Towards a unified Iraqi region
Controversy over the subject of the founding of the region for the Sunni in Iraq has been returned to the fore along the lines of the Kurdistan region in the midst of discussions on the establishment of a new political order in the country beyond the state of sectarian discrimination in the stage after liberation of the whole Iraqi soil from the control of the terrorist organization Daash. And due to the importance of this topic, it will be addressed on several aspects. First : What are the motives of the advocates of the Sunni region, and on what legal basis these motives are based on , Second: What is the attitude of the Iraqis to this proposal, Third: What is the regional and international situation of the establishment of this region, and what is the alternative to the establishment of regions in Iraq?
Obsessions of division in Iraq did not stop since the American occupier- setting foot on home in 2003 until today, a fade at times and then goes up at other times, according to circumstances of the negative political escalation between the declining political process components, or through and after security breakdowns that have been hunting for the capital Baghdad and the provinces of Iraq, which marked the “Sunni .” In the face of growing problems suffered by tens of millions of Iraqis, and the government’s inability to carry out its duties in providing services and security to the capital and the provinces, and in the sectarian and political fragmentation in Iraq , the shy sound that demands for the region or the “federalization” was started to raise the pace of talking about it , based on Article 119 of the Iraqi constitution, which was drafted within three months by the order of the US civil administrator Paul Bremer in 2004, which stipulates that “the right of each province or more to form a region at the request of the referendum it offers in one of two ways: first : the request of a third of the members of each assembly of the governorates councils intending to form a region . Second: request of one tenth of voters in each of the governorates intending to form a region. ”
The events that took place in Iraq before and at the end of the term of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and the task of ending the civil peaceful protests in Hawija, Ramadi, Fallujah and others by armed force and blood, and then the ambiguous failure is to loss the most of Iraq’s north provinces (Nineveh and Salahuddin and many parts of Anbar, Diyala) in favor of terrorist organizing Daash , and increase the style of overt sectarian dealing with the residents of these areas by government behavior on the one hand, and the actions of sectarian formations which were annexed by the so-called “popular crowd” to the lives and honors and property of citizens on the other hand, all paid in programmer reactions of the people there to accept what they reject it already, disengagement from the authority of all to the authority of the region . It is worth mentioning that the head of the Supreme Islamic Council , the late Mr. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, was at the forefront of those who were calling for the establishment of the region called the central and southern region includes the Shiite provinces, and so in 2005, and Ibrahim al-Jaafari called for the establishment of a Shiite region , but these two projects were rejected for having on a sectarian basis and not administrative. Although Sunni Arabs throughout history were not advocates of division and separation, but with Iraq to remain united and reject any attempt to divide it even if it is within the constitutional framework, what they have suffered in the post-2003 caused them to think about a project that saves Sunni Arab dignity and the blood of their sons, because the Sunni , according to a historical reading did not talk about themselves as a Sunni, but they cling to the Iraqi national notions and Arab nationalism.
Against that Iraqis were divided on the establishment of a Sunni region between supporters and opponents, the oponents see it as a solution to their sense of “exclusion, marginalization and targeting them by random arrests”, which they say that they are also subject to the government abuse and the salvation of the complex problems in the Iraqi reality. It is necessary to reach a state of national solutions according to the Constitution, which acknowledged the right of the formation of the administrative regions. They assert that the Sunni Arabs with Iraq’s unity and they are paid the high prices for this unit, The founding of the region from their point of view in order to maintain the unity of Iraq and not, as some think a gateway for separation and division.
The sectarian and ethnic trench in Iraq after the 2003 has created different currents, where the Shiites considered themselves oppressed historically and want to lift the injustice, and the same thing applies to the Kurds, leaving Sunnis face confusion in determining their status to defend their community recently chosen to talk openly in the name of Sunni through the formation of a wide Sunni front and suggested the project ( Iraqi Marshall ) for the reconstruction of their provinces devastated by terrorism and military operations, and the formation of committees to count and reveal the government actions against the Sunnis by documenting and addressing the international community and the Arab world in order to ask for help in meeting their demands, perhaps as a preparation to the founding of the Sunni region.
Even opponents of the idea of the region assured that the successive Iraqi governments since 2003, practiced a variety of policies that have led to the weakening of (the idea of a Citizen’s State) and made (the idea of the State of components ) as a living political reality to be (to speak in the name of sects and components) as an Iraqi reality without defect. The call of an important sector of the public of Anbar and fewer of the public of Mosul, Salahuddin, Diyala and Kirkuk for the establishment of the Sunni region was not the result of a conviction stemming from the need for this region to get rid of their suffering as much as what is a reaction to the sectarian policy of marginalization, and perhaps some of them trying to pass the agenda of the partition.
And the fragile democratic structure in the country and the weakness of the central state institutions and the unbalanced construction of army and security services, have contributed to make the idea of regions that was approved by the constitution on the basis of administrative and economic foundation to turn into regions based on ethnic and sectarian basis .In light of the size of the ideological contradictions and problems and geopolitical trends and other tensions that emerged from the previous stage, the survival of these regions within the central state seem to be out of reach.
Opponents to the emergence of a Sunni region see as an introduction to the partition of Iraq on the sectarian and national basis, because the Sunni region will be built on a sectarian basis and if it was not its objective taking in to the consideration that most of the people of this region follow one religious community and thus to establish a sectarian federal and not a administrative federal , and this would open the door to a future civil sectarian and nationalist wars . When e look deeply on the merits of the sectarian and nationalist federal , we will find that it is a new phase of the pain and the blood and increases that conviction when looking at the sectarian and ethnic regions maps demanded by the opposing sides where you find disagreement exists among them on the administrative border of the regions noting that the mixed zones between the Kurdistan region and the provinces of Nineveh and Diyala, Salahuddin and Kirkuk , the Kurds consider it are belong to their region and their coming country where as the Sunni sees a part of their promised region and state without knowing the fate of the Sunni of Baghdad and the south, On the other hand we do not find for the promoters of the so-called the center and south region or the State of Sumer idea of what is going to happen to the Shiite areas such as Tal Afar and Tuz Khurmatu Assuming annexation of Dujail and Balad to administrative border of the province of Baghdad , then what is the position of the Sunni city of Samarra, surrounding by a Shiite shrines? And how they will be dealt with if people refused to submit to the rule of Shiite? It is likely if the division has become a reality, will they be exterminated or deported? Or interfere Daash for the demolition of shrines to end the problem from their perspective, that the Samarra alone is capable of igniting a sectarian war for 40 years along the lines of basus war as it is the same reason in the sectarian war in 2006, as we can not neglect the development of the capital Baghdad, which the sacred Kadhimiya is on the side of Sunni Karkh(theoretically ) and the city of al-Nu’man Adhamiya is located in the heart of the Shiite Rusafa (theoretically) which will be under the federal system to be applied just the capital of the politically and economically weak and has no real authority over the regions and granted powers that made it a state within a state, but it can not send its military forces to the region (which is one of the main reasons for the demand by some Sunni forces for federalism), and the vision around Baghdad vary between Shiites federalists who put it into the so-called center and south region while with their Sunni counterparts see to be neutralized and make it a central capital that is not affiliated with any region in light of the impossibility of dividing it, the question remains about the fate of the rest of the small religious and ethnic minorities ? Which seems that displace of them outside of Iraq is the most correct choice!
On the other hand that the establishment of the Sunni region will encourage other regions in the center and south to declare regionf, each consisting of a number of provinces related to and in harmony with each other, noting that the ruling Shi’ite alliance is fragmented in their views on a number of topics and exit the Sunni of the scene will focus the debate around the places of the dispute between the Shiite alliance components and explodes so in the way of other calls to the regions . The expected region to appear before the other is the region of Basra, for economic, political and historical considerations, Integration of Basra region, which produces three million barrels per day , with the Gulf surroundings is more beneficial for it than being integrated with neighboring regions to bear the burden of development and problems. There is also a running debate in the province of Kirkuk, on the subject of the region , some opinion sees the need to join to the Kurdistan region of Iraq and another opinion would prefer independence.
The discussion of the subject of federal or the idea of region in Iraq does not take its full sense with the lack of the positions of major and regional influential countries in the Iraqi scene noting that the United States of America and in spite of suggesting of Joe Biden, US Vice president of the idea of dividing Iraq, but the US administration announced a few days ago its rejection to the idea of regions in Iraq knowing that these regions at this critical and difficult stage of the history of Iraq means more civil wars and fragmentation . The regional states such as Iran is strongly opposed to the Sunni region and the Kurdish state because Iran realize that it will not be spared from the negative influences to divide Iraq noting that Iran is a state of a multi-ethnic ,religions and creeds and also that this division will deprive it of territorial contiguity with Syria that the other north-eastern side of the territory would be lost for the benefit of the alawya state which links Damascus to the coast, and Saudi Arabia with a unified Iraq, any division of it would make Iran as a neighbor of it , and this has a negative impact on Saudi Arabia’s interior, while Turkey’s Erdogan positions are closest to the Iraqi federal sectarianism, and it is a main supporter of the Sunni region of Iraq, which will be a Turkish feudal and will be attached to its north eastern of Syria with a Sunni majority, which looks a missing chance for Bashar al-Assad to restore it even if the expulsion of state regulation of it as that Ankara has been able to adapt itself to the possibility of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq provided to isolate it from the Turkish Kurdish peace talks and not originally addressed to file of Syria’s Kurds.
Hence, we reiterate that Iraq needs a new formula of joint coexistence to finish the past pains and maintain the unity of the state noting that the idea of peaceful coexistence is passing to their worst times as a result of the bloodshed spilled in the name of the sect, which produced a mistrust, if not fear of coexistence with the other party, especially with the possession of all a team of armed groups targeting the other different team and there is no doubt that the federal is one of the top modern administrative regulations and most advanced and applicable in most of the first countries in the world and these suggestions are mostly heard by the sectarian federal pushers who deal with the subject on the way (O ye who believe draw not near unto prayer) without looking into the reasons for the renaissance of these countries and their success in the process of ascent which were lasted approximately for centuries to get to what it is today from the cultural awareness and political maturity and respect for the public and private freedoms and absolute faith in the principles of human rights and democracy in thought and behavior and the importance of the peaceful transfer of power ( matters are far away from us) not to mention the fact that these federations based on administrative grounds not sectarian and ethnic ones noting that there is no state for Negroes and one for whites and those for Hispanics and those of the Arabs in the USA.
And for a unified Iraq , it must be a reform of the center and the eradication of corruption and the quota system, it was and still is the first alternative for the advancement of all Iraq. And educating the masses to elect honest and competent in the provinces and in the central administration is our way to that in addition to providing support for civil and secular leaders that believe in the unity, stability and development of the country. The direct alternative of ideas and regional tendencies is to activate the current Constitution, which emphasizes the decentralization in governance and the distribution of power and wealth among all the people in a fair way. And we do not forget that that the decentralization law, which was invited by the Constitution 10 years ago have not been agreed upon and passed only a few days ago or a few weeks. We have to urge and control our elected government and Parliament to ensure the application of the law. But locally, we criticize, monitor and activate the democratically elected provincial councils and are also under the threat of non-election them again. And reveal the corruption and failure and negligence and favoritism wherever was found. And activating the role of civil society institutions and other regulatory civil reforming bodies civil that we know or we create . Only then we will feel of achievement and touch the development that we all are seeking to it. And what we can not achieve with in our current potential , it will not be provided to us by the regions for free, but it will increase the burden.
Unified Iraq is the best political system for Iraq at the present time, a real guarantor for the continuation of the geographical unity and economic prosperity and the balance between the rights of all components and achieve a true partnership in the construction of the country in line with the broad administrative decentralized direction that it has become politically dominant in various countries around the world after the collapse of totalitarian regimes and it is an option that the attention must be directed to it to address the problem of rule in Iraq and the restoration of the social fabric and to maintain the survival of the state and its destinies . regions based on sectarian and national basis do not succeed in Iraq, but who succeeds is the region of a united Iraq.
Rawabet Research and Strategic Studies Center