Our Last Occupation

Our Last Occupation

Gas, Chemicals, Bombs: Britain Has Used Them All before in Iraq

NO ONE, LEAST OF ALL THE BRITISH, SHOULD BE SURPRISED AT THE STATE OF ANARCHY IN IRAQ. We have been here before. We know the territory, its long and miasmic history, the all-but-impossible diplomatic balance to be struck between the cultures and ambitions of Arabs, Kurds, Shia and Sunni, of Assyrians, Turks, Americans, French, Russians and of our own desire to keep an economic and strategic presence there.

Laid waste, a chaotic post-invasion Iraq may now well be policed by old and new imperial masters promising liberty, democracy and unwanted exiled leaders, in return for oil, trade and submission. Only the last of these promises is certain. The peoples of Iraq, even those who have cheeredpassing troops, have every reason to mistrust foreign invaders. They havebeen lied to far too often, bombed and slaughtered promiscuously.

Iraq is the product of a lying empire. The British carved it duplicitously from ancient history, thwarted Arab hopes, Ottoman loss, the dunes of Mesopotamia and the mountains of Kurdistan at the end of the first worldwar. Unsurprisingly, anarchy and insurrection were there from the start.