Iraq Hopes Arab Summit Will Boost Its Role

These efforts appear to be paying dividends, as 11 Arab heads of state, including the emir of Kuwait, have already confirmed they will be attending the summit, according to the Iraqi foreign ministry.

Guaranteeing security for such a high-profile event remains a major challenge.

Iraqi leaders have assured delegates that tightened security measures will be in place ahead of and during the summit. Militant attacks still plague the country, and 150 people were killed last month, according to official figures.

Maliki has called on the security forces to improve their working methods and fill any gaps in security in order to “foil the efforts of terrorists”, according to a statement from his office.

The security plan involves deploying thousands of military forces around the capital, shutting down Baghdad's airspace during the meeting and probably imposing a ban on vehicle movement in the capital.

Experts warn that any diplomatic gains from holding the event in Baghdad would be negated by a serious attack.

“Any breach would send the message that Iraq was a weak country, unable to protect itself without the Americans,” Abdullah al-Kassab, an Iraqi writer and analyst, said. “Overall, it would show up Iraq as irresponsible for endangering the lives of its guests – a stain on its reputation in Arab eyes.”

Mosawi insisted the authorities would prevent this happening, saying, “We are ready and it will be held here.”

Comments are closed.