Postwar Iraq: Democracy or Theocracy?

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.

Mr  Gates, U.S. Defense Secretary, recent visit to Iraq underlines Washington's  uneasiness and frustration with Baghdad's indecisiveness and lack of  strategic foresight in regards to the future of U.S.-Iraq postwar strategic partnership, namely, the future of U.S.-Iraq military cooperation.

Given the sacrifices endured by both countries, loss of lives and treasure, U.S. and Iraqi governments, two sovereign nations, ought to craft a clear and comprehensive postwar strategy that is capable of creating the conditions for a sustainable and successful partnership. However, before undertaking a such colossal and sensitive task, Washington and Baghdad ought to define the objectives of a such partnership (attainable and realistic), stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities, and the needed resources, e.g.,  training and equipping Iraqi Security Forces.

Nonetheless,  given the high levels of interoperability of the two militaries, the complete withdrawals of U.S. troops, including combat advisors, will undermine Iraqi Security Forces' capabilities and, subsequently, Iraq's national security, namely, air sovereignty and border security. Moreover, the ensuing security vacuum entails great risks and dire consequences:

  • Emboldening the quasi-dormant Sunni and Shiite extremist groups ( AQI, Ba'atists, Jaysh al-Islami, the Promised Day Brigade, Kata’ib Hizbollah, Jaysh al-Mehdi, etc...).
  • Precipitating the war between Baghdad and Kurdistan over oil-rich Kirkuk, given the ongoing territorial tensions between the Arabs, Turkmen, and Kurds.
  • Disrupting Iraq's oil production and export and, subsequently, Iraq's revenues - petrodollars.
  • Turning Iraq into a prime battleground for proxy wars, chiefly Saudi Vs. Iran.
  • Invigorating Iran’s centuries-old expansionist and religious ambitions in Iraq - turning Iraq into a satellite Shiite Islamic theocracy.

  Case in point: the nomination of Mr. Hassan Danaifar, a Baghdad native and Qods Force (IRGC special operations unit) veteran commander, as Iran Ambassador to Iraq underscores Iran’s vested interest in building and  strengthening its military, political and religious influence in Iraq and, consequently, expanding Iran's sphere of influence in the region beyond its traditional allies Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Thus, to avoid the aforesaid  grim scenario, the Iraqi government (executive and legislative bodies) ought to outline clearly its postwar policy objectives and priorities, in accordance with the country' strategic interests. Nonetheless, the protracted political horse-trading over the security posts (defense, interior, and national security) is hindering communication channels between U.S. officials and their Iraqi counterparts and, most importantly, jeopardizing Iraq's hard-earned security gains. Furthermore, given the recent upsurge in violence, the outcomes of  such injudicious decisions could easily reignite Iraq's ethno-sectarian violence.

Drawing on past experiences, namely, Germany, South Korea, and Japan, the scheduled complete withdrawal of the U.S. combat troops from Iraq, by December 2011, presents a unique opportunity to lay the foundation for a strong and sound postwar strategic partnership, that is Susceptible to preserve and foster Iraq's nascent democracy and, most importantly, prevent Iraq from reverting to a military dictatorship,  religious tyranny, or ,worst, falling prey to Iran's Mullacracy suicidal ambitions.

Irrefutably, the success of a such momentous endeavor is contingent upon the genuine commitment and the political will of both Washington and Baghdad. Simply put, “…The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not…”  Niccolo Machiavelli.

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:
Followed on twitter: mesopotamia_iq

2 Responses to Postwar Iraq: Democracy or Theocracy?

  1. Ali 14th May 2011 at 12:16 #

    All Iraqi people are still love the president Saddam Hussein God Bless His Soul. He was right when he told us the USA want to steal our oil. All the foreign companies which are now working in Iraq are sucking Iraqi blood. The occupation of Iraq put Iraqi people in dark ages. After more than 8 years from occupation no clean water, no electricity, shortage of doctors and nurses, shortage of schools, and above all the corruption. Today the human rights in Iraq are the worse in the whole world. There are no places to put more prisoners because all the prisons in Iraq are full now. This is very few things about Iraq today.

  2. Jeb 2nd June 2012 at 07:36 #

    But what we should really be asking is Iraq better off now that Obama and his administration pulled the troops out and ended the war?