Iraq

No victory

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The US exit from Iraq was a humiliation for the world's biggest superpower. Barack Obama wanted to fulfil his commitment to pull out of Iraq by 31 December 2011, but he also wanted to leave some troops in place. He didn't get his way. The Iraqi authorities refused to extend an agreement of immunity from prosecution for US troops beyond 2011 - so Obama had to pull them all out.

Obama once described Iraq as the "dumb war", yet in his speech to soldiers in the US marking the pull out he called it "an extraordinary achievement".

Eyewitness report on the legacy of the occupation of Iraq

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Sabah Jawad has just returned from Iraq. He reports on a country still devastated by the effects of the war and explains how the very foundations of society have been shattered by the US.

In 2003 the Iraqi state structures, not only the regime of Saddam Hussein, were destroyed. All the institutions of the Iraqi state were disbanded - the ministries and buildings were destroyed, the civil service sent home. The police, army, museums, national heritage and libraries were all destroyed, looted and burned down.

Letter From Iraq

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Ahmed Ali reports from Baquba on the treatment of Iraqi people at the hands of the US military.

The presence of US forces in Iraq had a massive impact on Iraqi people right from the first day of the occupation. Iraq has spent two decades in the darkness with an eight year war and a 13 year blockade and United Nations sanctions.
At the time of the US invasion, Iraqis were put to the test. Very few passed. How to pass became a crucial dilemma. It was connected to our understanding of the real world - a world that believes in the absolute power of the US. In effect those who gave in to this reality passed.

Solidarity, struggle and resistance

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Iraqi-born writer and activist Haifa Zangana talks to Judith Orr about the struggle of Iraqi women still fighting for the liberation of their country.

Your new book, City of Widows, looks at the history of Iraq and in particular the role of women, which is often hidden in official histories.

During the period of Islam and the emergence of Islam and the building of the Islamic empire, there were always women leaders, poets - quite influential women in society.

Prominent women are more common at times of expansion, and when there have been struggles for national liberation women have been there, and have been quite powerful. So it varies from one period to another historically.

Blood, Sweat and Oil

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In recent months Iraq's oil workers have come into confrontation with the puppet government in Baghdad. Kamil Mahdi writes on a union movement forged in struggles.

Iraq's oil workers represent a small proportion of the country's workforce, but they are historically some of the best organised and most politically conscious groups. Their politics has always combined labour issues with wider working class and national concerns. This is because the nature of their industry brought them into direct contact with multinational capital and its imperialist protectors as well as with subservient or oppressive governments. The workers were also conscious of the supreme importance of their industry and of the greed that surrounds it.

Kurdistan: What Now for National Liberation?

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The Kurds are distinguished from their neighbours by their language, culture, and a homeland where they represent about 90 percent of the population. They speak an Indo-European language different from both Turkish and Arabic.

The Kurdish population is about 36 million, of whom 55 percent live within the borders of Turkey, where they represent 30 percent of the population. The rest live mainly in Iran, Iraq and Syria. The Kurds are by far the largest stateless nation on earth.

Iraq: 'The British army is just another militia'

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Kamil Mahdi interviewed

Daily the media tells us about clashes between "insurgents" and Western troops in Iraq. We hear less about the unarmed resistance which is fighting the occupation with strikes and workplace walkouts. The General Union of Oil Employees in Basra (GUOE), or Basra Oil Union as it is commonly referred to, is in many respects leading in that struggle - continuously opposing international corporations that want to take over the national oil industry.

Iraq and the Costs of Conflict

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Debates about the Iraq conflict have focused on political, military, moral and legal arguments to the neglect of economic aspects. But wars are costly and the Iraq conflict is no exception.

The relevance of economics

Conflict and the subsequent peacekeeping require scarce resources which could be used for alternatives such as education and health. But military costs are only one component of the total costs of conflict. Typically, there are sizeable hidden costs which cannot be ignored. Historically, conflict was the preserve of political scientists, but increasingly, defence economists are applying their economic tools to the analysis of conflict (Sandler and Hartley, 2003).

The economics of conflict

Iraq: Filmmaking under occupation

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Maysoon Pachachi interview with Anne Ashford

Iraq is constantly in the news, but the coverage which dominates our televisions is one-dimensional. For Maysoon Pachachi, an Iraqi filmmaker, it silences the voices which matter most-those of ordinary Iraqis: "I was very struck during the first Gulf War, when I was watching hours and hours of media coverage. You never saw one ordinary Iraqi person expressing an opinion. And there are so many stories in Iraq, and so many years of being silenced."

Iraq: Standing Firm in Face of the Occupation

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It is a big step to describe what is currently going on in Iraq as a "civil war", but I think we can say that we are witnessing the beginnings of such a conflict.

The proof is that there are sectarian attacks targeting holy sites and mosques, and we are seeing incidents of ethnic cleansing - Shia families are having to leave Sunni areas.

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