A Brief History of U.S. Intervention in Iraq Over the Past Half Century

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The Intercept
Published at : 12 Jan 2021
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On April 9, 2003, television networks across the globe cut to a live scene unfolding in Baghdad’s Firdos Square. A motley hybrid of what appeared to be ordinary Iraqis and uniformed U.S. troops — who had begun to occupy Baghdad — pulled down a massive statue of Saddam Hussein. It was a brilliant, semi-staged propaganda exercise meant to reinforce the neoconservative promise that ordinary Iraqis would be exuberant over the fall of the regime and welcome the U.S. troops as liberators.

To understand Iraq’s current reality, we must confront not just 15 years of U.S. policy, but a history that spans the administrations of 11 U.S. presidents. It’s a 55-year history that is filled with constant interventions and bombings, sanctions and covert CIA activity, and regime change. And in this history — a history you never hear discussed on cable news — the main victims are, as they’ve always been: ordinary Iraqis.

This is a classic case study in U.S. imperial crimes that began in 1958 when the British-installed monarchy was overthrown by a popular Iraqi army general who set about to nationalize oil, normalize relations with the Soviet Union, and implement sweeping agrarian and social reforms.

This short film is by no means an exhaustive history, but rather a brief case study on the role the U.S. has played in destabilizing Iraq and the region.

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