Kosovo and Bosnia: the EU’s Iraq

It is now widely accepted that the 2003 intervention in Iraq was disastrous, with many commentators arguing that the lack of any kind of forward planning and military policy exacerbated religious and ethnic tensions there. But little seems to have actually been learned from the invasion, as the recent US-backed, Iraq government-led use of a Shia militia to conduct a scorched-earth attack on the ISIS-controlled city of Tikrit demonstrates.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis fled after the West’s invasion in 2003, and the ensuing internal conflict. Today, new waves of refugees are fleeing both ISIS and the Iraqi government’s counterattacks. Iraq is a state that exists in a formal sense only. America has helped create a facade of democracy in Iraq – installing leaders favoured by the West. The recent rulers of Iraq have had no relationship to the people and therefore inevitably rule through extreme coercion, corruption, religious division and pork-barrel politics. The advantage for America and its allies is that this allows them to wash their hands of responsibility by blaming the ongoing catastrophe on the Iraqi elite.