Iraq beyond 2011: Prosperity or Turmoil?

By Tariq Abdell, Iraq’s political risk analyst, Founder & CEO of  Mesopotamia Insight.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

 The recent upsurge in violence across Iraq ( sticky bombs, car bombs, roadside bombs, targeted  assassinations, suicide bombers, prison breaks, etc…) underscores, irrefutably, the ubiquitous vulnerabilities of Iraq’s national security forces that is exacerbated by a host of daunting and intricate constraints: politicized security apparatus, lingering ethno-sectarian loyalties,  political sectarianism, and the region’s geopolitical tensions, namely, Saudi Arabia and Iran’s regional ambitions.

In the absence, thus far, of a US-Iraq postwar strategic partnership, the impending complete withdrawal of the U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of 2011  and the protracted political horse-trading over the security posts (defense, interior, and national security) will,  ultimately, undermine Iraqi Security Forces’ operational capabilities (air sovereignty and border security, for instance) and, subsequently,  jeopardizing Iraq’s national security. Moreover, given the high levels of interoperability of the two militaries, the foreseeable security vacuum could pose a serious threat to Iraq’s national security, namely:

  • Reemergence of the quasi-defeated extremist groups, namely, AQI, Jaysh al-Islami, the Promised Day Brigade, Kata’ib Hizbollah, and Asaeb Ahl al-Haq.
  • Rekindling of sectarian violence and lawlessness that engulfed Iraq before (05-07).
  • Precipitating the war between Baghdad and Erbil over the disputed oil-rich Kirkuk.
  • Disruption of Iraq’s oil production and supply and, subsequently, Iraq’s petrodollars.
  • Invigorating Iran’s centuries-old expansionist and religious ambitions in Iraq – turning Iraq into a satellite Shiite theocracy.

Moreover, the cumulative effects of the ruling class’ ineptitude and schism are protracting decades of erroneous policies and, subsequently, the people’s tribulations. Thus, impelling the majority of the Iraqi people to distrust the legitimacy of their government and the effectiveness of its institutions as evidenced by the latest protests, which accentuated the Iraqi people frustration with their elected officials’ ineptitude and their epic failure to curb corruption and end ethno-sectarian quota-sharing system.

The deep-seated political sectarianism and its inherent symptoms, namely, impoverished and disenfranchised population, lack of basic services, higher unemployment, severely languished infrastructure, ineffectual institutions, and rampant corruption are most likely to linger for years to come if the political class continue to pursue self-serving and sectarian-based agendas and political marginalization.

Thus, given the aforementioned challenges, the ruling class (executive and legislative branches) ought to outline clearly its postwar policy objectives and priorities, in accordance with the country’s laws and strategic interests, and heed to the aspirations of its people, regardless of their political and religious believes.

Drawing on past experiences (Eastern European Countries, for instance), Iraqi government ought to craft a comprehensive strategy encompassing socio-economic development, a genuine national reconciliation, and a modern security architecture as an imperative prerequisite for attaining  political stability and, subsequently, building a modern and prosperous Iraq.

Conversely, in the absence of a strategic foresight and a strong leadership capable of implementing the aforementioned  strategy, Iraq may revert to its darkest years of lawlessness, religious extremism, political instability, foreign interventions,  and ethno-sectarian strife. Simply put, Lebanization of Iraq’s nascent democracy.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The author, Tariq Abdell, is an Iraq’s political risk analyst, and Founder & CEO of Mesopotamia Insight

He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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Followed on twitter: Mesopotamia_iq

One Response to Iraq beyond 2011: Prosperity or Turmoil?

  1. Hussan June 26, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Dear Editor,

    I would like to bring to your attention the difficulties which the Iraqi Community in UK facing during their visits to their homeland. Iraq. There is no direct fly between UK and Baghdad for many years now. Arabian Iraqi spend two or maybe three days before reaching their destination. This is not just the situation between London Baghdad but with many other Arabian cities in Iraq. New Iraqi regime established new Airlines by name of Alnaser but this Airlines is completely useless and unreliable.
    There is only one flight per week and the situation inside this airline unbearable. Iraqi Community in UK are treated as second class citizens by Iraqi Governments.

    Thank you for attention in this matter.

    Yours faithfully,
    Hussan