January 23, 2016

25 years of Iraq War

Foreign Policy in Focus - January 17 marked 25 years — a full generation — since the 1991 launch of a U.S.-led air war, “Operation Desert Storm,” that devastated Iraq, causing extensive damage to the country’s electrical, water, and sewage infrastructure, with terrible public health consequences.

A quarter-century later, the U.S. is still bombing, and over 3,400 U.S. troops are in the country. It’s part of a larger war raging in northern Iraq and Syria, with a ferocious, merciless entity driving the destruction: the Islamic State.

The countries of the region, and to a lesser extent European countries, have been overwhelmed by the largest refugee crisis since World War II.

Continuing warfare, including U.S. bombing; increased jihadist terror attacks around the world; the Middle East awash with weapons; a refugee crisis; murdered and traumatized civilians: All these make for a grim legacy stemming from the U.S. war of aggression in 1991. A new United Nations report on Iraq reveals that 19,000 civilians were killed in Iraq in the past 21 months, and that 3,500 women and children, mostly Yazidis, have been enslaved by the Islamic State, with immense suffering and actual slave markets reported

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