Monday, November 1, 2010

He Is Neither Hostile To Iran Nor Controlled By Tehran

By Ghassan Charbel
This editorial was published in al-Hayat on 1/11/2010

Let us forget yesterday’s sensitivities and the past few years. Surrendering to them puts policies in small cages, invalidates the present, and booby-traps the future. This applies to relations inside countries with diverse constituents, and to relations among neighboring countries as well. Dialogue inside countries cannot take place on the basis of the victor and the defeated, the strong and the weak, or with the language of provocation, command, or absolute refusal of what has changed, in addition to ignoring the balance of forces and demographic and political realities. However, it also cannot take place through ignoring the legitimate fears of revenge or the wish to marginalize and deal with previous injustice through paving the way for future injustice. The future of countries is not built on power and settlement of accounts or hanging on to formulas that reality does not support, but is rather built with the language of midway and dealing with realism with the variables, and also dealing with national responsibility with the fears caused by the variables. Once again, it can be said that this applies inside countries and among them.

The Iraqi reality is difficult, dangerous, and open to worrisome probabilities. It is not easy for political forces to be unable to form a government even eight months after parliamentary elections that had good results. It is no longer a secret that the issue has to do with a deep crisis among the constituents. It is a crisis of trust that goes beyond the borders of interpreting constitutional texts.

If we were to leave aside what is linked to the Kurdish constituent, the current crisis is summarized as follows: what role will be played by the Sunni Arab constituent in the new Iraq? Will this constituent be an effective and real partner or will its participation be linked to form rather than essence? The answer to this question helps understand the coming Iraqi phase regarding the relations among the constituents domestically, and helps understand the nature of the relations that will be established between Baghdad and a number of capitals in the region. Indeed, the answer will point to the extent of direction towards balance domestically and also balance in relations on the regional level.

Yesterday’s lessons are extremely clear. Managing Iraq from outside the language of mutual acknowledgement of the rights and fears turns it into a source of danger on itself and a source of danger on its neighbors. The neighborhood countries have interests in Iraq and fears that the constituents there lack a “road map” that leads to a long-term stability formula. The same lessons point to the fact that the attempt to manage Iraq from the outside is hard and dangerous, and that hunting in the Iraqi turmoil resembles hunting in a minefield. If Iraqi stability requires the mutual acknowledgement of the constituents of the rights and fears, then stability itself requires the mutual acknowledgement of the forces that have an influence in Iraq in terms of interests and fears.

There is no ambiguity regarding the solution: domestically, a democratic Iraq in which the Arab and Kurd constituents coexist based on the Constitution, and an Iraq where an effective partnership between the Sunni and Shiite constituents represents an absolute response to the destructive strife that was caused by the ripping of the Iraqi fabric. The solution on the exterior is an Arab Iraq that is effective in its surroundings and its nation, and that is not neither hostile to Iran nor controlled by Tehran. It is obvious that an Iraq which is hostile to Iran will not know stability. It is also obvious that an Iraq which is controlled by Tehran is an Iraq that won’t know stability. The Iraqis are searching for Iraq to retrieve it from the fangs of strife or interferences. They do not have another homeland. Arabs search for Iraq because its loss is a problem that could turn into a catastrophe. Realism is the key for a successful search inside and outside. With realism comes mutual acknowledgement. In this context, the initiative of King Abdullad bin Abdul Aziz represents an opportunity. The Iraqi forces can benefit from Saudi Arabia’s Arab and Islamic and international weight, and from its king’s credibility. Moreover, the support of the Arab league is also important, especially that its last decision concerns the Iraqis. It is high time to find Iraq. It is a need for its citizens, its nation, and for restoring some balance to its surroundings that are haunted with the memories of empires and the bitterness they left behind.

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