Iraq asks for help
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s visit to Washington was met with a fair amount of backlash. Given the enormous investment America put into Iraq, it seems logical for the United States to offer increased military and intelligence aid in the wake of the Syria Civil War, which has helped fuel renewed violence in Iraq. Although intelligence sharing is a necessary element of any alliance, especially when one partner is under threat, it does not seem the US will freely provide the Maliki government with the additional military hardware it requested.
The Middle East is currently experiencing uprisings against governments that have been willing to use their military hardware to suppress revolutionaries. The United States is already seen as a hypocritical when it come to serving the interests of the Peoples of the region, thus America cannot afford to give Maliki any more tools to oppress segments of his population. Because Islam has grown more globalized in recent years, which means national borders no longer isolate Muslims of the same domination, the conflicts that have arisen from the Arab Spring revolutions are significantly defined by ethnicity. Henceforth, a failure of leaders like Maliki to serve the interests of non-Shiites contribute to ethnic tensions across the region while unfettered US support would only encourage Maliki to ignore minority interests in Iraq. Granted, the Sunni minor did brutalized the Shiite majority under Saddam Hussein, so the Prime Minister’s resistance to power sharing is understandable; however, two wrongs do not make a right and Iraq is filled with innocent Sunnis who must have the same protections as their Shiite brothers and sisters.
Meanwhile, it is also important to look at Iraq as a recipient of US treasure and blood. When the United States helped restabilize Iraq, there were many individuals, including this writer, who predicted the country would eventually collapse once major US military operations ended. The reasons for this prediction stemmed from a failure to build up the civil institutions needed for proper governance and economic stability. In other words, Iraqi’s real problems were never solved; the symptoms were temporarily alleviated by accelerated US intervention, thus reengaging Iraq is a slippery slope for America that will likely end in a commitment the American People are unwilling to undertake.
Ironically, it might be argued that the Arab Spring helped the Iraqi government suppress its impulse to undermine democracy and the interests of minorities, plus it made democracy a more acceptable choice thanks to regional peer pressure, thus Iraq became less likely to destabilize. Now that violence from Syria has spread to Iraq, the revolution is making it harder for Iraq to cope with its shortcomings. Consequently, Iraq needs the support of its People to survive this wave of chaos and that will only happen if the Iraqi government is a government for the People.)
Furthermore, Iraq is not the only country at risk of destabilizing. If the problem is truly Syria, the US is better served by addressing the Syrian issue directly instead of building up Iraq’s defenses. After all, the outsourcing of Syrian violence is a threat to all of its neighbors while the US nor Saudi Arabia can provide the entire region with sufficient aid to compensate for the unfolding scenario. For example, Lebanon and Jordan are already overwhelmed by Syrian refugees. Throwing more money and hardware at the Iraq problem will do little, if anything, to address increasing regional instability. In fact, increased humanitarian aid to the aforementioned countries would probably do more to ease the situation.
Quite frankly, the Iraqi government needs to start acting like a government and address the interests of the Peoples of its country, before the US should offer an emergency boost in aid. This is not to say, however, that the US should do nothing as we can offer increased guidance in ways to manage the increasing crisis inside Iraq. That is, if Maliki is actually trying to strengthen his society as a whole, the US can help him find a strategy to do that.
Read old posts