Iraqi government formed in 2003 was fully controlled by US – Iraq’s former defense minister to RT

© Alexander Demianchuk
The Iraqi government, formed in 2003 after Saddam Hussein’s regime had been overthrown by the US invasion, was fully controlled by “inspectors” from the United States and its allies, a former Iraqi Defense Minister, Hazem Shaalan, told RT.

“I was not independent in my ministry,” Shaalan said. “Inside the ministry, there were American inspectors in each department. There were also the British and Australians. There was not a single one department in the ministry, where there would be no inspectors.”

The former defense minister also revealed that the first post-Saddam Iraqi government was not elected but instead was fully appointed by Washington.

Interim Prime Minister of Iraq Ayad Allawi, who held office from 2003 to 2005, was “among the first to be appointed [by the US]. We were all appointed by Americans, by [Lewis Paul ] Bremer [top civilian administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq]. The first [post-Saddam] Iraqi government was appointed directly by Bremer,” Shaalan said adding that “no elections were held.”

The former minister also emphasized that all decisions taken by the prime minister at the time required approval by US authorities. At the same time, this government was protected by the US authorities, he added.

Former Iraqi Interim Minister of Defence Hazem al Sha'alan © Bob Strong

“Those, who were working with Americans, were relieved from responsibility for any faults in their work,” Shaalan said during the interview.

According to Shaalan, the US did not inform the Iraqi government of the Iraqi citizens who had been taken to Iraq’s prisons and tortured by US forces. “We were not told about this. We were not even allowed to come to the prisons without special permission from the US authorities,” he said.

The former Iraqi defense minister also stressed that the US presence in Iraq brought no stability and no security as well as no prosperity and well-being to the country.

Shaalan said at first Iraqis were excited by the idea of Americans helping them build democracy.

“However, we were shocked, when total destruction began – destruction of infrastructure, of buildings, etc. When we asked Americans, why they do that, we were told that, after destruction, there will be rebuilding. “We will rebuild everything and it will be better than before,” they said. Those were the promises. They have never been fulfilled,” the former defense minister told RT.

The US and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003 claiming that Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction, although no such weapon have since been found. The forces which toppled Hussein’s regime provoked a prolonged conflict in Iraq involving sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis as well as a lengthy insurgency against the US and its coalition forces.

The US forces officially withdrew from Iraq in 2011, although the US still had a significant military contingent of more than 20,000 personnel in the country, including the US Marine Embassy Guards and between 4,000 and 5,000 private military contractors.

The US became re-involved in 2014 as the head of the international coalition fighting Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group which gained a foothold in the northern regions of the country.