Erbil, Baghdad Strengthen Ties in face of IS

The military results could have been different had the Iraqi army cooperated with the Kurdish peshmerga sooner than it did, as the peshmerga were incapable of effectively confronting IS without help from Baghdad.

Like in Iraq, no neighboring countries have seen political gains in the IS threat. Instead, they finally began to weigh the danger of the organization, not only to themselves but to the world. US President Barack Obama recently admitted that he and his administration had also misread the situation and did not fully appreciate the threat IS posed from the beginning.

Iraqis — who have been confronting IS for years in its previous incarnations — should have been aware of its capabilities and earlier realized the magnitude of the threat. Both the Iraqi government and the KRG should have been able to assess the danger from the start. Had they done so, IS' position today would have been much different.

All parties are now well aware that they have no other choice but to join hands in cooperation and put aside their differences. They must seek to better their relations, redefining authorities, principles and commonalities.

Relations between Erbil and Baghdad have never been better. There is a great opportunity for both sides to find definitive solutions to the problem of the oil and gas law, which could eliminate several ambiguities defining relations between them. There is also a good chance to solve the crisis of the disputed areas through a realistic plan and vision.

Although Erbil and Baghdad have embarked on a path toward solutions, it does not mean relations have been resolved. This also does not mean that neither will make mistakes that could lead to re-escalation. Nevertheless, the existence of a common desire by both sides to consider solutions, instead of severing relations, remains the best choice for preserving both their interests in the long run.


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