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Iraq, Continuation of Crisis or National Reconciliation?

The election of Mustafa al-Kadhimi as the prime minister marked a transitional stage in Iraq and a milestone in the settlement of the ongoing crisis in the country. But the existing obstacles to the formation of al-Kadhimi’s cabinet have impeded Iraq’s progress in overcoming the current crisis.
July 2020
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Mojtaba Ferdowsipour

The election of Mustafa al-Kadhimi as the prime minister marked a transitional stage in Iraq and a milestone in the settlement of the ongoing crisis in the country. But the existing obstacles to the formation of al-Kadhimi’s cabinet have impeded Iraq’s progress in overcoming the current crisis.

 Although ethnocentrism and religious fragmentation in Iraq, particularly among the faiths, are the leading factors that have prevented the formation of a nation-state system in its recent history, the complication of the situation has become more obvious in the structure of the country’s system after the overthrow of Iraq’s Ba'ath Party. In fact, the existence of three different social groups in Iraq with various dialects, the diverse ethnic groups, and a diversity of economic opportunities have created a type of pre-modern political culture, in which the scope of loyalties is confined to the ethnic, local, family and tribal levels and the mutual trust between the ethnicities and groups is at a low ebb. Within such a framework, the country is like a set of nomadic and ethnic groups that are struggling with each other to gain power, security and wealth, and, at the same time, do not recognize the central government as a fair and legal authority. This characteristic would make it difficult to use the concept of society or nation-state for Iraq. It also puts any balance or ethnicity in Iraq’s political arena in a fragile and temporary state. When the distribution of oil incomes and enjoying the oil economic rent is governed in an ethnic manner, the formation of a homogenous Iraqi society will be quite inaccessible. All of these factors in the long term have created six types of crises inside Iraq, namely the crisis of identity, legitimacy, influence, participation, coalescence, and distribution. In fact, all of these crises have existed in Iraq during the past years, but the regime was widely suppressing people under the guise of some sort of “charismatic leadership”.

 The conditions surrounding the formation of government’s new shape are extremely suffering from another element known as the paradox of “independent cabinet and functional disturbance with factional, ethnic and share-demanding formations.” As a result, every regime coming to power in Iraq will have difficult options in the efforts to create a balance among Iraq’s unity, internal peace, human rights, and the participation of political parties and currents, because the sense of national unity has never been strong in Iraq. Although a figure like Mustafa al-Kadhimi who has been relatively accepted by the domestic and foreign actors, will have a very tough road ahead, because he has been assigned to the critical task of holding snap elections by promoting the rule of law, through a commitment to the legal demands of people and caring for the young pluralist generation with healthy economic development approach in the country.

 In the meantime, the Islamic Republic of Iran has always favored an independent, secure, and developed Iraq. Such reality is clearly obvious in the past experience of constructive and effective cooperation in reconstruction of Iraq after the fall of Iraq’s Ba’ath Party. During the American occupation period, the assistance in the process of development of Iraq’s infrastructures in the economic process, particularly by supplying energy carriers, the resisting and strong coalition against the extremist and state-sponsored terrorism, as well as Iran and Iraq’s joint action terrorism that resulted in the martyrdom of their senior and unparalleled commanders, namely Lt. General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The fulfillment of legitimate demands of people in parallel with the election of the perfect option, and the formation of an efficient and ethnic cabinet with the purpose of fulfilling the long-term goals in the strategic relations between the Iranian and Iraqi nations and governments, as two friendly and brotherly countries, confirm the Islamic Republic of Iran’s righteous policies.

(The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)

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