By Wumi Akintide
Iraqis had to know today they were better off under Saddam Hussein, sad to say. I was for 2 years the Secretary to the Joint Economic Commission of Nigeria with the rest of the world for a short time under a retired Federal Permanent Secretary otherwise known as “Tripple A” Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji and Ogbuefi Gilbert Chikelu in the Nigerian Ministry of Economic Planning. Iraq was to be one of the countries my Commission was hoping to hold some bi-lateral meetings with just like Nigeria did with some of the African countries like Chad, Niger and few others in the West African sub region.
I had the privilege of visiting Baghdad a few times at the height of Saddam Hussein’s power and I saw a little bit of how much esteem the guy was held by many of his people if not all of them, even though he belonged to the minority Sunni Sect. The guy managed to hold the country together thru an iron fist, some might argue but Iraq under him was a lot more stable than she is today. I can tell you that Iraq was definitely a force to reckon with in that region if not the whole of the Middle East. Even Saudi Arabia was so scared of Saddam Hussein and so was Iran and most of the major players in that region at the time. Not anymore!
Saddam became power-drunk like Adolf Hitler before him who was legitimately elected German leader in 1933 but turned a dictator in less than 5 short years with his ambition to proclaim the Germans as the superior race over and above any other race in the world. That ambition drove him to challenge the whole of Europe into a world war he actually believed he could win before Winston Churchill working in collaboration with FDR and Stalin joined the other European leaders to confront and defeat him and his military in what has now become the epic centre of that was in Omaha Beach in Normandy, France some 70 years ago. Saddam Hussein had failed to learn any lesson from Adolf Hitler and he paid with his own life.
He had decided to bite more than he could chew by falling into the trap set for him by the United Kingdom, Tony Blair and the United States George Bush and the so-called coalition of the willing who had earlier on driven him out of Kuwait in the Gulf War. His quick defeat in that was followed by the coup de grace when they built a strong world coalition including many of his Arab neighbours to destroy his county in the Iraq War by disgracing him out of office, and erasing all of the legacies he might have had as the victorious leader of Iraq who actually confronted mighty Iran with some help from America. In the final analysis, Saddam Hussein lost everything and the beautiful country he had led for several decades by doing what Nouri Al Maliki the American-sponsored Prime Minister of Iraq could not do when he chose to lead his majority Shiite sect in a way that totally alienated the Minority Sunni and some elements of the Kurds to the north of Baghdad. It does not bode well for America at all today when more Iraqis now thought they were better off and they enjoyed more peace and stability under Saddam Hussein than they now do under the stability promised them by America.
The ISIS terrorist group, the successor to the Al Qaeda in that region is today taking advantage of the mayhem and the civil war in Syria and part of Lebanon and Iraq to further destabilize the region based on sectarian rivalry and polarization that have existed between the Shiite Muslims, the Sunni and the Kurds for several centuries. It is an instability that may well end the survival of Iraq as a sovereign state and further compound the Palestinian/Israeli conflict that had been a bone of contention since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. How many wars can America fight and sustain. It is a legitimate question to ask?
I have never seen President Obama more subdued but careful and restrained in his answers to all of the questions he was asked as his hastily convened Press Conference yesterday at the White House to try and chart a way forward for America and Iraq in the unfolding crisis in Iraq which could possibly drag America into another protracted civil war in that region for another 10 years or more. Boko Haram is currently tearing Nigeria and the Cameroons apart and America again is expected to intervene there to bring back the Chibok girls and to restore some measure of stability in those countries. There is problem brewing in Libya and even in Egypt, the leading Arab nation that has been a major ally of America since Camp David. The world is in turmoil everywhere you look and Republicans want America to be involved in each theatre of war all in the name of being the only super power who can do it. It makes no sense.
The Muslim nations don’t share the American values that Americans are ever so proud to talk about. They regard some of those values as a taboo or abomination to say the least. There are no less than 1.2 billion Muslims around the world that America has to contend with. American would be living in a fool’s paradise to continue to believe they can impose their values on the rest of the world. My hypothesis is that America is spreading her resources too thin by believing or claiming to be the custodian of morality in the world and by wanting to intervene in every major crisis everywhere around the world. America must learn to let go on many of those interventions or involvements to sustain her credibility
America is weakened and diminished not by Barrack Obama as alleged by Dick Cheney and his fellow Republicans. America is diminished and weakened by biting more than it can chew. Period
Dr. Wumi Akintide is on linkedIn