The Prerequisites for Stability in Iraq

  • 1 March 2006

It is difficult to envisage a stable, mature and viable political process in Iraq without the participation of the Sunna. For this reason, the well-wishers of Iraq were shocked by the decision of the Sunni Iraqi Concord Front, which constitutes 44 parliamentary seats, to forego its participation in the negotiations for the formation of the upcoming government, in the backdrop of the recent tensions and sectarian incidents. It was also shocking to all who possess a sound understanding of the situation: an understanding that Iraq is a heterogeneous country of various races and groups. Hence, Iraq has to develop a safety valve through a political framework that comprises all parties, and which is drafted and implemented by all political powers.

For this reason, the declaration made by Adnan Al-Dulaymi, Chairman of the Iraqi Concord Front last Monday—indicating that the Sunna was determined to participate in the forthcoming government, "because Iraq will not calm down if we did not participate in this government"— had considerably relieved the concerns of observers of Iraqi affairs and its ongoing political process. If the necessity of political pragmatism and sectarian considerations necessitate participation of the Sunna in the Iraqi government and its political process to ensure stability of Iraq and success of its democratic initiative, the recent sectarian turmoil adds another important dimension to the issue. It has shown that some elements are raking up sectarian differences to set off a devastating civil war. Therefore, political accord and harmony between various Iraqi forces should serve as the cornerstone for an effective confrontation of such dangerous trends that relentlessly seek to burn to the ground Iraq, with all its factions and ethnicities.

The abstention of the Sunna from the political process, prior to the recent legislative elections, was a big mistake. The price of this mistake was not borne by the Sunna alone but by the whole country. Hence, the involvement of the Sunna in the political process is not just a correction of that mistake, but a correction in Iraq's course for the future. Certainly, the groups and elements that have malicious designs for Iraq have realized the implications of this massive shift in the Sunna's stand and the risk it poses to their plans and conspiracies. For this reason, they have been making sustained efforts towards thwarting the process and creating a climate conducive for civil strife, particularly between the Sunna and the Shia. If the recent unfortunate sectarian incidents have showed the ability of the forces of evil to wreak havoc, it has also revealed the awareness of the various Iraqi factions towards the plots designed against them. Hence, they have called for unity and wisdom to prevail and have abstained from falling prey to emotive and reactionary policies.