Is Iraq a member of the Arab League or of the axis of resistance?

IraqBy: Saad Allah Zaray

In fact, the Americans, above all, and before the political sources point to the failure of the Iraqis to reach a consensus, were stressing that there is a serious problem facing the formation of the new government. However, and on the contrary, the Iraqis – despite the differences found between them and despite  the expectations of the domestic and international influential people- have proved that they are able to overcome their current problems.

Iraq is considered today one of the most Arab countries enjoying a ruling regime that is derived from the people, and it is advancing slowly in making its ruling success. Yet, Iraq is facing very harsh conditions, because it is an occupied country, and because there are about 300 thousand soldiers of the occupation forces found therein. This issue, the limited potentials, as well as the many obstacles faced are impeding the government in Baghdad.

As for the future of Iraq and the responsibilities that would be priority in the program of the next government, there are several observations:

1- The most important problem faced by Iraq today is that it is still an occupied country, and that it is still under the Chapter VII of the UN resolution, which includes managing it by the UN Security Council. In fact, and according to the security pact signed between Baghdad and Washington, the American forces are obliged to remove more than half of its soldiers who are in Iraq by next September. The rest of the soldiers are to be removed at the end of the year 2011, i.e. after eighteen months.

Even though many American officials – including the commander of the American forces in Iraq- General Odierno, had insisted during the past few weeks that the United States of America is committed to withdraw fully from Iraq in accordance with the security agreement signed between the two parties. However, there is no doubt that the Americans will work on maintaining a military presence for them with limitations, so that they can benefit from the Iraqi territories and airspace in any future military operations.

According to some reports, the Americans intend to keep around 30 thousand American military personnel in Iraq. According to what they believe, such a small military force, with high practical capabilities, is useful and important to enable them to monitor three countries: Iraq, Syria and Iran.

Yet, some other reports pointed out that these forces will stay still, especially in the province of Nasiriyah- the Shiite province in southern Iraq – and on the southern border of western Iran.

However, keeping this number of American troops in Iraq is considered as if continuing the occupation of this country. Even if the Americans will consider the “Iraqi request” a justification for keeping their forces therein, and even if the Americans were able to achieve this goal, the Iraqi government will find itself constantly facing a “permanent threat”, and inevitably, it will consider this as incompatible with the independence and sovereignty of Iraq over its entire territories.

Herein, we should highlight an important issue represented in the fact that the some sects in Iraq do not recognize the presence of a military base in their country the so-called the “occupation forces”. Therefore, it is possible that the inhabitants of the governorates of “Anbar”, “Salah ad Din”, “Al-Sulaymaniyah”, and “Erbil” will intend to stall and freeze the issue of liberating Iraq from this kind of occupation, because of the place where these military forces are deployed. This comes because they believe that this military presence is linked to Shiite sect only.

In other words, the next Iraqi government should be able to manage the process of the full departure of the American military forces in any way whatsoever, in order for Iraq to become – formally – an independent country. This of course needs serious cooperation from the Iraqi Kurds and Sunnites.

2- The Iraqis have suffered over the past years of the so-called “terrorism”. The Iraqi terrorism is a mirror reflecting the Iraqi occupation and is fully connected to it. The support of the Americans and others to the Baathists has been revealed. In practice, the Baathists are considered the important arm that carries out the terrorist operations in Iraq. Terrorism is but only a political tool used to influence the political process in Iraq. We have seen that car bombs were the most effective and bloody tool in the Iraqi political challenges- such as the elections. During those days, during forming the new council, we saw the same form of terrorism from Basra to Mosul. In fact, this shows that, and before deluding ourselves that the occupation is feeding terrorism through increasing the sectarian differences, there is a clear “political program” strengthening terrorism in Iraq. Thus, the next Iraqi government would certainly undertake the issue of uprooting terrorism as a priority on its agenda. This comes because the stability of the new government will depend largely on the level of despair that can afflict the terrorists, and at the same time, the government will be able by the support and assist of the people to uproot terrorism, greatly.

3- Organizing Iraq’s relations with the outside world is one of the Iraqi essential priorities, especially with the Arab world. During the past years, four Arab countries neighboring Iraq refused to establish good relations with it, based on good neighborliness, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan. In fact, the two countries sought actively to overthrow Iraq’s new regime, which depends on democracy, and has dramatic differences with the Arab regimes that have no popularity, and that are based on a ruling regime of succession. Those two countries are the most important sources of financial funding that fuels terrorism in Iraq. As for its relations with Syria, the Iraqi government has taken several steps towards normalizing and activating the relations between the two countries, especially in the past three months, where the Iraqi government signed important agreements with the government of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In fact, the activation of relations between Iraq and Syria put great pressure on Amman, Riyadh and Kuwait in order to get out of their status. Thus, they found that they must review their position. The governments of Jordan and Saudi Arabia sought a lot in order to make Iraq join the “Arab League”, so not to become part of the axis of resistance in the region, and the Iraqi government must be having a sense of balance when talking about the Arab and Islamic role.

The Iraqi Kurds will not be satisfied at all if Iraq became part of the Arab League, and the Iraqi Shiites see themselves as “strangers” in that Arab gathering. They feel that most of the members of the Arab League consider them as “a mixture of insane to a reactionary regime, which is based on the fact that the minority is ruling the majority”, and thus they constantly wish to pull the rug from under their feet.

However, the new Iraq finds itself more comfortable in its relations with its neighbors of non-Arabs (Iran and Turkey). Those two neighbors, during six years, helped the Iraqi government a lot in order to move beyond the stage of instability and solve its different problems. In fact, Syria has chosen today to cooperate with the Iraqi government.

Therefore, those three countries wish to see Iraq as part of the axis of resistance. Yet, at the same time, Iraq itself does not intend to leave its position in the Arab League and is not thinking of doing so at all. However, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait, as being the three Sunni Arab countries surrounding Iraq in half of its western borders and in its southern border as a whole, want Iraq to choose between the two camps: the Arabs or the axis of resistance.

As for the next Iraqi government, it will seek to establish some sort of balance in its external relations. Of course, the connection between Iraq and the axis of resistance will annoy the Americans and the permanent members of the UN Security Council, those who believe that they can keep Iraq away from the axis of resistance. In practice, they believe that they can do so through putting pressure and through threatening by the Item VII, as well as through the help of some Iraqi institutions and figures. However, and in spite of this, we cannot ignore this issue, i.e. that Iraq cannot be but only part of the axis of resistance, because it includes many shrines of Shiite Imams and because the Iraqi people have a high level of religious sense. In addition, there are several Iraqi Maraji (Religious References) therein. Hence, Iraq will be a key member in it as well.

© Islam Times


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