Iraq’s Arab League Presidency: Wasted Opportunity?

But Iraq's presidency of the Arab League was not as effective as expected. In fact, Iraq only managed to organize a couple of marginal Arab League conferences on its land, as countries such as Egypt, Qatar, Tunisia and especially Syria were experiencing major political transitions. Iraq remained either opposed to the trends of the majority of Arab countries regarding Syria or removed from the center of the discussions and decisions that revolved around this issue and others.

Beyond assessing the level of Iraq's success in occupying the position of Head of the Arab summit in this delicate stage, Iraqi foreign policy is still widely blamed for failing to achieve the desired success in terms of shaping a deep Iraqi role regarding the regional issues.

Over the past 10 years, Iraq had ample opportunities to turn from a political playground for the regional countries into an active player in the region, knowing that the regional political changes would have been in favor of such a shift, had there been a real internal and consensual will.

The internal disagreement has long affected the formation of a clearly defined foreign policy strategy for Iraq, and the political performance has always reflected this disorder.

Iraq did not invest properly in its presidency of the Arab League. This country seems far from embracing effective initiatives, but it is never too late, and there are still opportunities in which Iraq could invest to be effective in its foreign policy at the Arab level. However, this cannot materialize in the absence of an internal consensus on the position toward pressing issues in the Arab world, and Iraq’s mechanism of dealing with crises.

Mustafa al-Kadhimi is an Iraqi writer specializing in defense of democracy. He has extensive experience in documenting testimony and archiving documentaries associated with repressive practices and has written many books, including Humanitarian Concerns, which was selected in 2000 by the European Union as the best book written by a refugee.

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