Despite the American invasion of Iraq five years ago, and the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein, despite the allegations of U.S. President George W. Bush who asserts that the world has become safer after the overthrow of Saddam, Mesopotamia is still far from peace and democracy.
The Iraqis find that the USA have not been able to achieve victory in its war to eradicate terrorism and entrench democracy in the world. In this context, Abu Fares Darraji, selling cigarettes in Baghdad, thinks that Bush, who talks about the victory, has only succeeded in destroying Iraq.
Darraji said that the sectarian and religious conflicts that his country had known since the invasion turned off "the joy of the overthrow of Saddam's regime". He believed that the USA is the only beneficiary of the war in Iraq.
Darraji said that the Americans are an extension of the regime of Saddam Hussein: "They make decisions on Iraq while the Iraqi government is deprived of any form of sovereignty", he said. "The Americans have achieved a victory for themselves by imposing their hegemony in Iraq, a strategic region for Washington to contain the Iranian threat".
Darraji says that the Americans defend their own interests and ignore the ambitions of the Iraqi people. "On the contrary, they have bring to Iraq things we had never seen as terrorists and murderers," he says.
For her part, Nesrine Mohammed, a teacher in a school a "Ziouna", a chic neighbourhood in central Baghdad, said that the victory which Bush is talking about is the military victory which had the result of the overthrow Saddam Hussein. She adds that this is a proof of the realisation of purely American interests.
Nesrine pointed out that Bush doesn't know yet about the failure of his soldiers in the country's reconstruction, a failure which has caused huge material losses and human life in the american ranks.
Meanwhile, Tareq al-Maamoury, editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper "the country today", said that the victory must be measured by the number of targets announced by the USA at the beginning of the war and the number of objectives realized.
He added that among the targets announced by the Americans include the elimination of the regime of Saddam Hussein because of its possession of mass destruction weapons and its links with terrorist organizations. "But so far, Americans have not been able to prove these allegations," he says.
al-Maamoury says that the second objective of the American invasion of Iraq is the establishment of democracy. "This objective has been realized theoretically through elections, constitution and freedom of the press, but in reality it has not been reached because the state is still weak and unable to ensure security and provide the appropriate climate to implement democracy", he adds.
According to al-Maamoury, the concept of "victory" does not mean that there are winners and losers. He confirms that the USA have helped the Iraqis to get rid of Saddam's regime, which, if it remained in power, the results would be catastrophic for the whole region.
However, al-Maamoury claims that the Iraqis still have a great battle that they must win, namely the eradication of militias and the establishment of military forces and the fight against corruption in order to form a true country.
The Iraqi elite expresses its dissatisfaction at the overall situation in the country. Many Iraqis accuse the current government, dominated by Shiites and led by Nouri al-Maliki, by cronyism and corruption.
The meetings of the Iraqi Parliament show the huge gap between different groups, not only between sects and ethnicities, but also within each community, especially when considering important bills, such as oil.
Al-Maamoury expresses regret at not achieving significant steps towards national reconciliation, harmony and fight against corruption, which lead directly to the financing of terrorism.
For al-Maamoury, Iraqis are convinced that hosting al-Qaida contains a lot of risk. He highlighted that the acts of this movement were a sufficient reason to be rejected, not only in Iraq but in Arab countries which have hosted and supported it.
The impact of the American invasion of Iraq and its consequences have pushed the Iraqis to leave their country. the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that even after five years of invasion, Iraqis continue to flee their country and seek asylum in industrialized countries.
The UNHCR said in its report that Iraq, for the 2nd consecutive year, is the first country in the world in terms of the number of asylum seekers in industrialized countries. According to UNHCR, the number of Iraqis seeking asylum in 2007 increased 10% to 45 miles and 200 people from a total of 338 thousand people in the world.
The UNHCR says that two million Iraqis fled to Jordan and Syria, which are not industrialized countries, in the biggest exodus since the separation of India and Pakistan in 1947. UNHCR notes that the social and health services in these two countries have become powerless in front of this flow of Iraq.
According to UNHCR, there are also some 2,5 million Iraqis displaced in their own country. The High Commissioner has renewed his invitation to collect 261 million dollars for displaced Iraqis and refugees.
For its part, World Health Organization (WHO) and the Iraqi Ministry of Health estimates that the number of Iraqi victims of war reaches about 1,2 million people, including 151 miles killed in the first three years after the invasion.
WHO adds that these numbers do not include those who died because of the collapse of health services and deteriorating living conditions.
On the economic front, the Iraqis are suffering more and more. The jobs are available only in high-risk sectors such as the army and the Iraqi police or the field of translation to U.S. forces and foreign companies operating in Iraq. Those who work in these areas are targeted by armed groups who accuse them of cooperation with the occupiers.
The British NGO "Oxfam" believes that the residents of Baghdad had no access to electricity for more than six hours per day, while 70% of Iraqis have no access to drinking water, at or 43% of Iraqis live on less than a dollar a day.
In this context, the WTO said that the malnutrition rate among Iraqi children has reached 28% in 2007, against 19% during the international embargo imposed on the country between 1999 and 2003.
At the political level, the situation is worsening since the exclusion of Sunni from power and administration of the country. When the USA try to integrate them back into the political life, the Shiites, who control the State, do not see any reason to rush in this direction.
It seems that the situation in Iraq will not improve in the coming months, while the U.S. administration is seeking for solutions to the crises afflicting the U.S. economy such as the subprime, the high prices of oil and the decline in the dollar exchange rate.
This comes at a time when the volume of expenditure of the American administration on the war in Iraq has reached over 522 billion dollars, while the deficit of te american budget is about 244 billion dollars in 2007.
We must wait until the U.S. presidential elections in November next, to see if the Republicans remain in power or the Democrats are going to win and try to correct the mistakes of the current U.S. government, in both interior and exterior fields, including the "involvement in the swamp of Iraq".