Reconciliation Will Ensure Security Gains in Iraq

  • 17 March 2009

The “Conference of the National Reconciliation” in Iraq, which is scheduled for tomorrow, assumes great importance due to several reasons. Firstly, this initiative confirms the continuity of the reconciliation project, which Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki had announced on coming to power in 2006, despite all the problems and obstacles that hampered the process. The will for reconciliation exists today and this raises hopes in Iraq’s future. Secondly, the conference is being held at a time when there is an obvious improvement in the security situation and a relative decline in levels of violence according to United Nations estimates. Although, the UN has confirmed a fall in Iraq’s violence, it has also stated through its envoy in the country that Iraqi leaders have not taken advantage of the security improvements in making political progress. This is the main message for Iraqi leaders participating in the reconciliation conference as without true reconciliation between feuding parties any progress in the political, economic and security spheres will be subject to failure. Thirdly, all Iraqi forces seem to have realized in recent times that their survival depends on their willingness to coexist and compromise. Any conflict could push the country toward a dangerous civil war, where only those who call for extremism, sectarianism, and violence would emerge victorious. This realization should push these parties toward showing greater flexibility in finding the right formula for reconciliation that would secures the interests of every party, without deceiving or marginalizing anyone of them. This would create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility in the future.

In order to meet its aims and goals, all Iraqi forces should take part in the “reconciliation conference” because dialogue is the best way for resolving even the most complex problems and for clearing all misunderstandings and ill-feelings. A boycott of the conference would only aggravate the situation. Openness is another important prerequisite for success of the conference, because any reconciliation—that does not openly address its issues—cannot last. Maybe such frankness is difficult to achieve but it is important for overcoming problems and differences and for opening a new page that is without any adverse consequences.