Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iraq…What’s Under the Carpet? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Three years ago an Iraqi colleague told me that “what you see in Iraq is like a beautiful carpet, but wait until you see what is under the carpet.” And today it is clear that we are at a stage [where we can see] what is under this carpet. Some Iraqi MPs are demanding that their neighbor Kuwait pay compensation [to Iraq] for – in their opinion – allowing the US forces to invade Baghdad from Kuwaiti territory. However should Kuwait pay this compensation, will these MPs then leave parliament, as they and their regime [only] came to power as a result of this invasion?

Why don’t these MPs demand that America pay this compensation, or are they aware of the consequences [of this] in advance?

The statements issued by members of the Islamic Dawa Party and the Shiite Alliance [United Arab Alliance] gives one cause for concern with regards to the coming days in Iraq. Those monitoring the websites that belong to leaders of the Dawa Party and Shiite Alliance cannot help but feel ashamed by what is published there with regards to ugly sectarian intolerance, insults and language that makes the statements of Taha Yassin Ramadhan and Izzat al-Douri seem uplifting

Unfortunately these [MPs] are the defenders of the new Iraqi democracy, and many disgraceful statements have been published on websites affiliated to leaders in the Dawa party, and the Shiite alliance. In fact these statements went so far that one such leader said “Do we need to invade Kuwait once more?”

If the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki desires preferential relations, specifically with the neighboring Arab countries, he must reassure his neighbors, not vice verse, and it is he who must now show good intentions, not the Arabs.

Al Maliki is trying to harm Saudi Arabia, for example, because it has not sent an Ambassador [to Iraq], yet Kuwait and its ambassador, along with high-ranking [Kuwaiti] officials visiting Iraq, were subject to political bullying from Baghdad. This means that the disorder in the Iraqi government is greater than some believe it to be.

If the Kuwaitis have forgotten that Iraq has already occupied their country then this is a clear flaw in their policy, especially when the language of and logic of the new Iraq [with regards to Kuwait] is more intense than that of the previous regime. It is absurd to tell Baghdad to let bygones be bygones. Akram Al Hakim, Iraqi Minister of State for National Dialogue said that the Kuwaitis demanding that Iraq resolve all issues [between the two countries] “reminds the Iraqis of the long series of mistakes committed by the Kuwaitis over past decades.” Al Hakim cited that in his opinion these mistakes included “developing Shuwaikh port, and [spending] millions of dollars to feed the Iraqi war machine during the Iraq – Iran war, according to the method of ‘we provide the money, and you provide the troops.'”

Is this the language of the new Iraq, or is it [the same policy of] bullying dressed up in new clothes?

Where are the Iranians that embarked upon an eight year war with Iraq, or have they become blinded by sectarianism?

Why was, and is, Saddam Hussein criticized, if the logic [towards dealing with Kuwait] is the same, and the language is now even more intense?

If these are the features of the new Iraq, particularly under the leadership of Nuri Al Maliki, then the Arab governments, and particularly the Gulf States, must be very careful, for Saddam has gone, but he has been replaced by one thousand Saddam’s.