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Opinion: What Iraq Needs to Do | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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epa04359093 A handout picture released by Iraqi Prime Minister’s office shows Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi (C-R) meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil (C-L), in Baghdad, Iraq, 18 August 2014. Bassil is visiting Baghdad for talks with senior Iraqi officials about the latest developments in the region. EPA/PRIME MINISTER OFFICE/HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO […]

When any country is exposed to a critical and existential war such as the one raging in Iraq, and when sectarian rhetoric becomes prevalent among politicians whose self-serving approach has caused all sorts of tensions, the preservation of the structure of the state becomes a sacred mission, and the requirements for achieving national security take utmost precedence. Banning the use of such rhetoric under the dome of parliament—where the process of reformation and modification is supposedly initiated—becomes the responsibility of any decent authority.

In the case of Iraq, the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at a time when a new government is being formed represents an opportunity for political rivals and ill-intentioned players who wait for such moments to fragment Iraq. Had the Shi’ite-led National Alliance failed to overcome the issue of naming a replacement for Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, Iraq would have been in trouble now. The unity of the alliance has become a necessity for confronting attempts at fragmenting Iraq.

What is required from Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi is to be indifferent to the demands of the political blocs that dream of maintaining the quota-based system or twisting the arm of the state through the partition of Iraq. In fact, these dreams have brought nothing but disaster to Iraq. If Abadi, who enjoys a comfortable majority in the parliament, does ignore such harmful demands, his name will go down in history.

I also wish to address the government’s need to administer justice, treat people fairly, guarantee a sound balance between the center [Baghdad] and the governorates, fight corruption, establish an ombudsman and monitor the work of governors and local officials in accordance with the powers given to them. Special attention should be given to compensate millions of people affected by the current devastating war.

Given the existential and open nature of the current war, Iraq badly needs to expand the building of its arsenal by relying on varied sources for arms supplies. An unrestricted flow of arms into the Iraqi army should be maintained, particularly when it comes to armored vehicles and combat helicopters. It is high time Iraq possessed its own fleet of fighter jets to counter any potential 9/11-style attacks. This requires the government to make use of former commissioned and non-commissioned officers, open more military academies, make military service mandatory again, form a panel for senior military leaders and chiefs of staff and establish security and military research centers.

On the issue of foreign relations, there is no doubt Iraq will make use of the welcome Abadi received from Arab and regional countries, and the international community. Baghdad should adopt an open approach to develop its ties with foreign countries.

If Iraqi officials take the right direction and adhere to national unity, we will have faith in the government’s ability to crush terror and retake the city of Mosul and other western cities in the near future. When terror is defeated in Iraq, the world will be safer. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the world to help facilitate Iraq’s acquisition of weapons. It is in the interest of Iraqis to work as a team and abandon ideas of isolation, which have only proved to offer an ideal opportunity for terrorists to cause unrest in Iraq and the entire region.