May 16, 2023
This is the fourth episode in a multiple-part series marking the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War, which began on March 20, 2003. Earlier episodes were published in March.
From 1990 to 2003 the United States, through the U.N. Security Council, imposed the most punishing sanctions on a sovereign state in modern history. The sanctions on Iraq caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children from inadequate food, medicine, and public health infrastructure. They flattened Iraq's economy and tore at the fabric of its society. But the humanitarian catastrophe remains somewhat of an "invisible war." When Americans reflected on the twentieth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, their minds focused on what happened after March 20, 2003, rather than on the fourteen years of economic warfare that preceded it. In this episode, Sarhang Hamasaeed of the U.S. Institute of Peace discusses life under Saddam, surviving the sanctions, and his work as a peacebuilder in Iraq today.