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March marks the 15th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. At the time of the invasion, Israel remained in the midst of the Second Intifada—a period during which over 1,000 Israelis were killed by terrorists. Israelis still had vivid memory of the first Gulf War, during which Iraq had launched dozens of missiles at Israel, many striking Tel Aviv. Most Israelis, like the majority of Americans, were enthusiastic about the American attack.
Israelis all had gas masks stored in the their homes, in case Iraq were to fire chemical weapons at Israel, as it was clear to everyone that Saddam Hussein was no friend of Israel. Less enamored at the time of the attack were the members of the Israeli security establishment. They feared that if Saddam Hussein and the Sunnis, who ruled Iraq, were eliminated, the country with the most to gain would be Iran—considered to be a mortal enemy of Israel and whose nuclear program posed even greater concern.
Perspective - Time - Israel - Point-of-view - Invasion
With the perspective of time, it is clear that from Israel’s point-of-view, the US-Iraq invasion was one of the worst blunders in recent history. The main strategic winner of the war was Iran. Its Sunni enemy was no longer. In addition, thanks to George W. Bush administration’s rapid push for “democracy” in Iraq, the Shiites, who constitute the largest Iraqi ethnic/religious group, now control the country and have assured that Iraq remains closely aligned with Iran.
Furthermore, partly as a result of the American failures in Iraq, much of the Sunni population became radicalized and proved to be fertile recruiting grounds for ISIS. The war, which was rightfully considered unsuccessful by most in the U.S., had sapped the willingness of Americans to be involved in the Middle East, thus providing an entree to both Iran and Russia. Moreover, the willingness of...
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