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The Week in Iraq is a weekly assessment of significant incidents and trends in Iraqi civilian casualties by IBC's news collector and Recent Events editor Lily Hamourtziadou.

The analyses and opinions presented in these commentaries are personal to the author.

Recent weeks

Healing the wounds of the past
  18 Jan 2009

Happy New Year
  11 Jan 2009

The sad numbers
  31 Dec 2008

  21 Dec 2008

The farewell kiss
  14 Dec 2008

Regrets –he’s had a few…
  7 Dec 2008


The Week in Iraq

Whose Security?

by Lily Hamourtziadou

21 Sep 2008

“By God it is an epic that deserves to be mentioned, and it will continue to be mentioned and studied in international institutes: how we were able to face all what was happening in Iraq in the way of terrorism, killings, savagery, and violation of the law. Today Iraq, very proudly, stands on its feet as a state, under the administration of a national government that brings together the entire Iraqi spectrum. The efforts of Iraqis are united, free of the sensitivities, calculations, and quarrels which they wanted to plant in the body of this united people -united by their nature, origins, values, and principles.

History will record -and free and honourable people and those who are loyal to Iraq will remember -this courageous stand, a stand of sacrifice. In this atmosphere we must remember and ask God to have mercy on the souls of our martyrs who fell in defence of Iraq and the dignity of the homeland and the citizen…The nation that does not honour its martyrs is a nation that does not deserve to live.” (Address by Iraqi Prime Minister to Baghdad Operations Command. Text of report by Iraqi government-controlled Al-Iraqiyah TV on 15 September)

Another predictable and audacious speech by Nuri al-Maliki, speaking of a united nation, a sovereign state, and of martyrs who fell in defence of Iraq (it is unclear who he believes those martyrs to be and who it is they fought against or who they have been killed by).

In this “united” nation 149 civilians lost their lives this week, 11 of them children. In this “sovereign” state 8 people were killed in their own home, on Friday 19th, by a foreign army, immune from prosecution.

And why should it be any different? None of this was ever about the security of Iraq or the Iraqis. This war and subsequent lengthy occupation have been solely about the security of the west, particularly about the security of the USA –and the security of the USA and the methods it uses to defend it have a huge impact on the security of the rest of the world. In this case catastrophic.

One’s security is, of course, very important. States and nations, communities and individuals have fiercely fought for their survival over the millennia, and have defended their well-being, rights and freedoms, when they have been threatened. We all need to feel secure and the government of every state has a duty to defend its people, their values and society.

The question is what kind of security we are talking about here. What sorts of threats were involved? Was it a military threat, as it was claimed at first? Was it a political, a societal, or was it an economic threat? No claim of a military threat seems credible any longer, if it ever did at all. Nor was Iraq ever a political or societal threat to the USA or the west in general. The only threat ever posed by Saddam Hussein’s unfriendly regime was economic. And it was its economic security that the west has been defending since 2003 in Iraq. It was for the security of some already full pockets that Iraqi blood has been spilt –is still being spilt.

Iraq today is not under threat. It is so far gone that any talk of threats no longer applies, as all threats have been realised: military, political, societal, economic. It is now a country that is attacked daily, with a government friendly to those that have seen to its devastation, with a society so divided that citizens are killed routinely simply for their religious or ethnic sect, and impoverished even beyond the level of the years of economic sanctions. I

Iraq today is a country of terror, poverty, disease and helplessness. A country that is paying dearly for the security of those fat wallets of our leaders. And their associates.