Almost 15 years after the war that ended Saddam Hussein’s rule in Iraq, the circumstances that led to it and the way it was conducted remain controversial. However, even the most ardent opponents of the war admit that the end of dictatorship in Baghdad gave Iraq an opportunity to seek a different, hopefully better, future which might include democratization.
While it is true that democracy cannot be imposed by force it is equally true that force could be used to remove barriers to democracy as was the case in Germany, Italy and Japan after the Second World War.
In that context the fact that since 2003 Iraq has held several free and fair elections and referendums is cited as proof that anti-democracy barriers erected by successive despotic regimes in Baghdad may have been removed.
However, elections alone, even when free and fair, do not amount to democratization