The ‘Calamitous’ Results of America’s Iraq Withdrawal (Le Monde, France)

Are we only now beginning to see the consequences of America’s invasion and ultimate withdrawal from Iraq? For France’s Le Monde, columnist Christophe Ayad writes that the Shiite-Sunni civil war set in motion by the U.S. invasion is not only worsening in Iraq, it now threatens to engulf neighboring countries like Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and Yemen – with the Iranians and Saudis pouring fuel on the fire.

For Le Monde, Christophe Ayad starts out this way:

Their arrival was a catastrophe, and their departure is already a calamity. Even if the full impact of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 remains far from clear, it is evident that it destabilized the entire Middle East. But we have yet to fully understand the extent to which last December’s departure of American forces from this fragile and still unstable country has had, and will continue to have, devastating effects. Not that the withdrawal wasn’t desirable – the occupation had become unbearable for the majority of Iraqis – but because it took place without a stable political and institutional framework having been established.

Moreover, the withdrawal took place at a time of tremendous regional instability as a result of the Syrian crisis and the tug-of war-over Iran’s nuclear program. These two sources of tension highlight the regional split between Shiites and Sunnis, which has been building for nearly a decade. But Iraq is the weakest link in the Middle East. The most significant consequence of the American withdrawal has been to leave Shiites and Sunnis face to face, just as the hostility between the two communities has reached a climax.


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Author: WILLIAM KERN (Worldmeets.US)

Founder and Managing Editor of Worldmeets.US

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4 Comments

  1. “a time of tremendous regional instability”

    is the result of the toppling of strongmen all over the Middle East. There’s little we could do to influence that even if we stayed longer.

    Any Sunni-Shiite conflict has been in the works long before we arrived and will continue long after we leave. Anyone who remembers the Iran-Iraq war and the decimation of the Kurds understands this.

  2. “But we have yet to fully understand the extent to which last December’s departure of American forces from this fragile and still unstable country has had, and will continue to have, devastating effects”

    Speak for yourself. The rest of the world knew this was coming. As bad as it is, and is going to get, this is what healing looks like and its a path they are going to have to walk. There is the outside chance a truly great person comes out to lead them on a less violent path, but I won’t hold my breath.

  3. America destabilized the Middle East? Hello! Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein (invades Iran then Kuwait), Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Arab-Israeli conflict, Arab Spring, Lebanese civil war–do any of these things sound familiar to the author? Yes, our invasion of Iraq was, basically, unprovoked (although to be fair to the American people, they probably truly thought that Hussein would give WMD’s to terrorists). That does not mean that their leaving Iraq was a destabilizing influence. It also does not mean that their ENTERING Iraq was all that destabilizing either!

    What about this alternative: back in 1995 the Americans notice that their is no more cold war going on. They leave most of the places they have troops–including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Turkey, etc. Saddam Hussein now has no constraints on what he does (since the threat of US attack is now gone).

    Would this have caused stability in the region?

    Let’s add: US no longer guarantees to support Israeli sovereignty with military backing. In addition, they pull out of NATO, since, hey, the big, bad Russians are just not coming, right?

    More stability?

    Let’s get really fun about this: the US takes its fleets essentially out of the Middle East region, since they get most of their imported oil from North and South America anyways. They go on a serious effort to develop renewable energy, since they have all these savings from less military spending (and bribes, oops, I mean economic support of friendly nations).

    Gee! I bet the world would be looking at peace in our time and kissy faces being sent throughout the planet, right?

  4. Its very tragic but all the more reason for the U.S. not to invsde in the first place. Remember Colin Powell warned W with the Pottery Barn statement- but W was a cowboy with a sixgun and he wanted to show it off

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