The war against ISIS has not laid down its burdens yet , until a new , old front conflict is opened , the conflict between Arbil and Baghdad, which developments suggest it will escalate and will be the title of the next stage in Iraq. this time is different from the former, where the regional powers – Turkey and Iran mainly – put their weight in this conflict and stand with Baghdad against Erbil’s separatist tendencies .Observers of the Iraqi affairs in 2010 pointed out that the occupation of Iraq by the US and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was a “gift” on a plate of gold to Iran, considering that this occupation was a punishment for the entire Iraqi people, even if the result is to rid the Iraqis of Saddam’s dictatorship. They warned at that time that the interference in the Iraqi resolution and affairs would destabilize the region. They said that the interference of regional countries from the neighborhood in the Iraqi issue is very dangerous because it leads to severe sensitivity, permanent ruptures in Iraq, and sectarian sensitivities extend to the region. They pointed out that Iraq was a cornerstone in the Arab national security, and in its absence, imbalance in favor of forces such as Turkey and Iran, pointing out that the former Iraqi President Saddam Hassan was a barrier to Iran’s progress in the region and the absence of him enlarges the Turkish and Iranian roles and missed the Arab role.
They considered to overthrow Saddam Hussein was not an ordinary event taking into consideration the size of impact and the role played by Saddam Hussein in the region in his involvement in two wars so he changed the fate of the region when he was strong, as he changed it when he was weak and his role ended , pointing out that the Arab world failed to provide a response after the fall of Saddam to provide stability, and that the Arabs were in a state of weakness that it does not allow them to provide such a response, unlike Europe and its capacity to absorb and respond after the collapse of the Berlin wall.
This was confirmed by former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, on the eve of the Iraq war in 2002, a memorandum to Secretary of State Colin Powell, stating that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein could lead to ethnic and sectarian conflict in the country, and neighboring countries may increase its influence and in 15 years after Crocker’s memo written with William Burns and written by the book “The Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell,” Crocker’s fears come true and require, according to the former ambassador, a more effective US mediation and strategy than those that accompanied Barack Obama’s reign, In his view today , it continues with Donald Trump. Crocker said the Kurdish referendum «is not surprising », And that Washington made a mistake to declare a position against it, that it led to a strengthening of Baghdad to make its punitive measures that would further complicate the crisis. Crocker, who was his country’s ambassador to four Middle Eastern countries, as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan, said the issue of the Kurds in Iraq was “very long. The non-binding referendum was not surprising. The KRG is aware of the complexities and it is difficult for it to reach an (independent state.) without a good relationship with Baghdad. “So the former ambassador, a lecturer at Princeton University, sees the referendum as” barely the beginning of the process and not the end, and the United States should mediate and manage the issue. “On the role of the outside parties, Crocker said that Iran’s role “is the most problematic in the referendum issue,” adding that “if Iran wanted to create trouble, it could do so through militias capable of destabilizing easily.” The composition of instability in Iraq benefits Iran more than the others. Russia and Turkey are not necessarily in a strategic alliance. There are limits to the Turkish-Russian meeting, and there are limits to the Russian-Iranian meeting. ”
Crocker, who served in Iraq between 2007 and 2009, says Trump’s administration “made a mistake in how to deal with the referendum,” adding that Washington’s “strong and belated voice by rejecting the referendum set the tone and gave Baghdad the green light that responded strongly.” Crocker also sees that the Gradual mediation and a more moderate and neutral tone from the Trump administration is the best option for Washington. “There is no way of predicting what will happen, but if we want to avoid the worst we have to engage.” The former ambassador defines the outlines of any US mediation with an effort to focus on key issues and on dialogue between the parties to include the Iraqi federal system and oil law », noting that« the lack of violence in Kirkuk during the referendum is encouraging ».
Crocker calls on Washington to “define its interests in Iraq and develop a political strategy that was absent during the Obama administration, and is still absent with Trump, who follows his predecessor’s approach and looks at Iraq only from the point of view of a fight against ISIS and military aspect .” Even ISIS from the Crocker’s point of view is not a military problem only but it has a political dimension that makes it imperative for us to look at these problems. “He urged finding a way out by reducing the” tension between Erbil and Baghdad, and Washington has to open channels of communication with everyone, and that the US administration should decide whether to play a political role, or to make a risk of moving Iraq to a stage of destabilization ».
To sum up, Iraq has been living since April 2003 and to this day a series of political, economic, social, security and military crises, the most recent being the Kirkuk crisis between the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, which leads us to ask: Is instability of Iraq a regional demand?
Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies