baghdad

Car bombs in Baghdad have killed at least 57 people, it has been reported. The BBC said the bombs targeted mainly Shia areas
As a Muslim, I appreciated and acknowledged the need for Muslim organisations to rightly condemn the actions that took place this week but disagreed with both organisations reaffirming the need to distance Islam's true teachings from the individual who attacked the soldier.
A decade has passed since George Bush issued an ultimatum, demanding that Saddam Hussein and his sons were to leave Iraq within 48 hours or face an invasion by the US. Bush's rhetoric made frequent mention of a 'free' Iraq, a country that would be 'liberated' from a dictator, yet the events that transpired from that ill-fated speech have devastated a country.
On Sunday 28th April, the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission announced the suspension of the operating licenses of nine Iraqi Satellite TV Stations and the closure of the Baghdad Offices of Al Jazeera Arabic. The justification given was that the mainly Sunni stations were inciting hatred and divisions in Iraq.
While the West frets over the increasingly bellicose utterances of North Korea's deranged delinquent dictator and wrings its hands in frustration over the on-going bloodbath in Syria, attention has strayed from Iraq as it spirals towards civil war.
In Iraq everyone privately knew the WMD thing was a pretext, and this assumption underpinned all our political work. No-one was 100% certain of the real aims. Still today. So we made it up.
The great achievement of post-Saddam Iraq is its transition from a centralised and mainly Sunni dominated one-party rule to federalism and power-sharing between Sunnis, Kurds and Shia, and small minorities. All this is, or should be, governed by the constitution, approved by over 80% of the people in a referendum in 2005.
The Kurdistan region is clearly thriving as the safest, most stable, and prosperous part of Iraq, with a headstart of 12 years of relative freedom from Saddam. The number of deaths through terrorism is about 200 since 2003. It has built a major energy sector from nothing in just a few years. And it has helped stabilise the rest of Iraq and could be a model for it to follow.
New freight and passenger lines between, say, Basra, Baghdad, Kirkuk, Dohuk and Ceyhan in Turkey would drive new markets and knit people together wherever the borders are. And Iraq would be the transport hub of the whole region.
The hero-soldier brand is undeniably potent. The increased presence of soldiers at sports events - be it at Premier League games or the Olympics - is a shrewd move by the PR-savvy Ministry of Defence. The idea of a wholesome, dutiful hero is very appealing and is very much a feature of British identity, intertwined as it is with our military history and our imperial present.