Territory in southwest Asia, ruled since 2005 by the Jumhūriyyat Al-‘Irāq

Iraq (Arabic: العراق‎ al-‘Irāq; Kurdish: عێراق‎ Eraq), officially known as the Republic of Iraq (Arabic: جُمُهورية العِراق‎ Jumhūrīyyat al-‘Irāq; Kurdish: کۆماری عێراق‎ Komari Eraq), is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

  • Gulf War - 1990-91 conflict between Iraq and forces led by the United States, in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
  • Iraq War (2003) - Invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and other countries, purportedly to find weapons of mass destruction

Measures of Freedom

Iraq | Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2016
2016: Status: Not Free, Aggregate Score: 27, Political Rights: 5, Civil Liberties: 6
"The Iraqi security forces and their allies in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militant group made hard-won progress in 2015. IS lost control of significant towns and cities such as Tikrit, Sinjar, and Ramadi, the last of which had fallen to the militants in May but was mostly retaken by late December. However, IS retained control of important areas, including Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, and stepped up terrorist attacks in the capital and other government-held population centers."

Articles

Democracy: The God That Failed, by Justin Raimondo, 12 Oct 2005
Discusses the actual results from the so-called Bush Doctrine involving "democratizing" the Middle East as well as several other countries which have a "democracy deficit"
"The introduction of national elections and the process of drawing up a constitutional framework have exacerbated rather than tamped down Iraq's regional, ethnic, and religious divisions. The administration is hoping for a "yes" vote in the upcoming constitutional referendum – and so are the insurgents, who see passage of the anti-Sunni constitution as a recruiting tool. Instead of introducing the reign of calm, the democratic delusion has produced endless conflict, as Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Kurds compete for control of the government. The civil war ... threatens to shatter the nascent Iraqi state ..."
Gravity works, by Victor Milan, Rational Review, 3 Feb 2005
Discusses the state of democracy in the United States in the wake of the January 2005 Iraqi parliamentary election
"[Democracy is] all the more patently phony in Iraq, where it's being imposed at gunpoint by a hostile alien invader. ... Let's presume I'm mistaken in all the above; it's happened before. Let us postulate that the elections in Iraq were entirely fair and free, and that the occupying force will abide scrupulously by the outcome. In which case, congratulations: the US has bought itself a brand-new Iranian Islamic Republic. And yes, that's what I meant to type."
Related Topic: United States
If the State Falls, Does Society Crumble?, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 25 Jan 2007
Discusses the situation in Iraq four years after the 2003 invasion and evaluates the question of "just how integral is the state to society?"
"The country of Iraq is in civil war. Sunnis long for the days of Saddam. Shiites long for total power, and, as the majority, they figure that they might just get it, and use it against their historic enemies. The Christians and Jews have largely fled the country. And the tit-for-tat killing grows ever more gruesome. ... Saddam, on the other hand, was very careful to cultivate both necessary pillars of state stability. Yes, he killed enemies, but his preferred method was to buy them off in some way. He had all important religious leaders on the payroll, and helped religious minorities when they needed it."
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Society, The State
Immorality, Inc., by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 31 Jul 2006
Argues that the lawlessness and violence in occupied Iraq is due to the immorality of modern day warfare and questions the claim that the U.S. invaded Iraq "to bring about freedom"
"... two armored vans ... were transporting cash from one bank to another in Baghdad ... the vans met up with a military checkpoint made up by Iraqi Army trucks ... The cash from the van was stolen by the people in the Iraqi military convoy ... Who were the robbers? No one knows for sure. There is an equal chance that they were private robbers on the make, underground political rebels, or actual Iraqi troops who saw a main chance and took it. ... Who or what taught the Iraqi people that crime pays, that violence is a tolerable mode of behavior ... Think back to the days after the bombs stopped falling on a newly 'liberated' Baghdad."
Related Topics: Ethics, Government, Socialism, War
Improve the CIA? Better to abolish it, by Chalmers Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Feb 2004
Lists countries where the CIA conducted subversive operations and recommends abolishing the agency.
"According to President George W. Bush and his chief weapons inspector, David Kay, the agency has done it again, misleading the nation about the alleged menace posed by the ousted president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. ... As for the CIA's prewar intelligence on Iraq, the recently appointed commission of prestigious Americans to investigate its shortcomings is unlikely to be able to tell us anything we do not already know."
Iraq after the Gulf War: Sanctions, Part 1, by Rahul Mahajan, Future of Freedom, Nov 2007
Reviews the effect of the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War and the Oil for Food program started in 1996
"Never, however, have there been such comprehensive international restrictions on all exports and imports as were imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War; never have prohibitions on imports been enforced by attaching a country's entire foreign earnings and placing them in a closely monitored bank account, with numerous bureaucratic impediments to disbursement of funds."
Iraq after the Gulf War: Sanctions, Part 2, by Rahul Mahajan, Future of Freedom, Dec 2007
Continues the review of the effect of the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War and the Oil for Food program started in 1996
"The United States, in its partial administration of Iraq through the sanctions, oversaw a decline in literacy, as elementary schools emptied for lack of supplies, and Iraq was forced to impose user fees. It saw the near-total destruction of the middle class and a massive 'brain drain,' as doctors, scientists, engineers, and other socially necessary people fled to the West."
Related Topic: Gulf War
Iraq Exit Strategy: America's Path Forward [PDF], by Libertarian Party, 29 Jun 2005
Proposal by the Libertarian National Committee for the U.S. to remove its troops from Iraq and a direct-aid program to allow Iraq to reconstruct its infrastructure (note: the occupation lasted another six years)
"After September 11, 2001, the United States re-examined countries that could be potential threats to national security. Iraq was considered a gathering threat by the Bush administration. It was presented to the American public that Saddam Hussein was actively reconstituting Iraq's nuclear weapons program. Additionally, British intelligence erroneously reported that 'Saddam Hussein sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.' ... American and coalition troops have remained in Iraq for over two years since Bush's declaration of victory."
Iraqi Sanctions and American Intentions: Blameless Carnage? Part 1, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Jan 2004
Examines the effects of the destruction of Iraqi infrastucture during the 1990-91 Gulf War, the subsequent UN sanctions and the "oil for food" program
"... an epidemiologist and an expert on the effects of sanctions, estimated in 2003 that the sanctions had resulted in infant and young-child fatalities numbering between 343,900 and 529,000. ... Sanctions wreaked havoc on the Iraqi people, in part because the Pentagon intentionally destroyed Iraq's water-treatment systems during the first U.S.-Iraq war ..."
Iraqi Sanctions and American Intentions: Blameless Carnage? Part 2, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Feb 2004
Further examination of the effects of the Iraqi sanctions and the hypocritical comments after the 2003 invasion
"After human-rights advocates had harshly condemned sanctions on Iraq for almost a decade, the sanctions suddenly morphed into a causus belli. ... Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild observed that Bush and Blair 'refuse to acknowledge any responsibility for those deaths ...' In reality, the United States government perennially blocked the importation of the necessary equipment and supplies to repair the water system ..."
Iraqi Sanctions: Were They Worth It?, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Jan 2004
Analyzes the sanctions imposed on Iraq during the 1990's, and Madeleine Albright's attempt to recant, in her memoirs, on her statement that the sanctions were "worth it"
"Saddam ... maintained an elaborate food-rationing program, presumably to hold the loyalty of the Iraqi people, which the sanctions were intended to dissolve. He did such a 'good job' of creating dependence on the government for food that current American administrators in Iraq find the Iraqis reluctant to give up the program even though Saddam is gone and the sanctions are over. ... Although the embargo on food ended in April 1991, Iraq was hampered in importing it because Iraqi oil couldn't be exported. Iraq was heavily dependent on oil exports and food imports: no exports, no imports."
Iraq Quiz, by Jim Cox, 15 Apr 2004
20 questions, with answers
UpdIraq: The Hidden Horror, by Justin Raimondo, 13 Oct 2006
Discusses the responses to a study by John Hopkins University professors estimating, as of July 2006, 654,965 "excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the [Iraq] war"
"The U.S. military has steadfastly refused to maintain Iraqi body counts ... Independent sources of such information invariably depend on reported deaths: the Iraqi media ... It ... makes ... sense that the Johns Hopkins survey – which involved researchers personally interviewing a total of 1,849 Iraqi households, most of whom produced death certificates – would be far higher ... the total represents 2.5 percent of Iraq's population. ... The Iraqi government derides the Johns Hopkins numbers, as well they might: either that, or they'd have to admit they were installed into power by a pack of mass murderers."
Mr. Bush's War, by Murray Rothbard, The Irrepressible Rothbard, Oct 1990
Starts off as a tongue-in-cheek analysis of the rationale for the Gulf War, but then delves into more serious reasons, including the Saudi, petroleum and Rockefeller connections
"Saddam is definitely BAD. But – and here's the point – he was just as bad a few short years ago when he was the heroic 'defender of the free world' against the BAD fanatical mullah-run Shiite Iranians (Remember them?). Remember how, in the extremely bloody eight-year war between Iraq and Iran ... the U.S. 'tilted toward' (in plain English: sided with) Iraq? Well, the current Butcher of Baghdad was the same Butcher of Baghdad then."
Related Topics: Saudi Arabia, Taxation, War
Obama's Iraqi Fairy Tale, by Sheldon Richman, 28 Mar 2014
Examines, in detail, Obama's March 2014 remarks about the 2003 Iraqi invasion compared to Russia's annexation of Crimea
"Billions of dollars ostensibly spent to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by American bombers (beginning in 1991) ended up lining the pockets of contractors ... Iraqis to this day suffer from inadequate public services like water, electricity, sewerage, and medical care. ... The invasion unleashed a conflagration of sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiites, unseen during Saddam's tenure and consciously facilitated by the U.S. government. Most Sunnis were cleansed from Baghdad. Countless were killed and maimed; millions more became refugees. The fire burns out of control to this day ..."
One Hundred Years in Iraq?, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Apr 2008
Analyses John McCain's comment about staying in Iraq for 100 or more years and his previous comments on the occupation
"McCain is wrong about al-Qaeda in Iraq. By nearly all accounts, it is a minor element in the country, largely despised by its fellow Sunni Muslims. Moreover, the group wasn't even in the country until the United States invaded. Saddam Hussein distrusted Osama bin Laden. Before 2003 an al-Qaeda operative was in northern Iraq, but that was the semi-autonomous Kurdish region that Saddam did not control."
Pentagon Whistle-Blower on the Coming War With Iran, by Karen Kwiatkowski, James Harris, Josh Scheer, 27 Feb 2007
Interviewed by James Harris and Josh Scheer of Truthdig; topics include possible conflict with Iran, the Pentagon situation prior to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Office of Special Plans, Vietnam, terrorism and neoconservatism
"Most of the money we gave to Halliburton was for construction and completion of these bases. We have probably, of the 150,000, 160,000 troops we have in Iraq probably 110,000 of those folks are associated with one of those four mega bases. Safely ensconced behind acres and acres of concrete. To operate there indefinitely, no matter what happens in Baghdad, no matter who takes over, no matter if the country splits into three pieces or it stays one. No matter what happens, we have those mega bases, and there's many in Congress and certainly in this administration, Republican and Democrat alike that really like that."
UpdRationalizing Haditha, by Justin Raimondo, 7 Jun 2006
Additional comments on responses to the Haditha massacre and similar incidents, from Rich Lowry, Christopher Hitchens, Nouri al-Maliki and Andrew Walden
"Who, Iraqis wonder, is next to die at the hands of the American "liberators"? The message sent by recent American actions, whether intended or not, is clear enough: be afraid. Be very afraid... Whether such tactics induce servility in our Iraqi subjects or renew their determination to resist is unknown – but consider the remarks of newly elevated Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who said that killings and other abuse by the American occupiers have become a "daily phenomenon," and averred: "They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion. This is completely unacceptable.""
UpdRoad to Empire, by Justin Raimondo, 28 Nov 2007
Discusses the "Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America" signed on 26 Nov 2007, after the U.S. Congress went into recess
"This agreement formalizes Iraq's status as a de facto U.S. protectorate, a province of the empire ... There's just one big problem for the War Party: the Iraqi constitution requires a vote by the Parliament in order to give the Status of Forces Agreement (or this preliminary declaration of intent) the force of law. And that looks problematic, at best, given the weakness of the Maliki regime. As Liwa Sumaysim, formerly tourism minister and now a member of the Iraqi Parliament from the fiercely nationalistic party of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, put it: "The Iraqi parliament must have the final word on it.""
Sanctions: The Cruel and Brutal War against the Iraqi People, Part 1, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Jan 2004
Sanctions: The Cruel and Brutal War against the Iraqi People, Part 2, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Feb 2004
Stop the Cannon Fodder, by Charley Reese, 27 Jan 2007
"Iraq is an artificial country created at the end of World War I by British colonialism. It has always existed because a powerful central government, wielding its authority in the most savage manner, has forced it to hold together. That is the only history Iraq has. Can any honest American say that 10 years from now, Iraq will be a peaceful and prosperous country with many monuments to the Americans who liberated it?"
Related Topics: Children, War
The Lethal Legacy of U.S. Foreign Intervention, by Sheldon Richman, 12 Feb 2014
Presents examples of the deadly lasting effects of U.S. foreign intervention: continuing sectarian conflicts in Iraq and unexploded bombs in Laos
"Take Iraq, which the U.S. military left at the end of 2011 (though not before President Obama pleaded with the Iraqi government to let some American forces remain). Violence is flaring in Iraq, as Sunni Muslims, fed up with the oppressive, corrupt, U.S.-installed and Iran-leaning Shi'a government, have mounted new resistance. ... Wasn't Iraq a terrible place before the 2003 U.S. invasion, devastation, and occupation? Iraq was certainly ruled by a bad man, Saddam Hussein, who repressed the majority Shi'a, but also mistreated Sunnis. Yet Iraq was not plagued by sectarian violence before the U.S. military arrived."
Related Topics: Foreign Entanglements, Laos
The Noninterventionists Told You So, by Sheldon Richman, 18 Jun 2014
Analyses the 2014 Iraqi situation from the vantage point of noninterventionism, contrasting it with those who still want the Obama administration to intervene
"... those who opposed the George W. Bush administration's invasion of Iraq in March 2003 — not to mention his father's war on Iraq in 1991 and the sanctions enforced through the administration of Bill Clinton — were right. ... There was no ISIS or al-Qaeda in Saddam Hussein's Iraq before the U.S. invasion. ... No one can grasp the complexity of one's own society, ... much less a society with Iraq's unique religious, sectarian, and political culture and history."
The State in the Dock, by Lew Rockwell, 26 May 2006
Reflects on the then ongoing trial of Saddam Hussein (2004-2006) and wonders what would happen if other heads of state, including George W. Bush, were put on trial
"Tariq Aziz, the senior member of Saddam's cabinet, riveted the courtroom the other day with testimony that the current puppet government is led by people who attempted to assassinate Saddam and Aziz in the 1980s. ... There was no democracy in Iraq, so there was no gloss on the fact that Saddam protected his interests first. ... For those people who ... didn't challenge his right to rule, the country seemed rather secular and liberal overall, a place unique in that part of the world where women had rights, there was religious tolerance (Jews and Catholics were left alone ...), and you could get a martini."
The War the Government Cannot Win, by Lew Rockwell, 1 May 2007
Discusses how government cannnot win the war on terror because economic law is more powerful than the state
"At the Baghdad airport, for example, your tax dollars paid for $11.8 million in new electrical generators. But $8.6 million worth of them are no longer functioning. ... At the maternity hospital in Erbil, an incinerator for medical waste was padlocked and officials can't find the key. So syringes, bandages, and drug vials are clogging the sewage system and contaminating the water. ... A federal oversight agency went to inspect a sample of eight projects that US officials in Iraq had declared to be a success. Of these eight successes, seven of them were not actually functioning at all ..."
They Don't Mean Well, by Sheldon Richman, 15 Jan 2014
Reviews Barry Lando's article "The American Legacy in Iraq", which describes U.S. government intervention in Iraq since 1990
"The U.S. government (specifically, the CIA) not only helped to bring Saddam Hussein to power, it supplied him the means and intelligence to use chemical weapons in his aggressive war against Iran in the 1980s. ... Collusion with Saddam continued right up until he invaded Kuwait, as U.S. officials helped instigate that event ... Ironically, the U.S. government and its accomplices conducted biological warfare against the Iraqis. How so? ... The resulting deaths of Iraqis, including half a million children, were not unintended consequences, but foreseen results of America's malicious policy."
Related Topic: Foreign Entanglements
UpdWho Lost Iraq?, by Justin Raimondo, 13 Nov 2006
Reviews and reflects on the title question posed in an opinion essay by retired U.S. Army Colonel and professor Andrew J. Bacevich
"However, the tide ... turned completely when the Shi'ites ... rose up to demand real elections, rejecting the "caucus" system the Americans initially sought to impose, which would have installed neocon sock-puppet Ahmed Chalabi and his gang ... The Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, spiritual leader of Iraq's majority Shi'ite population, called his followers into the streets and Washington beat a hasty retreat. The elections were held; the Shi'ite parties swept into power, and their party militias began visiting a reign of terror on their former Sunni masters. The results: civil war, Iraq's slide into warlordism ..."
Related Topic: Iraq War (2003)

Cartoons and Comic Strips

Declaration of Thingamajig, by Mark Fiore, 22 Jun 2011
On the wars ... hostilities ... thingamajigs of the U.S. empire
How do you spell Iraq?, by Mike Adams, Dan Berger, 29 Jan 2007
Related Topic: Ron Paul
More Wisdom of the Ages From Bernie and Phil, by Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur, 19 Oct 2014

Videos


Pirates and Emperors - Schoolhouse Rock, 17 Sep 2006
Related Topics: Imperialism, Iran, Nicaragua

Space Aliens from Luxemburg: A Horror Story, by Stefan Molyneux, 14 Mar 2008

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Iraq" as of 19 Sep 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.