More bloodshed is inevitable in Iraq
The death toll in Iraq in July has reportedly reached 759 people. This comes as Interpol issued an alert after Al Qaeda freed some 500 of its members in attacks on Iraqi prisons. In a statement Interpol said most of those who escaped are senior members and pose an international threat.
RT:It's a really alarming death toll we're talking about here. Does this mean Iraq's incapable of maintaining security on its own?
John Rees: I think what we are seeing is a long-term effect of the war and occupation. In order to occupy Iraq the Western forces, British and American, adopted a policy of divided rule. They made a sectarian conflict where there wasn’t one before. They created Al Qaeda in Iraq where there was no Al Qaeda before. So I think that the country is suffering under the most enormous strains as the result of that war and occupation. And those strains are being reinforced by the conflict in Syria where actually all sides are now attempting to gain leverage in that conflict through Iraq as well as in Syria.
RT: But does Iraq really have enough resources to contain the violence?
JR: We must hope that they do so but truth of the matter is a terrifically weak government. It’s apparently divided in the middle between the people who are sympathetic to Iran’s position in the region and those who feel dependent on Washington. The government only last year made a contract with Russia, as you probably know, to become the second largest arm supplier after US to Iraq. Turkey is constantly impinging on Iraqi air space in order to pursue Kurds in the Iraqi Kurdish region. So it’s the state that’s been left in a catastrophically weak position by the occupation and which economic positions in the Middle East are weakening still more.
RT:Now that there are 500 prisoners on the loose, should Iraq brace itself for even more bloodshed?
JR: I think this is almost inevitable. The worst thing is that it could begin. To stabilize the situation is for great powers to stop the way they did of the Iraq war, which they continued to behave in military intervention in Libya, which they are fighting even now, a proxy-war in Syria – this are the tensions that produce it in the first place, there are tensions which exacerbate it now. If Iraqis are to have a possibility of a stable government, then the business of demonizing Iran, the business which is trying to intervene in internal affairs of Syria - these things should stop and this would begin to evaluate the situation in Iraq as well.