The airstrikes and shooting across Ukraine in the aftermath of Russian aggression rings a bell for the Middle Eastern people. Roughly two decades after the United States war in Iraq, the country still carries the scars of war.
For ordinary people in Iraq, the Russian Administration’s onslaught on Ukraine makes no strange or unfamiliar feeling. An Iraqi generation passed a life stage at the heart of the regional conflict.
A Moscow’s military forces close in on the capital of Ukraine, Iraqi people are keeping a close eye on the situation. People in Iraq are accustomed with tales of the civilians defending their cities along with the military forces.
The heinous events that are occurring in Ukraine have already occurred in Iraq. Witnessing assaults on Iraqi people in another area of the world is sadly reminiscent of days of blood and violence. Both communities have now lost their aspirations and visions of a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
19 years ago, then-US President George W. Bush launched the war against Iraq. The pretext for the invasion was his claim that Iraqi leader was developing “weapons of mass destruction.” Bush also charged Iraq with sheltering al-Qaeda members, the armed organization blamed for the 9/11 attacks.
Neither claims ever found evidence during the two decades after the start of war. Iraq war provided the basis for the extremism that plagued the region during the 2010s.
The Ukraine war seems to have started on similar accusations. Russian president ordered the start of offensive referring to the developments in Syria and Iraq in the current century. Curiously enough, he responds American violence in Iraq by instigating Russian version of violence in Ukraine.
Iraq War vis-à-vis Ukraine War
There are significant distinctions between the Iraq war and Ukraine war. Despite this, one thing is nearly always true: regular people are the ones who feel the consequences of war.
In Ukraine, residents hunkered down in preparation for Russian air strikes, while others headed to the west in hopes of escaping the country. Iraqi people also expressed sympathy for the displaced people, recalling a similar trauma
As an Iraqi woman in her adulthood puts it, “I remember that my parents asked me to pack all the things I needed because the Americans were coming.” Mona Saade, in her 10s when US attack Iraq also explains “but then, we quickly realized that we didn’t know where we could go – there could be fighting literally everywhere in this country.”
Unlike those Iraqis who avidly follow the developments in Ukraine, others opt to ignore the terrible news chorus. The sight of housing structures being bombed and children screaming is a clear instigation of their tragic experiences. For the latter group, the scenes of war, displacement, destruction, and casualties promises more violence on the way.
Washington, European Union, and other international organizations are hammering sanctions on Russia while Iraqis remember of the US invasion. Putin, in particular, is at the center of the sanctions to impose expenses on Russia in order to further alienate Russia.
The worldwide response to the Iraq war was such a horse of different color. Most European states either supported the war, or preferred to remain silent. Ukraine is alone in the war, but enjoys the support Iraq lacked.