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20 years after US invasion of Iraq, what lessons remain? 

With the Pentagon now refocusing elsewhere, and with Iran getting closer to nuclear weapons by the day, the widening post-Iraq American boots-on-the-ground Middle East vacuum is cautiously being challenged by China.
Shiite Muslims protest near the local headquarters of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority on July 20, 2003, in Najaf, Iraq.

The invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, by a US-led “coalition of the willing” set the standards for the use of armed force as an instrument Great Power foreign policy outside the scope of the UN resolutions. 

That action destabilized the delicate balance of power in the Middle East and North Africa and undermined the system of alliances built in the wake of WWII, paramount amongst them the cornerstone of the Quincy Agreement on Feb. 14, 1945 — signed aboard the USS Quincy moored in the Great Bitter Lake along the Suez Canal — between President Franklin D. Roosevelt — who had just returned from Yalta — and King Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al Saud, setting up the “oil for protection” pact between the United States and the Saudi kingdom. It would “fuel” the West and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization against the Warsaw Pact, rich with the plentiful oil fields of Siberia and the Caspian, then in USSR territory.  

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