When the statue of Saddam fell in central Baghdad five years ago, there was widespread hope and promise of better days ahead.
But things began to unravel amid lawlessness, chaos and violence.
Today, Iraq is at a crossroads and no one can predict what the future holds.
On the fifth anniversary of the fall of Saddam's regime, Inside Iraq goes to Cairo, at the heart of the Arab world, to look again at the reasons for and ramifications of the invasion of Iraq.
How does Iraq and the region appear five years after Saddam's downfall?
Our guests this week in Cairo:
Lawrence Butler from the US state department, Hesham Yousseff, the chief of staff of the Arab League, Abdel Raouf ElReedy from the Egyptian Council of Foreign Relations, Dominic Asquith, the British ambassador to Egypt, and Hassan Issa, a former Egyptian diplomat, and from Baghdad, Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister.
Jasim Azawi hosts this episode of Inside Iraq from Cairo in front of a live audience. Students from Cairo were asked to join the audience, and pose questions to the panelists.
Here are their questions:
Reham Ismail Morsi, American University of Cairo
Rehma poses a question to Lawrence Butler, from the US state department: One of the goals of the invasion of Iraq was to build democracy. You, as an American, would you swap your democracy for Iraq's democracy?
Ibrahim El-Sherif, American University of Cairo
US Senator Joseph Biden suggested that Iraq should be divided into three separate countries. Is that a result because of the failure or is that just another part of George Bush's plans?
Lobna Labib, American University of Cairo
We are now in the fifth anniversary of the Iraqi invasion and we still do not know what will happen. Is the US willing to leave Iraq once it establishes democracy there?
Watch part one of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube
Watch part two of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube
Watch part three of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube
Watch part four of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube
This special episode of Inside Iraq aired on Wednesday, April 9, 2008
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Source: Al Jazeera