Latest World News

20 years since the Iraqi earthquake


Asharq Al-Awsat recalls the memory: Barzani narrates the “Way of War”… Bremer acknowledges his “mistakes”… and Amr Moussa talks about an “unhealed wound.”

Today, Sunday, marks the twentieth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, an event that was like an earthquake whose repercussions the region is still living to this day. The US President at the time, George W. Bush, did not listen to many warnings, Western and Arab, that preceded his launch of the war to overthrow the regime of former President Saddam Hussein in 2003, warning him that his move would open the “door of hell” by plunging Iraq into chaos and internal strife and would allow the spread of extremism and terrorism.

Bush launched his “shock and awe” campaign to overthrow Saddam on the night of March 19th by bombing Baghdad in an attempt to kill the Iraqi president, before launching the ground invasion. The war did not last long, as Saddam’s army quickly collapsed, and the Americans occupied the Iraqi capital in early April. However, their quick military victory could not erase the “mistake” they had made, as their justifications for the invasion that they presented to the world were revealed to be false.

Today and tomorrow, Asharq Al-Awsat publishes a comprehensive file on the anniversary of the invasion, which includes exclusive interviews with many of the key players who witnessed the “Iraqi earthquake”.

Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani tells the story of the “war road”, revealing that a delegation from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) informed them, in February 2002, of the “decision to overthrow Saddam”, that is, a year before the launch of the battle. He says that the Kurds stipulated for cooperation with the Americans that the alternative to Saddam be a federal system that respects their rights.

As for Paul Bremer, head of the “Coalition Provisional Authority” that the Americans set up to rule Iraq after Saddam’s overthrow, he acknowledged making “mistakes” in the two decisions to dismantle the Baath Party and dissolve the Iraqi army, but he strongly defended the new Iraq, saying that the country is “better off.”

The former Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, also talks about the failure of the Arab efforts to prevent the war, speaking of an “unhealed wound,” and referring to warnings that overthrowing the Iraqi regime could open “the gates of hell.”

As for retired General Joseph Votel, commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), he provides “reflections on the Iraq war,” noting that our “initial planning” for the war “was not sufficient.”
The Night of Fate and Destiny… The gallows and the gluttony of boxers
20 years since the occupation of Iraq
Barzani: We went to the secret meeting, and the Americans said, “We have made a decision to overthrow Saddam.”
Bremer admits “mistakes” in the two decisions to dismantle the Baath Party and dissolve the army
Amr Moussa to Asharq Al-Awsat: The wound has not yet healed and the political miscalculation is behind the fall of Iraq
Reflections on the Iraq War