On Thursday, May 9th, Allen Ruff discussed the ten-year anniversary and key legacies of the U.S. invasion of Iraq with Christopher Toensing, executive director of the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) and editor of their magazine the Middle East Reports.
Though Iraq has faded from the limelight as the conflict within Syria garners more and more media attention, the country itself can not so easily escape the effects of the U.S. aggression. This legacy, as described by Toensing, ranges from “disastrous to cataclysmic”. Aside from the civilian death toll, the people of Iraq are facing an ongoing refugee crisis, an exaggerated sectarianism of their political system, and heightened Shiite and Sunni tensions.
In the second half of the hour, Toensing and Ruff turned from Iraq specifically to the larger implications of the U.S. invasion on the region as a whole and retrospectively discussed the reasons for the Iraq War.
They mentioned the hegemonic idea that the U.S. will always allow for and protect the free flow of oil from the region, and how that has affected politics and a continued military presence within the region. Similarly, oil companies drive idea of oil scarcity, which perpetuates the political idea that we must be present in the Middle East to protect our interests in these scarce resources.
Finally, manageable crisis were mentioned as the long term goal for most autocratic governments within the region – governments such as Saudi Arabia that would rather pay continual costs of conflict than see resolution and establishment of democracy.
Learn more about the Middle East Research and Information Project:
See some of Christopher Toensing’s ongoing work to change reporting in the Middle East:
Listen to the entire show: