Iraq, 20 years after the US invasion
BAGHDAD - It was 5:34 on March 20, 2003 when the first flashes in the sky announced the start of Operation 'Shock and Awe', the invasion of Iraq
it was initiated by the US-led “Coalition of the Willing”. In the one between 19 and 20 March 2003, the envoys in Baghdad, shortly before dawn, reported the sound of the first explosions immediately after the activation of the air alarms.
With the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States had the ambition to reshape the Middle East. Two decades later, it is the Middle East that has reshaped the world's perception of US power.
Sooner or later every country encounters its own “Suez moment” in regards to its global ambitions.
In 1956, for the United Kingdom, this moment lasted just ten days. For the last global empire, the United States, it has been going on since its sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021; event that marked the end of the disastrous post-9/11 American interventions, culminating in the invasion of Iraq exactly 20 years ago.
The Iraq War officially ended in 2011, but its impact still reverberates around the world.
Since the Vietnam War, nothing in the early 20th century has so tarnished the image and reputation of the United States. Both wars were built on deception and faulty assumptions: Vietnam on the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the subsequent discredited "domino" theory; Iraq on non-existent weapons of mass destruction and the failure to promise to export democracy to the Middle East.
With the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States had the ambition to reshape the Middle East. Twenty years later, it is the Middle East that has reshaped the perception of American power in the world.
The global war against terrorism triggered by the 9/11 attacks led to the conflict in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001, and to the Iraqi conflict, in March 2003. The conflict occurred within a broader political context, which it later became known as the "endless wars" in West Asia.
The war on terror is still ongoing, with the widespread use of drones to target suspected militants anywhere in the world, without regard for international law. After two decades, US troops have ingloriously pulled out of Afghanistan. However, a few thousand US soldiers remain in Iraq, even though its parliament passed a resolution to expel them three years ago after the US killed Iranian Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport.
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