Despite not being a pessimist, I predict that the Arab League’s recent flurry of activity in Iraq, with its Secretary General scheduled to visit Baghdad later this month, will fail. In fact, I doubt Amr Moussa will visit the Iraqi capital at all and if he does, it will be after the referendum on the constitution, when a number of matters are resolved so as to leave no real need for the League to intervene.
Moussa is convinced, irrespective of the belief of the people of Iraq, that his visit will affect his credibility with the “Arab street” given his refusal to deal with an Iraq under US tutelage. In the meantime, the Egyptian diplomat maintains relations with a number of Iraqi groups who lack any roots in the country but are opposed to the US occupation. In addition, he refuses to acknowledge the bitterness felt by man Iraqis and Arabs towards the League, especially as they recall the regional body’s standpoints during the rule of Saddam Hussein.
It is crucial to signal that reconciliation will not be achieved between terrorism and its victims. The Arab League needs to indicate that it does not represent a certain sect and should not defend such group. A vital national dialogue needs to include the majority which is participating in the political process and those nationalist groups which have legitimate criticisms against the occupation and government and are aware of how dangerous it is to exclude certain groups from politics.
I am convinced the Secretary General will not visit Baghdad and if he did, it will be when the trip is no longer needed. This public relations exercise will not succeed in changing this unfortunate reality.