Comprehensive and Genuine Reconciliation in Iraq

  • 13 October 2008

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is leading a political movement that aims to achieve reconciliation between Arabs and Kurds and reduce the state of tension on the issue of control over Kirkuk that has escalated recently. In this context, Talabani has initioated a series of meetings with different Iraqi political blocs, beginning Sunday. In addition, it has been agreed that a summit will be held in Baghdad in coming weeks. The presidential committee, the prime minister and the president of the Kurdistan province are expected to participate at the summit.

With the present improved security situation in Iraq and the stage set for the tackling of important political issues on the Iraqi political arenaespecially those related to promoting the political process or future of US relations, especially the debate on the security agreementdifferent Iraqi movements and forces should take serious steps towards a comprehensive national reconciliation that could agree on a national vision for the future of Iraq, and the nature of relations between its sects, internal forces and with foreign states and entities. Since 2003, the need for such a vision has been felt especially as the experience of these years reveal three realities: First, no political or sectarian powerwhatever its financial or political capabilitiescould hold sway over the regime on its own as the country has a complex and diversified ethnic and sectarian composition. The second fact is that the door cannot be closed on the face of political, sectarian or ethnic differences in order to secure political power. The third fact is that tensions and conflicts would persist as long as national reconciliation is absent, and until outstanding issues remain unresolved, especially over the future of Iraq or relations between its different powers, regions and provinces. Thus, after the resolution of sectarian tensions between Sunnis and the Shiites, a new and more dangerous problem has came to the fore, namely ethnic tensions between Arabs and Kurds over Kirkuk. Finally, the issue of minorities has also been raised strongly, especially as regards Christians. Indicators show that it could gain steam in the coming period.

Efforts have been made in recent years for achieving reconciliation in Iraq. However, such efforts have faced impediments and problems at different levels, and two important considerations should be given adequate attention in this regard. First, the endeavor should be for a comprehensive reconciliation on all issues in a transparent manner, which would incorporate positions and views of all parties, including minorities. Reconciliation should be achieved through complementary concessions that may allow different forces to meet half way to find a middle ground because this would not lead the country forward, no matter how many rounds of discussion and dialogue are carried out to hammer out such a position.