Iraq: anything to do with us?

Baroness Murphy

I am often puzzled by the business agenda of the house. I have been keeping my eyes open for a debate to be tabled on the crisis in Iraq and what policy the UK should adopt in relation to the Isis/ Sunni insurgency heading for Bagdhad. There is no debate tabled. Instead we plod on with the tabled agenda of debates which will be largely ignored by everyone. The nearest related topic recently was Lord Dykes interesting short debate late last week on Middle East Jihadism, And yet Iraq is in the mess it is today largely because of our role in Iraq with the US. As Lord Dykes said “a judicially murdered dictator, a demolished professional army and a deliberately wrecked civil service infrastructure”. Never before, even including the humiliating defeat of the US in Vietnam, have the western allies looked so incompetent in handling the aftermath of war. Take that with the rising tensions between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East and the disturbing truth that the northern Iraqi population seems largely to  support Isis then we may be approaching a moment again when intervention of any kind looks unattractive. However alarming the rise of fanatic fundamentalism, it cannot be tackled by any other than those whose own culture is threatened, that is the Syrians themselves.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is right there must be regional unity to expel Sunni rebels and that there can be no military solution, a new Iraqi government is needed to include people from communities where Isis has taken hold. What hope of that? Remote. Maybe we just have to accept that the borders created by the dismembering of the Ottoman empire after the First World War are no longer tenable. But one thing’s sure, we messed up the aftermath of war but further military intervention by the west will make matters worse.


3 comments for “Iraq: anything to do with us?

  1. maude elwes
    26/06/2014 at 10:01 am

    Baroness, I bow to your courage in raising this issue, which appears very few of our rulers, in either House, want to address. Could this be because the guilt suffered at the insanity of following White House madness is finally creating a sense of dastardly culpability for voting this through? And at the same time denying this was done through lying to the people by grinning Blair in order to collude with the Bush family in their vendetta against S.H. Didn’t Saddam reduce Bush senior to utter humiliation the first time round? And, as a result, he (Bush senior) swearing the SOB would ‘sleep with the fishes.’

    And through having a stooge in our government, pretending to be a Prime Minister, the entire British Parliament and the citizens of our country were turned into American patsy’s…. Yet, here we are, still clinging to them like brown stuff to a blanket. …… Perhaps now, we may find out why we want to play that role?

    What is happening in Iraq is indeed horrific, and saddens me no end, but, it is for the Iraqi people to find a solution. As there is nothing we can do that will alleviate their suffering as past action has proved. The split between Muslim factions has been simmering in that country for decades, if not centuries. It is for them to be masters of their own fate, not us.

    I agree with Baroness Murphy, no intervention. Except, dare I suggest, impeach Blair. That would be an intervention worth pursuing as no man should be above our laws, not even Prime Ministers, regardless how much money he may make from it.

  2. P.Selvaratnam
    26/06/2014 at 3:25 pm

    Iraq: anything to do with us?
    YES – in conjunction with many other conflicts in the Southern Hemisphere.
    HOW? Through unthought-out aid of the last 5/6 decades propping up authoritarian regimes.

    All those who are in favour of aid to developing countries should be aware of the vast amount of research on aid that says ”less aid but smarter aid please”.

    • P.Selvaratnam
      26/06/2014 at 3:41 pm

      1.Time to Listen: Hearing people on the receiving end of international aid by Mary Anderson, Dayna Brown and Isabella Jean(2012): ”The power of this book is its cumulative evidence it reports.When so many people in so many places, people who have experienced different forms of assistancefrom many different international providers, still come up with the same essential message, this goes beyond localized griping of some people. Across very different contexts, peopledescribed their experienceswith very different aid providers in remarkable similar terms. Their analyses of why and how things go wrong are common and consistent. When they judge how aid, as a system ha ”added up” in their societies, the overwhelming majority cite negative cumulative effects”

      2.The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality by Angus Deaton (Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University)2013
      ”Although Deaton supports select initiatives, particularly for delivering medical and technological knowledge, he questions whether the vast majority of aid passes the basic Hippocratic litmus test of “first do no harm”. The fact that people in several African countries appear to be worse off now than in 1960 is far more related to despotism and internal conflict than it is to the effectiveness of aid-delivery programmes” – The pros and cons of aid to developing economies, Kenneth Rogoff (former chief economist of the IMF andProfessor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University), 6 January 2014,

      3. Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa by Dambisa Moyo 2010
      Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid reveals why millions are actually poorer because of aid, unable to escape corruption and reduced, in the West’s eyes, to a childlike state of beggary. We all want to help. Over the past fifty years $1 trillion of development aid has flowed from Western governments to Africa, with rock stars and actors campaigning for more. But this has not helped Africa. It has ruined it. Dambisa Moyo worked at Goldman Sachs for eight years, having previously worked for the World Bank as a consultant. Moyo completed a PhD in Economics at Oxford University, and holds a Masters from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. Her other books include Winner Take All and How the West was Lost. She was born and raised in Lusaka, Zambia.

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