We have been hearing for years that a London to Baghdad direct flight was imminent, so I was pleasantly surprised when I heard earlier in the month that the flight was scheduled, and despite a slight geological hiccup in Iceland, would actually take place.
But then the whole mood was soured some what by the decision taken by the High Courts here to rule in Kuwait’s favour in a case that can see all assets owned by Iraqi Airways frozen until the company (or the country), pays $1.2bn in compensation for aircraft stolen by Saddam’s occupying army in 1990.
I can see why the Kuwaiti’s are annoyed, their country was raped and pillaged by a marauding army. But what one must remember, is that the Kuwaiti government was funding this same army (under the same leadership), for almost an entire decade before it turned on them. A classic case of sorcerer’s apprentice. Saddam’s Iraq didn’t turn evil in 1990, it was evil from its inception. Many millions of Iraqis were saying this when Kuwaiti dinars were funding Iraq’s adventure into Iran, and when hundreds of thousands of our people were being murdered by the Ba’ath.
Most of the international community has been supportive in trying to right-off Saddam-era debts (most of them ”odious” under international law), China was the latest to right-off 80% of the $8.5bn owed to it by Iraq, so it is a crying shame that our neighbour, and the only Arab country to have felt the Ba’athist wrath that had been destroying Iraqi lives for so long, would take such a negative attitude to Iraq trying to regain a sense of normality after so long.