Is Iraq step­ping out of area’s dom­i­nance?

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Gazi Has­san

Last week, Iraqi of­fi­cials in Pres­i­dency and Coun­cil of Min­is­ters and Par­lia­ment started of­fi­cial vis­its to Saudi Ara­bia, Iran and Turkey aim­ing to re­dress the bal­ance and re­store the re­la­tions with the ac­tors in the area. The im­por­tant ques­tion is: can Iraq re­ally build healthy re­la­tions and step out of re­gional coun­tries’ pre­dom­i­nance and in­flu­ence?

Saudi Ara­bia is one of the pow­er­ful and de­ci­sive Arab states in the re­gion, and in­ter­na­tion­ally has its po­si­tion and sta­tus. Iran, on the other hand, im­ple­ment a pol­icy that counter the in­ter­ests of the US and Europe, and is an ally to Syria, the Shiia and very close to Rus­sia. Turkey has moved into a new phase in its re­la­tions and stances over the events of the area which can be con­sid­ered cru­cial, and is un­der pres­sure be­ing ac­cused of help­ing ISIS and trad­ing oil with them. The US is con­cerned about Turkey’s pol­icy not help­ing and tak­ing part in the in­ter­na­tional coali­tion against ISIS ter­ror­ists. Th­ese can have di­rect im­pact on Iraq’s re­la­tions. Turkey has con­di­tions to take part in strik­ing ISIS in Iraq and Syria. It is de­mand­ing Bashar As­sad’s re­moval. Mean­while the coali­tion’s goal is strik­ing ISIS, although Barack Obama said, as­sur­ing Turkey, that Bashar As­sad should give up power and strik­ing ISIS should not be taken as an ad­van­tage and both are re­spon­si­ble for the dire sit­u­a­tion in Syria. This might be a fac­tor to re­po­si­tion Turkey into the world’s im­por­tant equa­tions.

Iraq’s se­cu­rity is di­rectly re­lated to the re­gion’s coun­tries. When Nuri Al-Ma­liki was in power, Iraq’s re­gional re­la­tions were mainly with Iran and Syria the fact which alien­ated the coun­try in its re­la­tions with other pow­er­ful ac­tors of the re­gion. Iraq's econ­omy stag­nated. The cor­rup­tion was wide­spread. Iraq lost its for­mer sta­tus in­ter­na­tion­ally due to its tar­nished hu­man rights records par­ticu- larly in its treat­ment of the Sun­nis. Con­se­quently, the ISIS gained more pub­lic support and mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­ity.

Al-Sis­tany’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive clearly de­manded not to sacrifice ev­ery­thing for the sake of the re­la­tions with Iran and Syria. Saudi Ara­bia is open­ing a con­sulate in Hawler. Dawud Oghlo, the Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter, vis­ited Bagh­dad and Hawler. In the Kur­dish cap­i­tal, the two sides took de­ci­sions about im­por­tant is­sues. Here, the dis­cus­sions were frank and open be­tween two true trusted al­lies. In Bagh­dad, Oghlo and the Iraqi of­fi­cials dis­cussed se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence co­op­er­a­tion and how to deal with ter­ror­ism. So this does not seem to be cru­cial con­cern­ing Bagh­dad in the bal­anced re­la­tions in the area, be­cause the in­flu­ence Iran has mil­i­tar­ily and sup­port­ing and guid­ing the Shiia groups is ob­vi­ous and ef­fec­tive de­spite the Saudi, Gulf coun­tries, Arab Sunni com­mu­nity and Turkey’s con­cerns about it.

Bagh­dad does not seem to be ready po­lit­i­cally, psy­cho­log­i­cally and men­tally to play the im­por­tant re­gional role the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is now ex­pect­ing. Be­fore re­dress­ing its re­la­tions with the neigh­bors, Iraq needs to re­dress the bal­ance among its com­po­nents and in­ter­nal par­ties, and should solve its own prob­lems first. It should have a clear na­tional agenda away from sec­tar­ian in­flu­ence and re­li­gious ide­ol­ogy be­fore tak­ing steps, not the op­po­site when it in­tends to for­mu­late the na­tional pol­icy to solve the Sunni-Shia cri­sis through pro­mot­ing in­ter­ests of each of Saudi, Turkey and Iran; or at­tempt­ing to take steps to show good­will to­wards Kur­dis­tan. So far, Iraq is seen as a weak and sick character and doesn’t want to be out of its neigh­bours’ dom­i­nance and in­flu­ence, but rather stay in the shadow and un­der the im­pact they ex­ert on Bagh­dad’s power and na­tional pol­icy.

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