In the past few days, Iraq’s parliamentary election was being held. This election will determine Iraq’s future for the next four years within a changing Iraqi, Arab, regional and international scene where powers are being rearranged.
Last week, the Lebanese parliamentary election was held but it did not receive much attention considering Lebanon’s size in regional equations and because conflicts there are intractable since they are based on the ideologies and personal calculations of parties and leaders.
Iraq’s election, however, has real political significance considering Iraq’s size, influence and the different phases it has been through after Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled in 2003.
Regardless of the election’s results and details, from the nature of the circumstances which produced them, to the government which will be formed and will govern for the next four years, Iraq’s future must only be in the hands of its citizensAbdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi
The importance of Iraq
Iraq is the country of consecutive civilizations since the dawn of history. Its modern history witnessed colonization, a monarchy and military coups, from Abd al-Karim Qasim to the communists to Saddam Hussein and the Baathists. Then came the phase after Saddam was toppled in 2003 which witnessed Iranian interferences in domestic affairs. However, the Iraqi scene hasn’t been under the full control of the Iranian regime for a few years now as there have been other developments.
The effective axis today in the Arab world is the axis led by Saudi Arabia allied with the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and other Arab countries that do not have effective influence in today’s Iraq.
This axis has been working for years to restore Iraq to its Arab path and empower it to restore its identity, sovereignty and independence. It rejects any foreign interference in Iraq’s domestic affairs. Iraq, after Saddam Hussein, witnessed several important phases.
One of these major phases was the governance of Nouri al-Maliki who, while serving as prime minister, included the Iraqi state within the Iranian regime’s project. He was publicly involved in this plan as he offered it services that helped incite strife in Iraq such as eliminating Sunni sahwas which eradicated al-Qaeda and enabling ISIS to attain a quarter of Iraqi land and seize advanced American weapons thus keeping Iraq, the region and the world busy for years.
This phase was marked with corruption via the systematic, continuous and organized looting of Iraq’s wealth. The looted money was used to support the Iranian economy and was distributed on corrupt Iraqi politicians. This is in addition to reliance on terrorism and sectarianism and imposing this as a fate that the Iraqis do not even have the option of confronting.
The Iraqi Shiite reference represented in Sayyed Sistani warned of this ahead of the elections. Sistani has suffered a lot from Iran’s political interferences in his country and from the spread of the manifestations of corruption and terrorism, as well as of Iran’s continuous attempts to weaken his reference and perhaps intimidate it.
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Regardless of the election’s results and details, from the nature of the circumstances which produced them, to the alliances which will be formed afterwards, to the government which will be formed and will govern for the next four years, Iraq’s future must only be in the hands of its citizens.
This should happen while taking into consideration one important question: Which regional and international countries stand with Iraq, its independence and its interests?
The Iraqi state and people’s only solution is to endeavor on restoring full independence and sovereignty away from conflicting regional projects that want to exploit it and its causes.
Overcoming the near past may be more difficult than overcoming what happened a very long time ago but this is what every Iraqi who wants to restore his worth, influence, state and independence must think about.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is a Saudi writer and researcher. He is a member of the board of advisors at Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center. He tweets under @abdullahbjad.