Coursing through the entire Iraq crisis, one major theme stands out from Britain’s (and America’s) handling of Iraq which, if not addressed, will undermine every intervention in the future, including the present ones. Though it is never stated explicitly, the whole Iraq Inquiry (aka Chilcot) report exposes it at every stage.
It is the patronising, arrogant and contemptuous attitude towards Arabs, Iraqis and indeed Arabists. There was a systematic failure in treating Iraq and Iraqis with respect, an attitudinal malaise that goes to the heart of this, the most disastrous episode in British foreign policy in modern times, and one shared by the American neocons of President George W Bush.
Historically the evidence for this British contempt for Iraq is voluminous. Britain arbitrarily drew up Iraq’s borders to ensure that the oil fields around Mosul lay under British control, regardless of the implications for whether this new state would be viable or whether the locals minded.