Middle East

Iraq: “Things Fall Apart”


          Turning and turning in the widening gyre

           The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

          Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…

W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming

ISIS militia in Basra; they just returned from the Syrian civil war.

ISIS militia in Basra; they just returned from the Syrian civil war.

So wrote William Butler Yeats in describing the period shortly after WWI. So he might have written today, and nowhere is this more true than describing what is happening in Iraq.

World imperialism had imposed “order” on the region through WWI, which was a colonial scramble to redivide the then-colonial world. As part of that bloody scramble, the British and French capitalists reached the Sykes-Picot Accord, which divided up the Middle East into “spheres of influence” – that is, it was an agreement over which gang of capitalists would get to rape which peoples in that part of the world. So much for the war to make the world safe for democracy…..

Iraq in Crisis

Iraq, a majority Shia society, has little history of sectarian, Sunni-Shia violence. In fact, many clans or tribes contain both wings of Muslims and intermarriage was not uncommon. And while the dictator Saddam Hussein based himself on and favored the Sunni minority, that was as much based on his tribal origins (which happened to be mainly Sunni) as it was based on religious sectarianism. In fact, Hussein sharply repressed political Islam during his reign. The US invasion of Iraq, however, disrupted this.

Among other things, the US invasion and its aftermath has been an economic disaster for the masses of Iraqis. At least under Hussein there was some government social programs as well as state run enterprises. Under US tutelage, most of this has been eliminated, yet there has been little capital investment. As a result, some 35% of Iraqis live in poverty1 and unemployment is officially running at about 20% and is especially severe amongst the youth2. To divert attention and to build some sort of base, Maliki has greatly favored the Shiite majority vs. the Sunni minority. As one article reported, “Ordinary Sunnis complain of discrimination in almost all aspects of life, including housing, education, employment and security.”3 Maliki charged the top Sunni politician, Vice President Tarek al-Hashemi, with “terrorism” and forced him to flee the country for his life.

Read entire article here: Iraq Things fall apart



Categories: Middle East, war

Leave a Reply