UNDOUBTEDLY, avoiding war in the oil regions of Kirkuk is a good step towards reducing tensions that emitted from the recent secession referendum in Kurdistan. However, this would not be enough unless Iraqis are wary about falling into the trap of civil war.
Iraqis have had enough with the wars and adventures that their country has been through since 1958, which resulted in millions of killed, injured and displaced people, as well as expenses worth hundreds of billions of dollars that could have transformed Iraq into the Japan of Arab world.
The right way for averting this crisis is to hold negotiations between Baghdad and Erbil. Anything apart from that will drag Iraq once again into the sea of blood and further destruction.
Throughout the past six decades, Iraq did not experience any stability either in the local sphere in terms of coup d’états, exiles and killings or in the foreign sphere in terms of tense relations shared with its Arab and non-Arab neighbors, which sometimes resulted in bitter wars. The worst of such wars was the Iraq-Iran war, which cost $600 billion, and left four million people dead, injured or crippled.
Following all that, the former president of Iraq Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. This crime of invasion led to destruction of the pillars of solidarity among Arabs. It drove the region into the furnace of one war after another due to the frivolous ventures of the former regime, which ignited the first war with the Kurds that resulted in partial separation in 1975. That war also paved way for the first step of the United States of America-Israel scheme in 2003 which was exactly in line with Iran’s plan to divide Iraq through the autonomous Kurdish rule that came to a wrap in the recent secession referendum.
Between the years 1920 and 1958, there was a real opportunity, under the monarchy, to create a country that was above ethnicity and sectarianism. However, Iraq fell into the trap of revolutions and coups which in turn aborted such a reality. The fact that it would fall into the same trap after 2003 was also not expected.
Unfortunately, Iraq’s political groups drifted behind the Iranian sectarian slogans which led to a civil war at a time when Tehran was working with Tel Aviv indirectly for encouraging separatist movements in the north.
Today, irrespective of the referendum’s outcome and the developments that followed, it has become necessary to build on the positive step which would lead to averting catastrophe in the oil production domains, and instead find a seat around the negotiation table in order to curb the division of Iraq.
This is due to the fact that the elation over the Kurdish secession will quickly fade when it becomes a reality which is being imposed by Iran in the south and the center. Iraq will once again transform into a hell of displacement, destruction and massacre, and it will undoubtedly affect the neighboring countries.
No one in the Arab world wants Iraq to divide; however, the quest of Arabs to prevent the division will not bring about the desired outcome as long as Iraqis still fail to realize themselves that the only way out of the internal conflicts or the ongoing conflicts with its neighbors, which have continued for the past six decades, is to preserve the unity of the land and its people.
This is the only way Iraq can remain united as a nation without any creedal and sectarian groupings or even the ethnic kind that is knocking on the doors.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times