Iraq War Crimes: We cannot wait any longer for Chilcot

The report is becoming like a mirage in the desert. Every additional delay separates Iraqis from the justice and accountability they crave.

By Haifa Zangana

SYRIA 360°

The Chilcot inquiry is becoming like a mirage for people seeking water in a desert. It is also like a six-year long wake. People are being forced to stand around a long-decomposed unrecognisable corpse.

Is this what the British people should have to endure in order to hear the truth about one of the most catastrophic actions taken by their democratically elected government? A war that over a million British citizens protested against saying, “Not in our names”?

And what about we Iraqis?

Iraq is a nation with a long memory. Our hopes for the future are based, probably like citizens of any other nation, on our understanding of history and the present. The British government’s decision to stand shoulder to shoulder with the US in the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been engraved in our collective memory and to certain extent in the Arab-Muslim memory more generally.

The war led to the destruction of an already fragile society, weakened after being subjected to 13 years of brutal sanctions. The now well-documented list of crimes committed by the coalition of the willing, including the British government, is long. Death has left its mark on almost every Iraqi family. I believe that the mushrooming of terrorist organisations, in a country that did not have any before the US-led occupation, is the product of a decade of injustice. With every arrest, torture and killing, with every act of humiliation and marginalisation, with each additional delay in holding those responsible to account, the prospect of justice diminished. This pushed our young people to the verge of despair and madness.

That is why it is extremely important to release all the information we have on who was behind the launch of the war on Iraq: who was responsible and why. Not just to punish one official or another. But as a step towards understanding how to conduct foreign policy in the future, an attempt at showing that accountability and respect for international laws are the very foundation of justice among peoples. Then, perhaps some kind of reconciliation can begin.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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