Neighboring countries conference in Iraq
Iraq's relationship with neighboring countries after 2003 witnessed multiple ambiguities, and a contradiction whose impact on Iraq was exorbitant in many cases. Neighborhood, and even some of those countries that were allied with the Islamic Republic - a friend of the Iraqi government - played a bad role in Iraq, such as Syria, which former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has long complained about the negative role it plays in Iraq, and allowing Salafist fighters to infiltrate across its borders with Iraq. Not to mention the tense relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular, and the rest of the GCC countries in general.
With the assignment of former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to form his government, he began to pursue a policy of regional rapprochement with various neighboring countries, and in particular he opened up to Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries, which later led to Saudi Arabia reopening its embassy in Baghdad, and providing support in various forms to Iraq.
The situation is no different with Turkey, which has many files of intersection and cooperation with Iraq, and its relations were escalating and declining according to the inflammation of those files, such as the water file, the Kurds, and the Kurdistan Workers Party.
In light of all these circumstances, the call of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to convene a conference of neighboring countries comes in line with his attempts to pass through a tense regional climate whose outcome cannot be predicted, and in light of major political changes, represented by the exit of reformists from the government in Iran, and the increase in tension With Israel, which concluded normalization treaties with a number of Gulf countries, which makes Iraq once again in the epicenter of regional contradictions, in which it will be the biggest loser if it does not tread very carefully among its mines.
In general, there are several factors and explanations for holding this conference, which we will summarize as follows:
First: Iraq's return to its regional efficacy.. the desirable and the dangerous.
Some say that what Iraq has been trying to do for a while is to return to playing a regional role, and information has been filtered about the role of Baghdad in bringing views closer between Turkey, Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia, but it seems that the reality of Iraq's role in resolving regional crises is nothing more than an attempt to bring points of view closer. Not actually resolving differences.
On the other hand, Iraq still poses a complex dilemma for neighboring countries, near and far. It is not in the interest of any regional country for Iraq to return strong and active in the region, because its strength means the expansion of its influence regionally, which will eat away at the influence of these countries that it has acquired since Iraq left the country. The equation after the invasion of Kuwait, not to mention the end of the influence of these countries in Iraq itself in the event that Iraq regains its strength.
But at the same time, the survival of Iraq in its unstable state means constant concern for the countries of the region. The disarmament of Iraq and the weakening of the state’s authority will eventually lead to regional instability, and unleash complex and overlapping crises and problems in the region, such as the smuggling of arms, drugs and people. Not to mention the launch of proxy war operations without anyone being able to control them.
This painful Iraqi complexity will be present before any regional conference on Iraq, a conference in which every regional country will want its results to be in its favor in the first place, without Iraq having strong cards that it can use to come out as a greater winner than the outcome of the complex regional interactions and their repercussions in the conference, and the regional countries will want By ensuring that Iraq, in the event of recovery, will not be the focus of American policies in the region at the expense of the Arab Gulf states; Which wants to remain the owner of this role, and a stable American axis, especially since there are reports that stated that Al-Kazemi believes that the shift of the center of gravity to the Gulf countries a decade ago has caused a deterioration in the security environment in the region, and he goes that Iraq, Egypt and Jordan are ready to achieve the lost stability. Which means the return of Iraq to play the most important Arab role in the region.
In general, and despite everyone's desire for calm in the region, Iraq's playing an active role in this process of calm will mean that Iraq has returned, which is a matter of great concern to the regional countries. Second: Who precedes whom? Internal problems and their regional complications.
Before convening the conference, it seems necessary to ask about an important issue, which is Iraq's ability to solve its internal problems and crises before it solves the problems of the region. In fact, this question is complex in turn. Iraq's internal problems are closely related to regional problems and the complications arising from them.
Agreeing on a minimum level of viewpoints for the (friends of regional countries) among the Iraqis will be a prelude to any major settlement. Arranging the internal house and reassuring and neutralizing the “local agents” will be a prerequisite for the success of any regional move, and it seems that Al-Kazemi is trying to start from the outside in in The solution to the Iraqi crisis, by bringing together the regional contradictors to the extent of the agreement, will give him space to impose the state's decision internally.
On the other hand, some believe that if these conferences do not have a positive reflection and a real impact internally, then they will be mere formal gatherings, and will not differ from what preceded them, such as the Conference on Supporting and Building Iraq in Kuwait, which did not have a realistic reflection, as the Iraqis despaired of the possibility of finding any A real solution to the crisis situation.
Third: Contradiction and rationality.. The outcome of the conference in light of escalating disputes.
There are serious obstacles that will stand in the way of the conference, as how can a number of countries whose relations have reached severe stages of estrangement be brought together? Turkey has deep problems with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and in an unstable manner with Egypt and Iran regarding the issue of the PKK and their movement in Iraq. And with Iraq regarding the water crisis, and the problems of the Islamic Republic with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf axis, and with Western countries, some of which intend to attend the conference.
Nevertheless, the leaders of these contradictory countries may have decided to adopt less conflicting and conflicting policies out of concern for the political and economic interests of their countries. In the end, the fluctuation of oil prices and its entry into the ongoing political war will not be in the interest of these countries with the escalation of the debate over the future of oil. Which necessitates investing in its effectiveness and economic feasibility as long as it exists.
Fourth: The implicit and the declared.. The objectives of the conference between ambiguity and disclosure
There is a lack of clarity regarding Iraq's goals from this conference, as there are those who link it to Al-Kazemi and the dream of returning to power, despite the lack of clarity in the position of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi regarding his running for elections and his desire to return to his position or not, but his external movement and his endeavor to gain supportive international and regional public opinion To him, it could be part of his preparation for his political future.
While there are those who believe that Baghdad is seeking, through this conference, to embody its strategic vision and its regional presence as a factor of calm and stability and a point of contact between the conflicting parties in the region. A long time, and the conference comes as a natural complement to the tripartite summit between Iraq, Egypt and Jordan, which was held during this year.
However, there are some facts that give rise to other interpretations or different factors that lie behind the invitation to the conference. The Iraqi Minister of Planning, Khaled Battal, who conveyed the invitation of the Prime Minister to the Emir of Kuwait, visited the Kuwaiti Development Fund, met with the head of the Fund, Ghanim Al-Ghunaiman, and asked for Kuwait's support to finance the construction of two hospitals in Nineveh Governorates and Al-Muthanna Governorates, so does the Al-Kazemi government aim to activate the decisions of the Iraq Support Conference, which was previously held in Kuwait?
The preparations for the conference were not devoid of some incomprehensible facts, related to the international situation. While the United States greatly welcomed the conference without adding to the details, French President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement of his aspiration to participate in the conference bore exciting details. The Kuwaiti News Agency reported that the conference was coordinated to hold it. In cooperation with France! What is the expected French role in this conference? Historically, the French did not have an influential influence in Iraq, in contrast to their role in the Levant, for example, and France is not the most important actor in the nuclear file negotiations with Iran, and perhaps the only point of intersection in the conference for France is the Syrian situation, in which Iran plays an important role.
France's movement in this context raises questions that are still unanswered about the escalation of the French role in Iraq, France, which supports many reconstruction operations in the liberated areas, and provides support for programs to combat violent extremism, not to mention other projects of a political and security nature, indicating a rearrangement Influence and the management of conflict files in the region, it is enough to compare the growing role of Germany and France in Iraq compared to the diminishing British role. Also, Foreign Policy magazine - the important American magazine - stated in a report that the desired regional conference is a secret security summit, an effort that dates back to 2019, through which the Iraqi leadership is trying to be a constructive force in the Middle East, which brings us back to the first paragraph that we discussed. It includes the return of Iraq to its regional role, between the possible and the dangerous.
Finally, the report shows that what is happening is part of Al-Kadhimi’s attempt to achieve two goals, the first is to bring about internal stability by achieving regional stability among the conflicting countries whose problems are transmitted in one way or another to Iraq, and the second is to achieve a state-to-state relationship with Iran, with Al-Kadhimi fully aware that Iranian influence will not end, and it will not be able to expel the Iranians from Iraq, but it is important to achieve a kind of balance in the relationship, by establishing strong relations with important regional powers such as Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, which gives it strong support to rely on as it gradually withdraws Iraq from Iranian influence.
The most important question that should be present before the Iraqi decision-maker should be: Is it actually in Iraq's interest to send signals of its desire to return as a regional actor at the present time?
The fear of the regional countries from the experience of Iraqi influence, which ended with the catastrophe of the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, is still fresh, just as the euphoria of power that the regional countries possessed towards a weak Iraq is still strong and effective. Therefore, it does not seem logical that Iraq, which suffers from general weakness and internal problems, should rise. With international and regional complications, by broadcasting messages about his desire to restore a strong regional role, the safest thing at the present time, and the most logical and consistent with the present Iraqi ability, is to try to neutralize Iraq from regional conflicts, and to bring national stability, which has been missing in Iraq for years, and in the event that the period has passed With enough stability, the force that results from stability will automatically restore Iraq's status without the need to terrorize its regional neighbors.
A short biography of the writer Saman Noah