Iraq… Where does the foreign policy compass go?

It seems that Iraq’s relationship with the Arab environment has gone beyond protocol posts and visits, which are limited to the courtesy of a diplomatic presence.

Because in recent years, and especially after the end of the liberation struggles against terrorist organizations, ISIS, the external relations of Iraq and the Arab regional milieu are looking for frameworks for cooperation and partnership at economic levels.

The former Iraqi government, led by Mustafa Al-Kazemi, invested in Arab regional openness towards Iraq and concluded important agreements on partnership and economic cooperation with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and managed to hold the 2021 Baghdad Summit of regional neighboring countries, with the participation of France.

Despite all these activities, agreements and summit meetings, they did not reflect on the development or development of the reality of the Iraqi economy. However, its importance remains in paving the way for the government of Muhammad Shia al-Sudani to invest in it in terms of foreign relations especially with Arab neighboring countries.

Perhaps the second Baghdad summit hosted by Amman, the capital of Jordan, and before that the Arab-Chinese summit on cooperation and development held in Riyadh, represents a continuation of the lines of communication instead of a continuation of the intersection and looking at Iraq within the circles of polarization of conflict and regional rivalry between Iran, Turkey and Gulf states.

Despite these summits and meetings, whose titles were partnership and cooperation, and pictures of meetings and signing of agreements, we have not yet reaped their fruits. The question may be raised here, will these diplomatic conferences and meetings remain just propaganda for the successive Iraqi governments who consider them an achievement of their foreign policy? While the Iraqi citizen waits and waits, he may reap the benefits of these agreements in improving his service and economic reality, or at least find his passport acceptable and welcome in countries where Iraqi governments pride themselves on the success of their visits. to.

Far from the slogan of balance in Iraq’s foreign policy and from the policy of regional axes, which have become worn-out slogans repeated by all governments in their ministerial programs and foreign policy discourse, we still do not know where the Iraqi foreign compass is, whether you want to activate the areas of economic cooperation that are on it agreed with Egypt and Jordan? Or do you want to keep it just under slogans? What is her vision of the Saudi insistence on political openness and partnership in economic investment sectors?

And if these questions are at the level of Iraq’s relationship with its regional environment, then it seems that the questions will be more difficult if one wants to discuss the vision of the government and the political forces behind it to the limits of relations with the United States of America, and their desire to open and enter into major economic partnerships with China?

At this time, the development of the prospects for Iraq’s economic relations with China may not pose a threat to Iraq’s relations with America, because the administration of President Joe Biden may be preoccupied with more complex issues than the development of the field of Sino-Iraq relations. on an economic level.

However, the Iraqi government must realize the danger of identifying with the Saudi project in using the card of closer economic partnership with China to pressure the United States.

Because the consequences could be very dangerous in the coming years, especially since the actors in the creation of US foreign policy insist that China be treated as a future strategic threat to the interests of the United States of America.

At the level of complexity in the relationship between the internal political environment and its repercussions on Iraqi foreign policy, the problem of authoritarian forces and governments remains in their belief that their legitimacy in governance is complete only in obtaining international and regional recognition. meetings, visits and conferences are considered a recognition of them and their rule, not a political context, they are associated with the realization of higher interests of the state.

Therefore, it does not matter to what extent international and regional conferences reflect on development projects or even the fight against extremism and terrorism in Iraq, but they are seen as a political gain for a ruling class suffering from a crack in its society and political legitimacy.

It is not surprising that we witness contradictions in the views of many political leaders regarding the relations and directions of Iraqi foreign policy and the negative impact on them, since many of these leaders believe that the problem of some countries in the region is the refusal to recognize their titles that are by force of arms or political influence imposed on Iraqi society. Thus, this problem is reflected in the government’s guidelines in the drafting of foreign policy and turns into restrictions that prevent the development of external relations and agreements on cooperation in the economic and security fields.

Today, the opportunity for Iraq seems more open than ever to transform the many political slogans raised in regional and international meetings and forums, calling for the need to implement the principles of Iraq’s interests and calling for facing the political and external environment in accordance with the slogan (Iraq first).

However, this remains dependent on the government’s vision and policy of investing in the idea of ​​positive coexistence with the reality of Iraq, regardless of the form of governments or the political forces behind them. And the realization of the regional powers that the exclusion of Iraq or its survival as a failed state leads to possibilities contrary to what its regional environment wants, and turns into an arena for endangering its interests.

Iraq should not continue to deal with its regional environment with a logic of reactions that express a lack of clarity in its steps for interaction devoid of any strategic dimensions or horizons for an expanded partnership. Iraq has many elements that can form the basis for integration and economic partnership, and at the same time it has many problems in foreign relations that cannot be solved without defining a cooperation compass that can be a pressure map to solve water and security problems. with neighboring countries of Iraq.

The Arab regional powers want to see Iraq different from the recent past, but so far we do not know what the ruling powers want in Iraq. Do they want an Iraq that is active and interacting with its international and regional environment? Or remain an arena for exhibiting the hegemony of the influence of regional powers? The answer to this question must be a compass that determines the horizons of Iraqi foreign policy according to the regional and international environment.

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