A Foundation to Build Upon in Iraq

  • 21 December 2010

There is no doubt that the agreement between Iraq’s political parties over formation of the new government is an important step that has ended nine months of political deadlock since the March parliamentary elections. It has also opened the road to a new phase of political dispensation in which Iraqis and Arabs are expected to feel more secure. The agreement over a new government under Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki and the announcement of Iraqiya leader Iyad Allawi to participate in the National Council for Strategic Policies have brought to an end a long spell of political vacuum witnessed by the country in recent months. Since political stalemate has had negative impact at all levels, this agreement confirms that, irrespective of the differences, consensus is the only route to coexistence among powers and sects in a country.

In a country such as Iraq, which comprises several ethnic groups, religions and races, there is no other way for different political, cultural and ethnic identities to co-exist but by agreeing to a formula for the government. The arrangement should be acceptable to everyone and at the same time protect the unity of the nation and secure its utmost interests. Besides being an important step in the right direction, the new Iraqi government also appears to be on the path of reconciliation. It, however, has to undo the damages caused by the political and sectarian divide among Iraqis in recent years. The new government, which is expected to be announced today, faces immense challenges that can only be tackled through harmony and consensus between various stakeholders.

The task of achieving national reconciliation requires dealing with a great deal of complexities, difficulties and sensitivities in a transparent and frank manner. Then there is the Kirkuk issue that is craving for attention. The country’s economy needs to be brought back on track and the standard of living of its people has to be restored to reflect that of one of the important oil countries in terms of production and reserves. Security is going to be another area of priority for the country following the withdrawal of US troops by the end of next year. This will seriously test Iraqi government on the security front. Besides, Iraq’s sectarian divide still needs efforts at all levels and by more than one party if it is to eliminate strife among sects. No progress can be made to develop Iraq until genuine and positive steps are taken to ensure security and stability. Similarly, efforts to attract foreign investment in Iraq will not succeed unless the new government demonstrates its capability to bring stability to the country. Only that will comfort those within the country and abroad to invest in Iraq.