Pope Francis on Iraq visit calls for end to violence and extremism
Photos: Looking Back at the War in Iraq, 15 Years After the U.S. Invaded - The Atlantic
Pope Francis has called for an end to violence and extremism, on the first ever papal visit to Iraq. Covid and security fears have made this his riskiest visit yet, but the year-old insisted he was "duty bound". He also said Iraq's dwindling Christian community should have a more prominent role as citizens with full rights, freedoms and responsibilities. He is hoping to foster inter-religious dialogue - meeting Iraq's most revered Shia Muslim cleric - and will celebrate Mass at a stadium in Irbil in the north. About 10, Iraqi Security Forces personnel are being deployed to protect the Pope, while round-the-clock curfews are also being imposed to limit the spread of Covid. Iraq's PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi greeted him at the airport, with a red carpet, Iraqis in national dress and songs from a largely unmasked choir. Hundreds of people lined the airport road as the Pope's convoy, heavily chaperoned by police motorcycles, left for the city.
The Day I Realized I Would Never Find Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq
Fifteen years ago, the bombs started falling on Baghdad. While the initial overthrow of Saddam Hussein was relatively quick, the Iraq War itself was anything but. For nearly nine years, occupying coalition troops tried to work with Iraqis to secure and rebuild in the face of mistrust, poor post-invasion planning, U. The Iraq War caused more than , deaths, cost trillions of dollars, and its repercussions continue to have strong effects in the region, on foreign policy, and on thousands of families to this day.
I rolled west from Baghdad in a convoy of soft-side Humvees. It was a morning in late June , and I had traded a bottle of whiskey for the use of an American military police detachment as protection for a daylong mission to Abu Ghraib prison. As an intelligence officer for the Department of Energy assigned to the Iraq Survey Group — the American-led team searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — I was scheduled to interview an Iraqi prisoner who had been captured weeks before, on suspicion of transporting stolen nuclear material.