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Remember Iraq?


 

It’s startling how quickly Iraq has fallen off of our collective radar. There are good reasons for this, I suppose. Notwithstanding carnage such as the bombings suffered by Baghdad this week, the level of violence continues to trend sharply downward. He wont get it, but former president George W. Bush deserves credit for reversing Iraq’s slide into anarchy with his troop surge gamble, which he approved in the face of opposition from just about everyone. President Barack Obama derided the strategy and is now mimicking it – albeit with less resolve – in Afghanistan.

This morning I was reminded of how far Iraq has come, how far it still has to go, and why we can’t yet afford to look away. I met with members of La’Onf, a network of Iraqi civil society groups committed to human rights, democracy, and, above all else, non-violence.

This year, Rights and Democracy, a Canadian institution created by Parliament in 1988 to promote and defend democracy and human rights abroad, awarded La’Onf its ‘John Humphrey Award,’ which comes with at $30,000 grant. Ibrahim Ismael and Saba Al Nadawi were in town to accept it.

Both deserve more space than I am giving them here. Suffice to say they’re brave and resilient. They have worked as journalists or for organizations that promote press freedom. Al Nadawi’s husband, Mohammad Al Sadoon, did as well. He was murdered on his way to Fallujah last December. He was Sunni. Al Nadawi is Shia. He might have been murdered because he married a Shia, or because of his work with Western NGOs. Al Nadawi couldn’t say. Her grandfather used to worry that they both would be kidnapped every time they left the house.

She hasn’t been deterred, though. Al Nadawi now trains journalists with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Lately she’s been focusing her training on how to cover elections – a skill that wasn’t necessary under Saddam.

You can learn a bit more about La’Onf here.


 

Remember Iraq?

  1. "It's startling how quickly Iraq has fallen off of our collective radar."

    I so loathe the journalistic "our" and "we." Please be specific.

    It hasn't fallen off my radar. And try as you might, Petrou, nothing will undo the lies and the manufactured intelligence that served as a casus belli for this cock-up global proportions. The next time our governments want to invade for regime change and a variety of other experiments, they'll have to try to sell us it in exactly that way.

  2. Now Bush is gone and Blair is gone. Obama, Brown, the Democrats and Labour do not care about success or failure in Iraq.

    There has been a lot of progress in Iraq the last few years, hopefully it continues that way.

  3. How exactly would you define future "success" in Iraq? Wouldn't we all be happy with a stable, prosperous, middle-class-friendly, non-sectarian Iraq, run by a strongman who is hostile to the Iranian regime, hostile to Al Qaeda? Even if he had a terrible human rights record? In other words, wouldn't we be happy with Saddam?

  4. The idea that Bush's "surge" caused the turn-around in violence is not endorsed by most people who have studied the matter. In "The War Within", for example, Bob Woodward describes several conversations that point to 3 other factors that changed the situation.

  5. No, Saddam was also hostile to the west, to peaceful countries like Kuwait, and hostile to his own citizens, specifically anyone he found threatening and the entire Kurdish population.

  6. He wont get it, but former president George W. Bush deserves credit for reversing Iraq's slide into anarchy with his troop surge gamble

    +++

    And a hundred times more admonishment for the stupid idea in the first place.

  7. thanks for write about my story i hope every one support non violence to make all live in peace every day i feel sad and have big pain coz i lose the great man in my life Mohamed was Angel .

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