Iraq is the center of the intersection of the three nations “Arab, Iranian and Turkish”, and international attention, and its cohesion means the cohesion of the three Middle East nations, and disintegration necessarily means redrawing the geopolitics of the region as a whole; its divide is forbidden, and its survival as shaking state is not possible; so the model of it as a state of balance is the best for it and the whole region . The evidence for that , Iraq in just six days from January 9 to January 15, was visited by nine officials including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, John Lurimer,, senior British defense adviser to the Middle East, and Beijing Zangana Iran’s Minister of Oil, John Minza, Assistant Secretary-General for NATO Operations, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian , King Abdullah II of Jordan, Australian Defense Minister Christopher Pine, and finally Houlin Zhao , Secretary General of the Telecommunication Union .
There is no doubt that these successive visits by the aforementioned officials to Iraq are due to two primary factors: the recognition by these officials of Iraq’s strategic importance in its Arab, regional and international environment, and that Iraq is a central country in the Middle East environment, which is difficult to ignore. The second is closely related to the first factor, which paved the way for such visits. It is reflected in the presence of a highly qualified Iraqi political and security team, headed by Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Al-Hakim, and Mustafa al-Kazemi, Head of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service. And in view of their national role in the restoration of Iraq’s political, economic and security position , and occupies the position it deserves at the level of Arab and regional and international, so we will shed light in this paper on those political and security figures to be models for other political and security figures in Iraq.
First: Barham Salih:
“I promise you to protect the unity and integrity of Iraq.” This was announced by Barham Salih in his performance of the constitutional oath as president of the Republic of Iraq. The Iraqi political class and the international community welcomed the election of the Iraqi parliament, Barham Salih, as President of the Republic of Iraq with great welcome. This is a promising beginning for a technocrat who comes from a conciliatory approach. What distinguishes the current president of Iraq from the other political figures in Iraq is his openness and clarity of position. Barham Salih has been influenced by democratic concepts and norms in Western countries, taking advantage from its experience and trusted its noble goals, trying to convey these concepts to Iraq after 2003. However, the system of sectarian and ethnic quotas has prevented this. In all of his political stations, Barham Salih remained the most open and reasonable politician in the eyes of all. He was the most liberal and free from the partial quarrels, and the most able to communicate with all the opponents, being a way from sectarian and national rivalries in his country of Iraq. More importantly, in his view, he is the most acceptable and privileged in the political circles and global decision centers, the American and the European.
In a short period of time, Barham Salih restored the movement to the post of President of the Republic .According to Iraqi observers, President Barham Salih may be asked to attend some meetings of the Iraqi cabinet, which Adel Abdul Mahdi is working on. The Iraqi Constitution allows the President of the Republic to share the Government in deliberation on political and sovereign decisions, but does not grant him the right to vote. The Constitution also provides that the executive branch consists of the Government and the Presidency of the Republic. But restricts the president’s powers to some formality. In a short period of time, Iraqi President Barham Salih managed to meet the hopes of many of those who relied on his presence on this site to express their concerns and be part of their solution.
The slogan of restoring the status of Iraq in its regional and international environment and restoration of its dilapidated image, which was raised high with the receipt of Barham Salih for the post of President of the Republic of Iraq in the successor to Fuad Masum, began to materialize with the adoption of the presidential movement dimension of content during the multiplicity of external visits noting since he took over his constitutional powers , he has visited number of Arab and regional countries , the latest of which was Qatar and Turkey during this month. His visit comes to emphasize his political convictions: that Iraq seeks to build the best relations with its Arab and Gulf depth and to cooperate with its brothers in establishing good neighborly bases, economic integration and joint cultural advancement, as well as strong ties between Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran, we aspire to its development and strengthen its foundations to serve as an example of cooperation for the development and stability of the region. The distinguished relations between Iraq and Turkey also have open horizons for development, thus enhancing the chances of lasting peace that the region and its peoples deserve. It is a peace that will not remain a mere promise to the entire region if complete security stability is achieved in a democratic and federal Iraq and in Syria with a sincere national understanding between the Syrian brethren and the preservation of the peace of Syria and the security of its people and in Yemen to end the suffering of its people and establish elements of its safety and the right of its citizens.
However, a person like Barham Salih, with his internal and external political weight, can produce the change that the political scene in the country needs. With his old friend Adel Abdul Mahdi on the top of the cabinet, observers expect Barham Saleh to build an effective partnership with the government. This partnership will face Iraq’s challenges, which are countless including a lot of political problems, the large number of local players, popular suffering due to lack of services, the absence of solutions, and the basic infrastructure is badly shattered in the water, electricity, health sectors. Education, roads and communications, lack of resources, rampant corruption, political competition, the reluctance of international companies to invest, and the persistence of security threats in varying proportions, which requires difficult understandings with political partners and international and regional players. Prevent the re-emergence of the “ISIS. Iraq is surrounded by regional countries that see it as an arena for its influence and a market for its goods and a ground yard on which its adversaries meet and his friend, Abdul Mahdi, share these concerns. This effective partnership, coupled with the high prudence of Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq, will make Washington and Tehran friends of Iraq. Political experience and culture do not allow them to take risks in the face of the United States or to turn back to the wishes of the Islamic Republic. They have relations with all parties concerned with the Iraqi issue, both at home and abroad.
Second: Adil Abdul Mahdi
As soon as Barham Saleh was elected President of the Republic on October 2, 2018, Adil Abdul Mahdi was appointed to form a new Iraqi government followed the government of outgoing Prime Minister Haider Abadi. Adil Abdul Mahdi is one of the founding leaders of the “Iraq after 2003”, seen as a long-standing figure in Iraqi politics, as an independent figure capable of making a compromise (catch the stick from the middle) in the relationship between the internal and external parties present strongly on the Iraqi political scene and he is not strange to the Iraqi politics. He is well known of good experience that made his name available at every entitlement in Iraq, as a compromise candidate acceptable to all parties. Therefore, this “old” bears in his hands a lot that enables him to achieve the task entrusted to him.
A few months before he was appointed to form the Iraqi government, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi wrote an article in the newspaper al-Adalah , from which he put forward his views and opinions on how to build the state, an article with an interesting title was written by him “thank you, the conditions are not available”. He pointed out the real danger to any economic and political reform in Iraq, and many may notice the skill of the man in his understanding of these problems and the ability to diagnose them in real terms, these points began to diagnose the rentier problem for the Iraqi economy and what constitutes a barrier to the rest of the sectors of production, and he indicated to the opposition of political forces to the economic reform approach as they are accustomed to the mentality of the Rentier state as he described them , and address the issue of separation of powers and the establishment of constitutional institutions, and the problem of administrative corruption, and support the formations of military , also referred to international relations based on logic, and on dependency.
The observers for the Iraqi issue see , Dr. Adil Abdul Mahdi received the presidency of the Council of Ministers with a heavy legacy of the war on the (da’ash), and randomness that accompanied the past period, with scarce resources and the high ceiling of expectations , not easy to achieve high success rates ». They added “What needs to be done is to calm the anxiety and anger of the street, and to give an energized dose of hope, by providing jobs from the private sector, and offering temptations and exemptions within the available limits. The state is no longer able to absorb the huge numbers of unemployed and the mass of new graduates. They went on saying “”It requires a minimum of services, and improved them through a new vision that does not rely on a mechanism that has not been successful.” They pointed out that Adil Abdul Mahdi will focus on defusing internal and regional political tension; that he is a man of dialogue and not a personality of clash. And he will manage what can be resolved from hot files, and manages what is different in a different way, which creates trust between partners and discards doubts. At the regional level, he needs a calm approach to crises in the region and strained relations with some countries, such as Turkey. And that the Prime Minister-designate needs to develop this harmony between the three presidencies, each of its position, without prejudice to the role of each of them.
To face challenges, they expect Abdul-Mahdi, to take advantage from his long political experience, good relations with most of Iraq’s political components, and the fact that he is a man of compromise, not a man of confrontations, placing him outside local, regional and international polarization. In addition to enjoying good relations with the most Sunni political forces, Abdul-Mahdi has historical relations with Kurdish politicians; which may contribute to improving the relationship between Baghdad and the Kurdistan region, which was marked by tension during the periods of Maliki and Abadi, taking in to consideration that Baghdad certainly can not bear the responsibility, especially after the referendum crisis in the independence of Kurdistan, and the subsequent repercussions, such as the redeployment of the Iraqi army in Kirkuk and the disputed areas (September – October 2017).
At the regional level, Adil Abdul Mahdi is a consensual person, as the case at the domestic level. It was no coincidence that his name was reintroduced to the premiership; he had already been put forward during the crisis of 2010, after the victory of the Iraqi List, led by Allawi, the first place, but Maliki took the post of prime minister despite that, pushed by Iran, which pressed for a broader coalition enabled the latter to form a government. In the context of fierce regional rivalries and conflicts in the region, it is not known that a specific regional party opposes him; he is not calculated on the Iranian line, and at the same time does not pursue policies opposed to Iran. He is also acceptable to the US, though not the US candidate for prime minister. In 2004, he ran the Iraq file at the Paris Club to reschedule its debts; which means that perhaps he would be the best choice for prime minister at this stage, which is expected to see a surge in the US-Iranian conflict, especially in Iraq.
Adil Abdul Mahdi is a statesman who is capable of drawing up a plan to save the country. He has experience in state administration as a finance minister, vice president, oil minister and family descendant with experience in state administration. His father was a communications minister and minister of knowledge during the time of monarchy. He is capable to coordinate with blocs to chose professional and academic Ministers who can succeed. ” If things go well in the way he aspires in the formation of the government, , he will be able with his political history to extend bridges between the sects and ethnicities and the parties belonging to any of these currents, that may help the return of citizenship and belonging to the homeland before belonging to the party and the sect and ethnicity, and his academic background and residence in a country rich in its political life, such as France, would allow him to have a modern vision of the concept of homeland and citizenship, and the vision of modern and scientific approaches to the problems before him such as the rampant corruption of state institutions, the issue of non-governmental armed organizations, administrative reform, and plans to improve the primary services of the people including to provide drinking water , electricity and education to be like what was available during the 1970s of the last century and health care and others .
Adil Abdul Mahdi is now the most powerful political figure in Iraq because everyone needs him to reorganize Iraq and return it to a “normal” situation in which life can resume, or at least delay the resolution of local, regional and international conflicts indefinitely. For this purpose, Adil Abdul Mahdi will need experienced advisors in political affairs, international relations, culture, economics, finance and services to make the change. But the most important thing to know is that the Iraqi street with him, as was the case with Haider Abadi in 2015, and that he should not accept less than an effective government to restore things to normal, and stop corruption and the provision of basic services and security and jobs and restore Iraq’s stability .Adil Abdul Mahdi is the last chance for a prosperous Iraq.
Third: Mohamed Ali Hakeem
Mohammed Ali Al-Hakeem has a deep knowledge of the government scene in the Arab world and a strong network of relations. He previously served as Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Iraq to the United Nations in Geneva (2010-2013) and Director of Arab, European and International Organizations and Policy Planning at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad (2006-2010). He was also the Minister of Communications of Iraq (2004-2005), a member of the small committee for the Foreign Relations of the Iraqi Parliament (2005-2006) and a senior social and economic adviser to the Iraqi Vice President (2004-2010).On 17 March 2017, and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Mohamed Ali Al-Hakeem as Executive Secretary of ESCWA, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia , based in Beirut, where he is one of the highest-ranking international diplomatic figures in Lebanon to be the first Iraqi holding such a high-ranking international position and the first Arab in this international post. During his tenure, he went to Iraq to participate in the projects of ESCWA, such as achieving sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the development of private sector, education and women’s rights, as well as the development of social institutions in Iraq and the achievement of social justice. and combating administrative and financial corruption.
This is a distinguished and scientific work as well as he has a PhD in Engineering and Communications Administration, a Master’s Degree in Information Technology and a Bachelor of Education and Statistics. He was able efficiently to serve as Iraqi Foreign Minister in the government of Adil Abdul Mahdi. On 24 October last year, he was appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq. Any one ho knows this minister closely; he will see that he is energetic, active and professional. This has been reflected in the performance of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, where he witnessed remarkable diplomatic activity during his meetings with Foreign Ministers of the European and regional countries, in the last December , Ali al-Hakeem met with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Germany and Denmark, and invited them to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq, but this invitation was not suitable for some blocks, parties and political forces of Iraq, which they wish and are working hard for the benefit of one regional sate to devour reconstruction projects in Iraq, a country that was the cause of –is still – the destruction of Iraq. Mohammad Ali al-Hakeem met, in January, the foreign ministers of Iran and France, as well as his meetings with ambassadors accredited to Iraq, including the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad.
As for the media uproar that was raised against Mohammed Ali al-Hakeem when he stated the belief of Iraq to solve the Palestinian issue through the establishment of two states, and formed a wide debate among the parliamentary circles that called for the accountability and dismissal of the minister. Of course, this media hype occurred between 2012 and 2019, a short time space, we know political positions are quickly forgotten just like the speed of the “sound”!! When one of the opponents today was prime minister of Iraq, the Arab summit was held in Baghdad in his era in 2012, and included in the final statement, which called the “Baghdad Declaration,” the following: “The Baghdad Summit stressed the need to reach a just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of international legitimacy and the Arab peace initiative, “and at the time , Iraq did not object to this paragraph !, what the Foreign Minister of Iraq said , Muhammad Ali al-Hakeem is fully consistent with the commitment of Iraq at the Baghdad summit. International legitimacy are the decisions of the United Nations with its various organs such as the Security Council and the General Assembly, and the Arab Initiative launched by Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, crown prince of Saudi Arabia at that time, at the Beirut summit in 2002, he called for a two-state solution and the return of Israel to the pre-June 4, 1967 borders. This is agreed by Iraq whether at the Beirut summit in 2002 or at the Baghdad summit 2012. So what is the moral and political value of this uproar? It is of no value, because the source of it is the utilitarian political calculations and not based on political or moral principles, and all political forces in Iraq fully aware of it. To add to that, they may have forgotten , those parliamentary circles , that Mohammed Ali al-Hakim is the minister of foreign affairs of Iraq , rather than the minister of foreign affairs of a particular regional state or an official spokesman, to release statements in a manner consistent with the interests of that country. These parliamentary circles view the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs from the angle of spoils and privileges in complete contrast to the vision of Muhammad Ali al-Hakeem. The ministerial post is a national integrity and a political responsibility that must be fully performed in the interest of Iraq and raised, and paves the way for Iraq to resume its active diplomatic role in its Arab ,Regional and international environment
On June 7, 2016, Mustafa al-Kadhmi became head of the Iraqi national intelligence service instead of Zuhair al-Gharbawi. The former Iraqi prime minister, Haidar al-Abadi, bet on the efficiency of Mustafa al-Kazemi, his ability to manage the intelligence service, and make fundamental changes in its joints. Abadi succeeded in his bet, and also Adil Abdul Mahdi, the current prime minister. Today, al-Kazemi is leading the national intelligence service in the most dangerous phase of Iraq’s security, political, and economic deterioration… Not only led the helm of the boat, which takes away the sea, facing the strong wind in each direction… But he creates, and achieves what has not been achieved before.
The most important thing is that he did not surrender on the same path which was followed by his predecessor on the site. Al-Kazemi wanted this apparatus to be an effective national apparatus, respected by the Iraqi citizen, not afraid, but proud of it, not escaping, but supporting it without being ashamed. And, engage in its ranks, without feeling any preferential advantage, or social exception at the expense of the other citizen… He fights corruption, does not fall in the wells of the sanctity… Sacrifice for the sake of the homeland, and is satisfied with this sacrifice, and this redemption.
The Iraqi National Intelligence Service, headed by Mustafa al-Kazemi, played a great role in eradicating the terrorist organization ISIS in Iraq. The organization was able to thwart the terrorist operations and arrest some of its terrorist elements. Especially the elements that come at the top of the organizational structure .With its qualitative information and the implementation of the International Alliance, this joint cooperation achieved through an air strike of the international coalition in the Hajin area in eastern Syria on January 20, killing al-Baghdadi deputy (Abu Abdul Rahman al-Tamimi al-Otaibi al-Jazrawi) and killing Abu Saleh Haifa ( Ayad al-Obeidi) deputy Baghdadi, after Abu Ali al-Anbari, and then killed Abu Yahya al-Iraqi (Iyad Jumaili) Deputy Baghdadi, after Abu Saleh Haifa ». And the arrest of Abu Zeid al-Iraqi (Ismail Alwan al-Ithawi) Chairman of the Commission committee in the organization of Dahesh.
The intelligence apparatus, headed by Mustafa Kazemi, has become highly professional in the field of intelligence and the application of its principles in thwarting terrorist operations and the pursuit of terrorists. These principles include: knowledge as much as need, confidentiality, allegiance, sincerity and obedience, discipline and obedience, and courage.
The national character loving Iraq when he occupies a high security position as the intelligence service, his knowledge, culture, and patriotism will inevitably be reflected on that apparatus, this is what Mustafa Kazemi has brought to the Iraqi Intelligence Service. The Iraqi National Intelligence Service (NII) has stood in Iraq’s crucial battle against terrorism and in the face of all the challenges and dangers that have beset its new democratic experience , and presented a constellation of its sons , martyrs in the battle of honor, and continues in the struggle and carrying out its responsibilities in defense of the entity of the Iraqi state and the protection of Iraqis of all spectrums and diversity. The success achieved by the Iraqi National Intelligence Service at the level of fighting an oppressive organization ISIS headed by Mustafa al-Kazemi won the respect of all the Arab, regional and international countries. Iraq in fighting this terrorist organization is fighting on behalf of the entire international community.
The goal that Mustafa al-Kazemi wanted to accomplish in his position as head of the Iraqi national intelligence service is to confirm that this sincere apparatus belongs to the unity of Iraq and to all Iraqis, and strengthens the citizens’ confidence in it and establishes the relationship of cooperation between the intelligence service and the citizens. And the balance between the maintaining the rule of law and maintaining the security and stability of Iraq, and the apparatus is fully committed to the text and the spirit of the laws in force, and exercise its powers within the legislative and legal frameworks, and this would ensure a firm commitment of intelligence as a security apparatus for human rights and support the process of modernization and development and democracy.
As a result, we conclude that Iraq desperately needs political and security officials whose ambition is to reach Iraq in the ranks of the democratically developed, economically prosperous, stable in security, and politically active countries. With Barham Salih, Adil Abdel Mahdi, Mohamed Ali Hakeem and Mustafa Kazemi, Iraq can reach that required goal.
Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies