In 2003, the world naively expected that, with the collapse of the government of Saddam Hussein and the eradication of nationalist rule that had held sway over Iraq since the 1960s, the United States would oversee an era of democratisation that would serve as a broader blueprint for “change” across the region. More than 14 years on, and by 2017, it has become clear to all except those in Washington who are still in denial, that the political process towards Iraqi democratisation has failed utterly, and it is now Iran that controls every aspect of power in Baghdad.
One of the main reasons why it failed was because it was never really about democracy to begin with. Aside from false claims of existential threats emanating from Saddam’s Iraq and bogus WMD claims, democracy was used as a sweetener for Western publics to get on board with their governments in the destruction of a sovereign country.
In the aftermath of 9/11, most people in the West – particularly Americans – were in a state of shock. They were ready to believe wildly fabricated lies that contained not a shred of truth in them, and this was spectacularly exposed by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair lying to the British public about Saddam’s alleged capability to launch a WMD strike within 45 minutes. The “Dodgy Dossier” and other lies were further exposed in the Chilcot Inquiry in July 2016 which found that the British public had been deceived, and that the war was entirely unnecessary and undermined the United Nations Security Council and international law.
“Democracy” in Iraq was therefore an added bonus to the supposed increase in security the West would enjoy as a direct result of regime change in Iraq. The British, with the blessings of the Americans, began to convene the “Iraqi opposition” in London, where they famously met in December 2002 to provide the appearance of legitimate Iraqi support for the war.