I am Iraqi 我是伊拉克人

Iraq is a country that has been in the news much, consequent upon the military actions of the United States of America and other Western nations there. Most of the information we get about that nation is from a western perspective. What is Iraq like anyways? How do Iraqi’s view their country? Dawan Sulaiman is an Iraqi student majoring in Information Technology at Ming Chuan University International College in Taipei, Taiwan. He tells me (Kenton Chance) about his experiences as an Iraqi citizen and his view on the future of his country.

因為美國還有其他西方國家跟伊拉克打仗的關係,因此你很可能常常在電視新聞裡聽到伊拉克的消息。我們大部分都是單方面從西方的觀點去得知消息。伊拉克到底是怎麼樣的一個國家呢? 對伊拉克人而言他們又是怎麼看待他們的國家呢? 在銘傳大學國際學院主修資訊工程的學生Dawan Sulaiman是伊拉克人,他以他和伊拉克人民的觀點跟我討論對於伊拉克未來的看法。.

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Photo (above) courtesy Silkie Prescott

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Below is a timeline of sorts of the recent history of Iraq (1920 – 2006)

1920: Iraq comes under British mandate after the fall of the Ottoman empire in 1918.

April 28, 1937: Saddam Hussein is born.

July 16, 1979: Saddam Hussein replaces Ahmad Hasan Bakr as President of Iraq. Bakr’s health was cited as the reason for his stepping down and he was placed under house arrest. Bakr would die in 1982, allegedly of poisoning.

Sept. 22, 1980: The bloody eight-year Iran-Iraq war begins. The main issue is control of the Shatt al Arab waterway, an essential resource providing for water and transportation that runs along the border of both countries.

November 26, 1983: United States President Ronald Reagan signed a secret order instructing the government to do “whatever was necessary and legal” to ensure that Iraq was not defeated in its war with Iran. At this time, the administration knew full well that Iraq was in possession of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and it was using chemical weapons almost daily against Iran. In December, Donald Rumsfeld would be sent by Reagan to Iraq to meet with Saddam Hussein and offer whatever assistance might be required.

Feb.–Sept., 1988: Iraq retaliates against the Kurds for supporting Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, and through “Operation Anfal” slaughters civilians or forces them to relocate. Thousands flee to Turkey.

Aug. 20, 1988: Iran-Iraq war ends in a stalemate. An estimated 1.5 million died in the conflict

Aug. 2, .1990: Iraqi troops invade Kuwait. Saddam Hussein justifies the attack by blaming Kuwait for falling oil prices that harm the Iraqi economy

The UN imposes economic sanctions on Iraq (Aug 6).

U.S. military forces arrive in Saudi Arabia (Aug. 9).

The UN issues a Security Council resolution setting Jan. 15, 1991, as the deadline for Iraq’s withdrawal from Kuwait, authorizing the use of “all necessary means” if it does not comply (Nov. 29).

Jan. 16–17, 1991: The Persian Gulf War begins when Operation Desert Storm launched by a U.S.-led coalition of 32 countries under the leadership of U.S. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. A campaign of air strikes against Iraq begins.

January 29, 2002: During his State of the Union speech, President George Bush lists Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Syria as part of an “axis of evil.” According to Bush, “by seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger.”

March 19, 2003: American and British ground forces invade Iraq via Kuwait in the second Gulf War, this time with the goal of ousting Saddam Hussein and his Baathist government once and for all.

December 13, 2003: Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces. He was discovered in a mud hole by a remote farmhouse near his home city of Tikrit, Iraq.

Apr. 30, 2004 : The appalling physical and sexual abuse and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad comes to light when photographs are released by the U.S. media. The images spark outrage around the world, especially in the Middle East.

May 28, 2004: Iyad Allawi is designated prime minister of the Iraqi interim government. A Shiite neurologist, Alawi has close ties to the CIA, and many observers inside—and outside—Iraq say Alawi’s selection is a sign of the U.S.’s continued attempt to assert control over the country.

Jul. 22, 2004: Australia releases the Flood report, its assessment of pre-war intelligence on Iraq, and finds the evidence supporting Iraq’s possession of WMD “thin, ambiguous, and incomplete.” Like the earlier U.S. and UK intelligence reports, it clears the government of manipulating the intelligence.

Jan. 12, 2005: The White House announces that the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, one of the main justifications for the war, is officially over. No such weapons were found.

May 1, 2005: The leaked, top-secret “Downing Street Memo” of July 23, 2002, indicates that eight months before the Iraq war was launched, Blair and top British government officials acknowledged that “the case [for war] was thin,” but that “Bush had made up his mind to take military action.” The U.S. wanted the war “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” Memo receives enormous attention in the UK but not in the U.S.

Oct. 15, 2005: Millions of Iraqi voters head to the polls to vote on a constitution.

Nov. 21, 2005: For the first time, a group of Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish leaders sign a statement that demands a specific time for the pullout of foreign troops.

Nov. 30, 2005: President Bush unveils his vision for victory in Iraq and rejects calls by Democrats and some Republicans for a timetable for withdrawal: “Pulling our troops out before they’ve achieved their purpose is not a plan for victory.”

Dec. 5, 2005: Witnesses in trial of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein detail horrifying examples of torture.

Jan. 20, 2006: Preliminary election results are reported for the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. The Shiite United Iraqi Alliance—an alliance of Shiite religious parties—captured 128 of the 275 parliamentary seats. It did not succeed in winning the two-thirds majority needed to rule without coalition partners, and will seek to form a coalition over the next weeks.

April 4, 2006: Iraqi court charges Saddam Hussein and six other defendants with genocide in attempting to eradicate Iraq’s Kurdish population in 1988. More than 50,000 people were killed in the military campaign that destroyed about 2,000 villages.

July 27, 2006: The trial of Saddam Hussein ends after nine months. He is accused of ordering the 1982 execution of 148 men and boys in a Shiite village.

July 28, 2006: Audit finds that the United States Agency for International Development used an accounting scheme to mask budget overruns on reconstruction projects in Iraq.

Nov. 6, 2006: Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death by hanging. He is found guilty of crimes against humanity for the execution of 148 Shiite men and boys from the town of Dujail.

Nov. 22, 2006: Civilian deaths reach a record high in Iraq: some 3,700 Iraqi civilians died in October, the highest toll since the war began in 2003, according to the United Nations. Report also says that about 100,000 Iraqis flee each month to Jordan and Syria.

Dec. 30, 2006: Saddam Hussein is hanged. On Nov. 5, a court had sentenced Saddam to death for the killing of 148 Shiites in Dujail in 1982. On Dec. 28, an Iraqi appellate court chief upheld the death sentence, and the execution was scheduled for two days later.

Dec. 31, 2006: The American death toll in the Iraq war reaches 3,000. The UN reports that more than 34,000 Iraqis were killed from violence in 2006.

Information sourced Here and Here

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