By Zaid Al-Ali
Read Online or Download The Struggle for Iraq's Future: How Corruption, Incompetence and Sectarianism Have Undermined Democracy PDF
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Extra resources for The Struggle for Iraq's Future: How Corruption, Incompetence and Sectarianism Have Undermined Democracy
The US and the UK had not always shared the same attitude towards exile and opposition groups. indd 39 29/11/13 7:42 PM 40 THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ’S FUTURE outset – not just because the monarchy that it had installed had been overthrown and brutally murdered, but also because its oil interests had been gradually nationalized, culminating in the UK’s expulsion from the market in 1972. Although there was little that it could do on its own, Britain had started nurturing relationships with Iraqi dissidents and had recruited informants from among the Baath party’s own ranks.
The Shiite Islamic Dawa Party, which from 2005 came to play a dominant role, was one such. In the late 1950s, with the number of people attending Communist party rallies dwarfing the number of religious pilgrims, Dawa was formed to promote religious values. Over the coming decades, it operated largely in clandestine fashion, and was eventually accused of several assassination attempts against senior Baath party officials, including Saddam Hussein. Its leadership was pursued, imprisoned, murdered and exiled to neighbouring countries.
Secondly, the shah had been one of the West’s staunchest allies in a vital geopolitical area, but he was now being replaced by a revolutionary regime that had already taken American diplomats hostage. The Baathists could therefore prop up their regime by replacing Iran as the West’s enforcer in the area. In September 1980, Iraqi forces swept into south-west Iran, an area that had a sizeable Arab population and that was rich in natural resources. Despite Iran’s isolation and the support that Iraq received from the region and from the West (and partly because of Hussein’s insistence on involving himself in the details of the war), Iraq’s military suffered a number of setbacks.