by Jamal Hashim
BAGHDAD, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Eleven years after the tragedy of Sept. 11 attacks, the Americans may feel safer after they killed Osama Bin Laden and perhaps weakened his al-Qaida terrorist group, but Iraqis do not share their feelings.
Ever since the U.S.-led invasion to Iraq that followed the notorious attacks of 9/11, the Iraqi people are living in the misery of almost daily bloodshed, unremitting political row, chaos and deteriorating public services.
"The 9/11 has brought misery and grief to our lives. Before the invasion, we used to live in peace ... despite the hurdles under Saddam regime and the UN economic sanctions," Sami al-Obeidi, a shop owner in Baghdad's western district of Mansour, told Xinhua.
The U.S.-led invasion met fierce resistance from Iraqis particularly by the Sunni Arab community, and the battles with the U.S. troops turned the country's cities into war zones. The invasion also ignited division and infighting among various Iraqi factions that turned the once safe neighborhoods into battlefields.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed after the invasion, according to government data, while unofficial figures put the tally at over one million by both military actions and sectarian strife.
The war on Iraq also left some five millions of orphans and more than one million widows, in addition to some four millions of displaced people inside and outside the country. Such figures are atrocious for a country with a population of about 30 millions.
"The invasion has ignited sectarian conflicts in the region, and now after the bleeding of our sons by the U.S. troops' presence, we have to fight endless wars inside Iraq and in the region," Ibrahim al-Ameri, a lecturer of politics in a Baghdad college, told Xinhua, referring to the continuous violence in Iraq as well as the unrest in the neighboring Syria.
The presence of U.S. troops in Iraq from March 2003 to late 2011 gave the terrorists every reason to sneak into the country. But the withdrawal of the troops was not enough to bring the war- torn country to stability, Ameri said.
"The U.S.-backed political process that established the Shiite- dominated government in the country gave room to the terrorists to stay on the ground as they exploit the government's failure to end the sectarian and ethnic tensions," he said.
Daily violence and sporadic waves of high profile attacks continued in Iraq after the withdrawal of U.S. troops, despite the dramatic decrease from its climax in 2006 and 2007, when sectarian conflicts pushed the country to the brink of a civil war.
On Sept. 9, a series of bombs and gunfire attacks across the country during the daylight hours and at night killed a total of 85 people and wounded more than 370 others.
The self-styled Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), al-Qaida front in the country, claimed responsibility for the attacks as it repeatedly did in the previous waves of deadly attacks.
However, Ameri blamed the United States for its "double standard policy" in dealing with the issue of terrorism in Iraq and in its neighboring Syria which has been wrecked by violence against civilians since March 2011 when anti-government protests began.
"The Americans had fought against all kinds of anti-U.S. insurgent groups in Iraq, even al-Qaida, but they shut their eyes over the Qaida militants that said to be infiltrated with the Syrian opposition," Ameri said.
"Such attitude could encourage the terrorists in Iraq to step up their massive attacks in the country, because they will feel that the prevalence of terrorism in Syria could easily spillover to neighboring countries, including Iraq," Ameri added.
"The risk of spillover of terrorism pushed regional countries like Iran, a major Shiite state, and Saudi Arabia, a major Sunni one, to provide support to the conflicting parties in Syria and probably they are doing so in Iraq too," he said.
The former U.S. president George W. Bush tried to exploit the war on Iraq in his elections campaigns, showing that they made a victory by fighting back al-Qaida through turning Iraq into the major battlefield away from their lands.
Current President Barack Obama also tried to take advantage of the war in election campaigns when pledged to end the war. Later on, he boasted that he made a victory and ended the war on Iraq by pulling out his troops, reassuring the Americans that the bloodshed was not in vain, particularly after the killing of the top al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden.
"Maybe some Americans feel now safer because of the war on Iraq, which might have weakened the al-Qaida militant group, and because of the death of its leader Osama Bin laden in Pakistan, but certainly Iraqis think otherwise," Ameri said.
Abu Yasir, 60, who lost one of his two sons during the sectarian strife in 2006, believes that after 9/11 attacks, the Americans sought a scapegoat to retaliate against the al-Qaida deadly attacks.
"The Americans found their scapegoats and started the war on Afghanistan and then attacked Saddam Hussein to put on a brave face following the attacks (of 9/11) that embarrassed the American administration," Abu Yasir, a retired teacher in Baghdad's western district of Khadraa, told Xinhua.
"The Americans did remove Saddam's regime but we have paid a very big price for that. Millions of our people were killed and displaced and at the end of the day we only have a failed state that cannot revive our devastated country," he added.