By Mustafa Habib.
Iraqis know better than most that military intervention comes at a price. Ten years after foreigners invaded their country and toppled their dictatorship, the country still isn’t stable. So do they think the West should intervene in Syria?
It has been just over ten years since the US-led invasion of Iraq. But that event and its aftermath have been hanging heavily over the current debate in the West over whether it should intervene in Syria or not.
But how do Iraqis feel about a potential invasion or intervention in Syria? Most of them are well aware that the US military helped to oust a dictator, Saddam Hussein, a man who governed their country with iron and fire for over 24 years. However the destruction and virtual civil war that followed Hussein’s ousting is more than enough to make many of them unenthusiastic about the prospect of external intervention in Syria. And it seems that, no matter what sect or ethnicity they claim, most Iraqis are only too well aware of what comes after intervention.
“When foreign forces overthrew Saddam Hussein, I couldn’t hide my joy,” recalls Saeed Jabbar, a Baghdad university professor. “But we didn’t expect all the devastation and destruction that came afterwards,” he told NIQASH.
“Bashar al-Assad is clearly a dictator – but he should be removed by the Syrian people and not by external forces.”
In the west of Anbar province, where the population is mostly Sunni Muslim like former Iraqi leader Hussein was, a tribal leader there told NIQASH: “The people of Anbar have a clear position on Syria. They all believe that al-Assad and his regime should be toppled, just like Saddam Hussein’s was,” argues Ahmad al-Jumaili.