Millions of Iraqis "still displaced" 2 decades after U.S. invasion: media

(Xinhua) 10:23, April 07, 2023

CAIRO, April 6 (Xinhua) -- Twenty years after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, the democracy it promised never becomes a reality, while millions of Iraqis are still suffering from internal displacement, economic instability, and violence, said an article published on the website of Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

In the article titled "'We are still displaced,' 20 years after the Iraq war," the author Hanna Duggal pointed out that the U.S. war and its destruction scarred the Arab country, its people, and its culture, instead of the promised democracy.

The U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq have brought great "human cost" in Iraq, Duggal said. The war led to multiple waves of large-scale displacement, with the number of internally displaced people rising to 2.6 million in 2007. As of 2022, there were nearly 1.2 million internally displaced people across the country.

In addition to those internally displaced, millions more Iraqis became refugees. At their peak in 2007, more than 2.3 million Iraqis had fled the country, and 80 percent had ended up in neighboring Syria and Jordan.

Furthermore, the removal of Saddam Hussein created a power vacuum that resulted in a civil war and prolonged economic instability, Duggal noted.

According to data compiled by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, at least 7,966 conflict events were recorded across the country from 2003 to 2021. That is at least one conflict event per day over the course of 19 years.

As a result, entrenched violence, commodity shortages, dollarization, and unstable monetary policy contributed to high inflation, leaving many Iraqis living in sheer poverty.

Besides the loss of human capital, the war destroyed the country's precious heritage after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, when looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq and stole 15,000 objects.

The war also had a widespread impact on the education sector in Iraq, especially for Iraqi women, the article said. Before the war, Iraqi education was well-resourced and open to women. However, the U.S. invasion severely impacted the sector and restricted access for many segments of society.

"We still really suffer a lot from all these decisions (taken since the war in Iraq), so what I really want is just to have a normal life, to be left alone, to not be forced and told to do things," Meethak al-Khatib, an Iraqi journalist and filmmaker, told Al Jazeera.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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