A Chance for Iraqi Political Growth?
Watching the current events unfolding in Iraq, with predominantly Sunni protests against the Government and the Iraqi Army besieging Fallujah, one could easily mistake this for an ongoing Shiite/Sunni religious conflict.
But what is being missed by many campaigners and journalists, is how current events have less to do with Islamic traditions, and everything to do with decisions taken in the initial stages of the US/UK occupation.
Claims by protesters of discrimination by the Iraqi Government, are based in the De-Baathification laws, which were introduced after 2003 and publicly sought to eliminate those in positions of authority under Saddam Hussain.
The law, which was welcomed by both the British and American Governments, declared a country of millions redundant, from either national or private sectors, if workers, teachers, soldiers and civil servants could not disprove past affiliation or association, with the ruling Baath Party.
The same law also applied to candidates in each Iraqi election, along with there also being rules in voting registration, where another voter could object to a person casting a ballot, if someone was suspected of affiliation, or association, with Saddam’s thirty five year long regime.
The De-Baathification law, rather than being used to secure the rights of those who suffered under Saddam, instead became a useful political tool for the post invasion Government to consolidate power, around the Iranian aligned coalition of Nouri Al-Maliki and Moqtada Al-Sadr.
It is a bitter irony, that those who introduced the policy of De-Baathification, thus creating an unimaginable level of paranoia and discrimination, were those who also brought to the British and American Governments, the now infamous claims of Saddam’s 45 minute WMD.
One of the most interesting debates occurred in Britain's Parliament in June 2013, to mark the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war. The discussion was called by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and you can read UK Parliament's Iraq Debate by Hussein Al-alak.