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    A member of the Iraqi security forces holds his national flag on December 28, 2015 at the heavily damaged government complex after they recaptured the city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province, about 110 kilometers west of Baghdad, from Islamic States group jihadists

    Bitter Fruit of NATO Invasion: Iraq's Future Hanging in the Balance

    © AFP 2017/ AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
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    Washington's longstanding occupation of Iraq and the emergence of Daesh (Islamic State/ISIL) have pushed the state to the brink of a major humanitarian crisis, Chicago-based American author Stephen Lendman notes.

    Years of NATO occupation combined with the damage inflicted by Daesh and the oil price slump have dealt a heavy blow to Iraq's economy.

    Baghdad needs over $1.5 billion in aid this year alone to assist 10 million people in need, American activist and syndicated columnist Stephen Lendman writes in his recent article for Global Research.

    Iraqi Minister of Migration and Displacement Jassim Mohammed al-Jaff said in an official statement "with the expanding needs, the allocation through the federal budget will not be sufficient. We expect that the highly prioritized (UN) Humanitarian Response Plan will help cover part of the gap."

    ​Indeed, Reuters reported that the UN appealed Sunday for $861 million to plug the gaping funding hole in its emergency response to the crisis caused by the protracted war against Daesh.

    ​Lendman notes, however, that while US hawks and European political elites prioritize "war-making" they are in no rush to provide aid to the victims of their bellicosity.

    "Iraq's long nightmare includes Jimmy Carter's orchestrated war with Iran, Operation Desert Storm, years of genocidal sanctions, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and ongoing raging violence and chaos — one of history's great crimes showing no signs of ending, six US presidents responsible for destroying the cradle of civilization, replacing it with dystopian harshness," Lendman underscores.

    In his December 2015 article for Forbes, former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, Doug Bandow criticized the Pentagon's decision to beef up the US military presence in Iraq, stressing that the lessons of the Iraqi War have been forgotten.

    "It is striking how quickly the lessons of the Iraq War have been forgotten. Indeed, many US officials, such as Graham and McCain, never learned them," he noted.

    Bandow cited retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, US Special Forces Commander in both Afghanistan and Iraq and director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who stated clearly that both the Iraq War and the invasion of Libya were huge mistakes.

    "We were too dumb. We didn't understand who we had there at that moment. When 9/11 occurred, all the emotions took over, and our response was, "Where did those bastards come from? Let's go kill them. Let's go get them." Instead of asking why they attacked us, we asked where they came from. Then we strategically marched in the wrong direction," Flynn told Der Spiegel.

    Now Baghdad is reaping the fruit of Washington's decades-long Middle Eastern policies.

    "Iraqi 2015 humanitarian efforts fell way short of what's needed. This year won't be easier. Millions of internally and externally displaced refugees struggle to survive, deplorably little help forthcoming," Lendman concludes.

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    Tags:
    Middle East, humanitarian catastrophe, Islamic extremism, humanitarian crisis, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi war, Daesh, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), United Nations, Michael Flynn, Jimmy Carter, Syria, Iraq, United States
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