20 years of the Iraq War inspires new ‘Baghdad Diary’ – 03/18/2023 – World

A Iraq war had not completed a year when the book “Baghdad Diary” was released in 2003.

The reporter’s work Sergio Davilanow Editor-in-Chief at Sheetand photographer Juca Varella presents coverage of the first 30 days of the conflict for this newspaper, the only Brazilian vehicle to send journalists to Iraqi soil at that time.

In the framework of two decades of conflict, completed this Monday (20), the book gives rise to a new project, to be launched in the coming months by DBA, the same publisher of the original.

More than a reprint, the idea is to add a layer of reflection to the original edition —whose original texts, according to Dávila, were written “hot”, still under the adrenaline of missiles and bombs, in the weeks after returning home.

“Twenty years later, much more is known about the conflict than at that time”, says the journalist. Starting with the fact that the justification given for the invasion by then US President George W. Bush —that the country’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, was hiding weapons of mass destruction in the territory— was never proven.

Still untitled, the new book seeks to account for what the American-led invasion represented for Iraq and for world geopolitics two decades later.

To do this, add a account of the return of Dávila and Varella to Baghdad in 2013 on the occasion of the ten years since the beginning of the conflict; texts by Varella about his trips to the country in 2005 and 2010, when he participated in the coverage of local elections; and two unpublished essays by Dávila.

The return to the Iraqi capital in 2013, also in coverage for Folha, is cited by both as an experience that, in a way, obscured the perception that the western occupation could result in a better system than the bloody dictatorship in force before the invasion.

When fleeing Baghdad on Expressway 1, which connects the city to the border with Jordan, in April 2003, Dávila and Varella wondered whether, when returning to the highway in a while, they would not come across a road full of McDonald’s and shopping malls. centers as a result of the American occupation.

A decade later, however, they found the Iraqi capital just as, if not more, dangerous than at the time of the war. In 2013, suicide bombers exploded at points scattered around the city, just as missiles launched by the Western coalition used to do. “The difference is that the danger came from the sky during the conflict and, ten years later, it came from those on your side”, recalls Dávila.

“In 2013, we found a country still trying to rebuild itself from the destruction of 2003, both physically and morally”, says Varella, now editor of Photography at Empresa Brasileira de Comunicação (EBC).

For Dávila, the ten years that passed from that trip to 2022 only confirmed his fears at the time. The solution advertised by the US for Iraq, the establishment of a democracy along Western lines, was never actually realized. And the power vacuum subsequent to the invasion allowed for the rise of Islamic State (IS)author of many terrorist attacks perpetrated in the Middle East and West over the last few decades.

According to DBA’s publisher, Alexandre Dórea Ribeiro, the intention is to make the new book more accessible. Hardcover, the previous version had a high price tag for the time it was released.

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