallujah, residents have accused government forces of illegally detaining citizens, torturing and raping them, while doctors and NGO workers accuse the government of war crimes. The Iraqi army is reportedly preventing medical supplies from entering the cities.
The Iraqis, the “liberated” nation Bush had envisaged moving towards democracy and living in freedom, are captives of their own leaders, they are captives of their fragmented society and they are captives of the legacy left by American and British forces. Moreover, they are trapped in this captivity and are not allowed to escape it. They are not allowed by those in power and they are not allowed by those with the power of weapons -in Iraq, in the wider Middle East and in the West. Ultimately, it is the interests that are being fought on Iraqi soil that hold the population captive.
The interests are political, financial, regional and wider foreign and they are the interests of local terrorist gangs, insurgents and political elites. Ironically, this has come as a result of an invasion that was purportedly done in the interest of the Iraqi population and it is they who have paid the highest price, with their freedom and their lives.