When the US invaded Iraq not only did they topple a strong central government that was holding the country and the different factions together, but they relocated huge segments of the population to different areas dividing the country up into Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite. This has had a direct impact on the sectarian violence that we are seeing in Iraq today. As we know the US is propping up the weak government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki which is not only hated by huge portions of the population but is made up of mainly Shiites. Maliki has refused to negotiate with the other two groups, especially the Sunnis.
The fighting and on-going violence is once again impacting the people of Iraq. I have good friends who are part of the Iraqi population who themselves had to move three times due to the two US Iraqi wars and are now settled here in Pittsburgh. However, their families back home are now contemplating having to flee from violence once again. This family is one of those that can afford to move. But, how about the millions of others? The inevitable tragedy of war is the impact on families and children, as well as the emotional impact, especially on the children. It leads to a breakdown in the stability of the population.
In a listening project I did with military wives and Iraqi mothers about the impact of the Iraq war, this is how one Iraqi mother talked about her life:
“My life was dark, my family’s life was filled with darkness and fear. Everything was unknown. My kids were scared and depressed. They couldn’t go out. They were scared for their father if he went out, or if I went out.”
US military intervention can only prolong this war and could further unsettle the volatilityof the region. Every day that this violence goes on, more and more people are being impacted and displaced.
The best thing the US can do for Iraq and the world community is to take responsibility for the immense crisis which has resulted from its intervention in Iraq and support institutions that have the moral standing to be able to engage with and support Iraqis as they rebuild their country.
We are calling on our government to stay out of Iraq, to support diplomacy and to focus on humanitarian aid.
-Scilla Wahrhaftig, PA Program Director