Saturday, May 28, 2011

Iraq's Quest For Stability

Mohammad Akef Jamal writes: Insecurity was due to an internal failure that was magnified by foreign interference, and can only be resolved by the people 
This commentary was published in The Gulf News on 28/05/2011

The concept of stability is an important part in the life of any individual in any location around the world. Stability at all levels is considered by all strategists as a guarantee to the success of plans set by people and community establishments.

On the economic level, experts do not hide their contentment with the stability of financial markets, while consumers are happy when commodity prices become stable, and any family with an ailing member is glad when his medical reports point to a stable health condition. In any given country, stability is its biggest security guarantee. Moreover, there are elements that have to be achieved to attain stability; Some are political, others are economic, and others still are cultural. Furthermore, some of these stability elements are related to foreign, regional, and international balance of power.

Since the fall of the former Iraqi regime in 2003, many Iraq-related researchers point to the new unstable phase in the country's history. This deduction is not accurate, as stability was not always present in Iraq. Looking at the country's history, it would be correct to point out that neither during Iraq's monarchy phase nor its republican phase had it witnessed complete stability.

Nevertheless, the country hit its height of instability after the July 14, 1958 revolution which paved the way for a series of military coups and the accompanying political assassinations and killings.

The occupation of Iraq in 2003 added new foreign and internal instability factors.

It also contributed towards awakening forces with clashing interests, and vague intentions from a long hibernation. These forces pushed instability to new and unprecedented levels, transforming the country into a conflict arena, between different forces, each with a different agenda.

Security void

Lately, Iraq's instability, the reasons behind it, and its repercussions has been the topic discussed, coinciding with the approaching year's end when the US troops pullout from Iraq is due, according to the Status of Forces Agreement signed between the US and Iraq. The stability issue is also connected to the security void to be left behind after the US forces walk out of the country. Hence, many lawmakers in Parliament have called for the setting up of a Regional Strategic Cooperation Council to include Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and a number of other neighbouring countries to maintain and preserve Iraq's security and stability.

Such calls will also lead us to investigate the foundations these councils rest upon, because of their importance at many levels.

Entering strategic cooperation councils demands a commitment to its rules and regulations determined by political, economic, or military frameworks, and also calls for procedures and precautions to face dangers from one or more countries, or to pay dues resulting from environment or climate conditions in the specific geographic location.

These coalitions and councils are usually set up to achieve political, economic, security, or military goals between countries that have similar if not identical strategic visions. These countries may also have joint perceptions to the sources of threat, and all their regimes enjoy stability which they are keen to maintain through such alliances.

There are many alliances that have been built and set up on similar foundations, such as Nato, the Warsaw Pact, the Baghdad Pact, the GCC, the Opec, and other pacts and treaties.

Countries which enjoy stability benefit from these coalitions, as they provide additional security, while unstable countries such as Iraq become the victim of such pacts. Furthermore, when such countries enter these pacts, it will be at the expense of their interest and will not gain anything.

Instability in Iraq is due to an internal failure that was magnified by foreign interference.

Finally, only the Iraqi people can maintain stability in their country through rectifying the political process.

Dr Mohammad Akef Jamal is an Iraqi writer based in Dubai.

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