What Will Happen if the Iraqis Lose Faith in the Political Process?

  • 25 March 2006

After three months of elections in Iraq, which were conducted on the 15th of December 2005, the difficulty to reach an agreement over the formation of a new government has created anxieties both inside and outside the country. Questions have been posed as to whether Iraqi political leaders are aware of the dangers threatening Iraq due to the political stagnation and the negative message they are sending to the Iraqi people and the world, which have started showing signs of impatience and unease with the events in Iraq.

The most serious aspect of the disagreements in the formation of the new government is that they have tended to grow and intensify as time has passed, rather than narrowing down and dissipating in the face of the great challenges and the dire need to promptly confront them through a strong and cohesive government. Disagreements are no longer related to objective issues, but have become more complicated and sensitive with the introduction of personal elements. Matters have worsened to the extent that it appears there is disagreement on everything. Besides, sectarian divisions have started casting their shadow on these disagreements, despite Iraqi leaders' attempts at screening this fact. Iraq is in need of openness regarding its policies and objectives. Openness is the prerequisite to settlement of differences, realize harmony and to arrive at a middle ground. In the absence of openness, mutual suspicions will continue to dominate the views of various factions. Several justifications and circumstances will reinforce these suspicions. Some of these differences are historical in nature, while others have ideological or political roots.

The Iraqi people have given a positive and practical message to their leaders by backing the political process and coming out to vote in large numbers, despite threats to their lives. However, the response of the leaders has so far been negative. They are still beset with disagreements, while the situation is drifting towards an explosive state. This state of affairs will make Iraqis lose faith in their leaders, the political process and the ballot box as means to overcome disagreements and settle differences between contradicting views, interests and programs.

The Iraqi leaders, who have failed to settle their differences, represent a political program that is supported by the people, who have pinned their hopes on it. Should these hopes and aspirations be shattered; the alternative will lead to disillusionment and serious frustration. This is what Iraqi leaders should understand. They should take into account that they are not merely leaders of contending political blocs, but representatives of a new stage through which a new Iraq will be formed.