Security – a chronic vacuum

January 9, 2011

Iraq’s failure to appoint its security ministers is a black mark on the new government, and is yet another indication that the country’s politics remain dysfunctional.
The irony here is that security is one of the most urgent challenges for Iraq, and yet it is still the most problematic and controversial portfolio for the government.
Iraq’s politics seem to have turned the country’s priorities upside down. A country with immense security challenges should have appointed its security ministers first, especially given that Iraq is facing a tough deadline to solidify its safety measures as the Arab summit approaches in March.
The sad truth is that with the current state of our politics, fragile security will continue to be a permanent feature of our state.
As things stand today, all of the elements of deteriorating security and even civil war are still there — dysfunctional, divisive politics; a lack of trust between the people; a lack of confidence in the state; and a highly militarized and armed society.
The main reason for the delay in naming the ministers is the lack of trust between the political blocs, which has created a quota system designating certain parties and sects for the security ministries.
Just like many other areas of state-building, security can only be achieved if it is depoliticized.
For security to be realized in Iraq, a number of steps need to be taking. First and foremost, Iraq should strengthen its leadership and rally the public to remain vigilant,www.ekurd.netwhile creating fear amongst those who intend to breach security. So far, Iraq has not managed to produce a leader who can speak for all Iraqis. Unfortunately, there are no signs that we are going to have a leader like this in the foreseeable future.
This can only happen when there is a political process that represents the public’s will and when all citizens feel they have a stake in and ownership of the country. This in turn would contribute to creating a strong sense of loyalty to the state, a culture of rule of law and a common identity amongst all Iraqis.
This type of atmosphere would pave the way for a peaceful and demilitarized society. It would be the start of putting weapons in the hands of the state – an important pre-requisite for any real change in security to take place.
This can only happen if Iraqis who possess weapons are convinced that the state is protecting them. It is imperative that Iraqis have decent incomes and a quality of life, which would stop them from making livings off of their weapons while enabling them to trust their fellow Iraqis, regardless of whether they are from the same sect or ethnicity.
Although these goals may seem unattainable at the present time, substantive efforts should be exerted to generate these conditions. The government has the duty to prevent a security vacuum from being created again. Good governance would guarantee quality living conditions for Iraqis and a true national reconciliation — in addition to promoting a culture of forgiveness and tolerance — and would restore trust amongst Iraqis.

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