Fifteen years ago today, Iraq was cast into the abyss as the US administration under George W Bush launched one of the most destructive invasions in modern history. In his now infamous speech announcing the start of the “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, President Bush told Iraqis that “the day of their liberation is near”. But rather than becoming a bastion for democracy and human rights in the region, Iraq has been decimated as a result of this military intervention, and millions of Iraqis have been subjected to horrors few others on this planet have ever experienced or imagined.
The country has been ravaged by war, and transformed into an almost contiguous conflict zone from north to south, and east to west, as rival militant groups, foreign powers and political parties vie for power at the expense of the Iraqi people.
By Tallha Abdulrazaq is a researcher at the University of Exeter’s Strategy and Security Institute.