Friday, February 27, 2009

A Plan for Arab Iraq?

Abdul Amir Al-Rikabi, an ex-pat Iraqi who has belonged to the anti-occupation Iraqi National Alliance aka Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, writes in AlQuds alArabi: The eagerness on the part of the Saudi authorities to convene a mini-summit in Riyadh probably has a lot to do with Iraq, and particularly with the changes in prospects resulting from the recent local elections, and the proposed US troop-withdrawals. He says the prospects now include the possibility of "going beyond, and in fact ending, the American occupation project and in particular the forms of sectarianism and muhasasa, and artificial federal units." And he says added urgency appears to have come as a result of the recent steps by Maliki to encourage re-integration of former-regime officers. He writes
There are indications of the possibility of another motive for the Saudi urgency: It is well-known that the Maliki government is currently exerting special efforts aimed at the return of officers residing outside of Iraq, and regularizing their status, and has formed for this purpose working groups, holding meetings in Syria, Yemen and other countries attended by a lot of officers, and has allocated a lot of money for it, and there are indications that the efforts along these lines are serious. And there is no ruling out other political developments that could strengthen this trend.
Al-Ribaki says this is a concern to the authorities in Saudi Arabia and some of the Gulf states. He puts it this way:
Saudi Arabia and some of the states of the Gulf have been trying for some time now, to crystalize a project they describe as aimed at filling the gap and preempting any [undesirable] developments as a result of the expected American withdrawal, and they have been relying in their planning, essentially on groups of officers residing outside the country, and in particular on those of high rank.

According to information leaked from some of the preparatory meetings, the proposed plan would begin with the announcement by a group of these officers of some kind of a government in exile, beginning with the proposal of an "Arab Iraqi" who would be tantamount to a candidate for President of the Republic.

It is said that European countries have been informed of this direction, and they have not opposed it. And it is assumed that the Americans were informed first, after an explanation of the motives, including the fact that the American withdrawal would lead essentially to complete Iranian control of Mesopotamia, with all that that implies by way of expansion of Iranian influence throughout the Arab world and the Middle East...And in such a case, European leaders will not hesitate to accept a scenario that makes them complete partners with America in the Middle East, as they already are in Afghanistan....
Al-Rikabi goes on to speculate that the more serious objections to this plan will likely come from countries of the region, like Syria, more than from the West.

He warns against converting this into naive dreams of marching into Ramadi or Falluja or Mosul. Rather what is involved is a long-term plan to allow and foster the recovery of Arab Iraq, and he emphasizes the importance of ideas about Iraqi culture and history as the real backbone of any such scheme. He reminds readers what happened to the Americans who expected to be greeted with rose-petals. This is a lesson that applies to everyone, he says, who presumes to intervene in Iraqi affairs under whatever pretext.

The essay is titled: "A project for Arab Iraq after the occupation ?"


Post a Comment

<< Home