Arab Support for Iraq

  • 19 March 2009

Iraq is now passing through a critical phase in its journey to build a state, achieve national reconciliation, start reconstruction and end violence, terrorism and sectarianism that has plagued it since 2003 and has threatened coexistence among its factions, ethnicities, and religions. At this stage, Iraq is in need of the Arab world’s support and assistance to overcome its problems and return to executing its active role within the Arab and regional framework. It is in this context that the recent visit of the League of Arab States’ Secretary General Amr Moussa to Baghdad assumes importance and is a major development in terms of its timing, its orientation and agenda.

Violence has clearly receded in Iraq, but it is an ever-present threat as certain factions are still trying to assert their authority by every possible means. Sectarianism has subsided for now but its exponents are working on reviving it. The government is working on a comprehensive reconciliation program among all Iraqi forces, but some parties are putting up obstacles and impediments against it to scuttle such efforts. Iraq has made great progress in restoring the situation and in standing against foreign interference in its internal affairs, but its internal front is not yet completely fortified against intervention. This information means that Iraq is at a crossroads and that there are many factors that could influence its path in coming times. The most important thing here would be the nature of the Arab role in helping Iraq to continue moving forward and to confront all that seek to push it back and wreck the positive developments that have taken place at both political and security levels.

Two things probably strongly support the Arab role in the Iraqi arena. First, it has had a commendable role on various occasions in the past, which was acknowledged by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Second, Iraq seems interested in reverting back to the Arab framework and to play its role as an important Arab state. Iraqi leaders’ statements during Amr Moussa’s recent visit to Iraq endorse this view, and Iraqi premier stressed on the willingness of his country to open on its Arab environment and develop mutual relations. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshiyar Zebari stressed that Iraq is at the head of the Arab Summit that will succeed “Doha Summit”, according to the periodic agenda set at the “League of Arab States” and that Iraq will not abandon this right, and will play its Arab role assuring that it becomes a full partner in the Arab decision.

Iraq and Arabs have suffered a lot because of the lack of an Arab role in the Iraqi arena and its weakness over the past years. The positive developments in Iraq today provide a great opportunity to develop this role and activate and push it forward in coming times, as Iraq is in need of this role and clearly demands and welcomes it.