Iraq’s Lessons for The Arab Spring

This article was written by Abeer Mohammed, and was originally published by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, It is reproduced by Iraq Business News with permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

On its road to democracy, Iraq may have sacrificed the most compared with other Arab countries currently throwing off the shackles of dictatorship.

Iraqis tasted democracy ahead of others, and paid a heavier price, terrorised by years of brutal sectarian warfare – in which tens of thousand died and hundreds of thousands uprooted.

Then there was the economic and political corruption and the meddling of foreign countries in our internal affairs.

The same problems that Iraqis faced and dealt with - and continue to deal with - should serve as lessons for the Middle East’s fledgling democracies, such as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya; and those hopefully on the cusp of freedom, like Syria and Yemen.

Iraqis share tribal, ethnic, sectarian and sometimes economic similarities with other Arab countries being swept by change. We are in a position to offer advice.

One of the first lessons Iraqis had to learn after the fall of Saddam was not only that political parties need to be created but that differences of opinion must be tolerated.

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