In Baghdad, a Lost Sheep Returns to the Flock

Article Summary
After the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and the 2003 US invasion, Iraq has remained a weakened and isolated state. But the Arab summit in Baghdad last week [March 29, 2012] suggests that Iraq may return to the Arab fold. According to Talal Salman, the Arab world cannot regain its stature and strength without Iraq.

Baghdad has finished its period of mourning and now exposes its wounds — those caused by both Saddam’s tyranny and the US occupation — upon receiving its Arab brothers, who are returning after absences that went on far too long.

Ironically, those who had plotted against Iraq and incited internal turmoil to distract and prevent Iraqis from returning to their rightful place in the arms of the Arab Nation chose not to attend the Arab League summit in Baghdad under the pretext of security concerns. This is because Iraq's comeback would reduce their regional and international importance and stature.

There is a big difference between Iraq and the countries that spontaneously appeared in the heart of the golden desert. These countries have falsified history and geography, halted Arab advancement and erected a barrier between them and Palestine to save them the embarrassment of facing the Israeli enemy.

Those who have reneged on Arabism have not hesitated to question Iraq's Arab identity, saying that Iraq has fallen under Iran's influence. It is they who inflated Saddam Hussein's ego and used Iraq's army in the [1980-88 Iran-Iraq] war. There were no victors between two friendly neighbors that were united by interests and religion. After Saddam accomplished their mission, they dismissed him with no compensation. So he sought his own vengeance by invading Kuwait and creating a disaster so severe for the Arab League that it surpassed their defeat by the Israeli enemy in Palestine. Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait provided a pretext for America, and with it Israel, to solidify its hegemony throughout the region ... after killing Iraq.

Baghdad aired its own dirty laundry while hosting “a summit without an audience.” Baghdad’s heart aches at Syria’s absence, Iraq's partner in establishing the Arab League, its summit now held under Iraqi banners. But that will not prevent the Arab League from trying to rectify the past errors which have damaged its reputation. It failed to stop the bloodshed caused by the Syrian regime. It has resigned from its duties and left its place at the UN Security Council to political newcomers. It is a new Arab Nakba catastrophe.

Baghdad made its scars visible for all to see when it welcomed its returning brothers, some of whom came in fresh from the Arab Spring uprisings and not yet strong enough to have an effective presence or to make tough decisions.

Baghdad also welcomed those who were unable to attend but instead sent representatives who, although unable to make decisions, can appear in pictures. Those unable to attend could not do so because they feared that the uprisings would reach their own palaces. They cited Baghdad’s security situation, saying that Baghdad cannot control its own fate; or that Iraq is not democratic, as if they themselves had reached power through elections that were models of democracy and respect for human dignity. Arguably, their absence is more a condemnation of themselves than a punishment to Iraq.

They are afraid that Iraq will recover its soul, especially because they cannot buy it with their dinars now. They want to make Iraq feel like it is undergoing a test, and they will welcome Iraq to the fold only if it agrees to their demands and joins them as a humiliated and lowly partner.

Still, the glow of achieving “the return of Iraq to the Arabs, and the Arabs to Iraq,” as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said yesterday [March 28, 2012] to Al-Safir, benefits those in power in Baghdad. They are trying to make light of their internal differences, which only serve to threaten Iraq, its people's unity, its strength and its role in the region. Iraq’s well-being is essential for the Arab nation to regain its soul, its stature, and its right to a future worthy of its people’s dignity. Iraq should return to its rightful place. That is the hope of its people and the dream of its Arab brothers. 

Found in: pan-arabism, iraqi nationalism, baghdad summit, baghdad, arab nation, arab league, arab

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using them you accept our use of cookies. Learn more... X