You would have been forgiven for thinking that Iraq is no longer a war torn country. That is you would have before yesterday..
We in the West viewed the glorious withdrawal of the majority of foreign troops as a sign of success, believing that the country was well on its way to a free and fair democracy. It is in fact far from it. Yesterday September 9, 2012, was a bloody day across Iraq. There were coordinated bomb attacks around the country. In the 20 attacks at least 92 people were killed and more than 350 were injured.
The bloodshed happened as Iraq's former vice-president, Tariq al-Hashemi was sentenced to death. Al-Hashemi is on the run and he was sentenced in absentia. He has been found guilty of operating death squads. He held a leading role in the Iraqi government until December 2011. At that time he was charged with offences and decided to run for it.
Hashemi is a Sunni Muslim whilst the majority of the government are Shia Muslims. Iraq experienced a political crisis when he was charged and it seems that the country could be going into free fall once more.
Hashemi is known to be in Turkey. He has not commented on the death sentence which he now faces in Iraq. In the past however he has said that the charges are politically motivated. He has been held responsible for at least 150 killings.
The remaining foreign troops in Iraq are due to be withdrawn by the end of 2014.
January 5, 2012, bomb attacks in Iraq have left at least 50 people dead. In the UK early this morning there were breaking news reports that 23 people had died but now the true horror of the attacks has been revealed.
It has been reported that 30 Shia pilgrims died in a suicide attack near the city of Nasiriya. It is estimated that more than 70 people sustained injuries.There are also reports that 24 people have been killed in blasts hitting Shia areas of Baghdad. There are unconfirmed reports of further bomb attacks.
It has been a relatively short space of time since the final US troops withdrew from Iraq and this is not the first such incident. A wave of bomb attacks has rocked Iraq and left the country looking far from settled and peaceful.
It is down to the Iraqi people and their security personnel to tackle such attacks now. Are they up to the job? That remains to be seen. Whilst no-one in the West wanted foreign troops in Iraq longer than was necessary, you have to question the Iraq campaign. If the end result is a fractured peace with ongoing bomb attacks what did it achieve?
It rid the country and the World of Saddam Hussein and his regime but other than that what did it achieve? The deaths of hundreds of thousnbds of Iraqi people and thousands of foreign military personnel. Other than that?
Was it worth the price paid? You decide.