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This Happened

This Happened - March 20: Invasion Of Iraq

The United States invaded Iraq on this day in 2003 under the pretext of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The Bush administration argued that Saddam Hussein's regime posed a threat to U.S. national security and to the stability of the Middle East. However, no WMDs were found after the invasion.

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Did the invasion of Iraq violate International law?

The Bush administration argued that the invasion was authorized by previous UN resolutions and that it was necessary to defend the United States against the threat of WMDs. However, other countries and legal experts argued that the invasion was not authorized by the UN and therefore violated international law.

How many innocent civilians died in the Iraq War?

Estimates of the number of people who died as a result of the Iraq War vary. According to the Iraq Body Count project, which tracks civilian deaths, between 182,000 and 204,000 civilians were killed from the start of the war until the end of 2021.

Did the United States achieve its goals in Iraq?

The United States did not achieve its primary goals in Iraq, which were to eliminate the threat of WMDs and to establish a stable democracy in the country. The absence of WMDs undermined the credibility of the Bush administration and the rationale for the war, while the U.S. occupation of Iraq was marked by violence, sectarian conflict, and political instability.

What was the impact of the Iraq invasion?

The invasion of Iraq had significant consequences for Iraq, the United States, and the Middle East. The war led to the displacement of millions of Iraqis and the destruction of infrastructure and institutions. The United States suffered significant financial costs and loss of credibility in the international community.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The Russian Orthodox Church Has A Kremlin Spy Network — And Now It's Spreading Abroad

The Russian Orthodox Church has long supported Russia’s ongoing war effort in Ukraine. Now, clergy members in other countries are suspected of collaborating with and recruiting for Russian security forces.

Photo of Russian soldiers during mass at an Orthodox church in Moscow.

Russian soldiers during mass at an Orthodox church in Moscow.

Wiktoria Bielaszyn

WARSAW — Several countries have accused members of the Russian Orthodox clergy of collaborating with Russian security services, pushing Kremlin policy inside the church and even recruiting spies from within.

On Sept. 21, Bulgaria deported Russian Archimandrite Vassian, guardian of the Orthodox parish in Sofia, along with two Belarusian priests. In a press release, the Bulgarian national security agency says that clergy were deported because they posed a threat to national security. "The measures were taken due to their actions against the security and interests of the Republic of Bulgaria," Bulgarian authorities wrote in a statement, according to Radio Svoboda.

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These reports were also confirmed by Russia's ambassador to Bulgaria, Eleonora Mitrofanova, who told Russian state news agency TASS that the priests must leave Bulgaria within 24 hours. “After being declared persona non grata, Wassian and the other two clerics were taken home under police supervision to pack up their belongings. Then they will be taken to the border with Serbia" she said.

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