Arms for Iraq’s Security, or for International Shia Security?

October 17, 2012

The arms shopping spree that the prime minister is on will not secure the country.
It will be seen as an attempt to strengthen his position and use it as an important “component” of what some call “international Shia security.”
Creating a sense of ownership among people for their country, providing leadership and creating better services would move things in the right direction. Only then would the country be in need of the equipment the prime minister is trying to purchase today.
Scanning through some of the data available on the Internet and taking into account the recent money committed to new deals with Russia and the Czech Republic, Iraq is at the top of the list for national spending on the military compared to gross domestic product. This is in addition to it being in the leading position for corruption and poor services.
While Iraq has the right to arm itself for protection, the timing and the manner in which it is being done will only militarize the country further and kill any prospects of a safe, secure and stable place for people to live in.
To start with, the country does not have the proper institutions that people can identify with. The Sunnis say that the army is a Shia one, the Shia say that the Baath are still in control and the Kurds say that the army is an Arab one. The same goes for many other security institutions in the country.
This lack of trust is happening while the Iraqi government is moving from failure to failure in almost every service sector. Health, education, services like electricity, water and sewage are all at their lowest levels.
Apart from services, Kurdistan is not much better than the rest of the country. This is in terms of the health and education sectors, and many other areas that need fixing and immediate attention — before buying weapons that were the cause of all the misery Iraq faces today.
The other key requirement for the country to be armed is to be sane enough to possess them. The question that everyone has is: are we sane enough, mature enough or ready at all to possess such weapons?
What guarantees are there for us not to use them internally? A friend from Baghdad once said, “Our army is composed of 20,000 checkpoints.” Is this checkpoint army ready for F16s and Czech fighter jets?
The other question that many ask is: if the PM wants to buy weapons to defend the country, shouldn’t he buy anti-F16 missiles instead of the actual F16s?
In the absence of true national reconciliation and the end of corruption, real security will never be achieved internally. The prime minister should not forget that it would be impossible for him to convince the average citizen that F16s and fighter jets will stop car bombs from detonating at a terrorist’s chosen time and place.
This huge sum of money would have a much stronger impact if it was committed to a radical approach to fixing one of the ailing service sectors like electricity, or providing better hospitals or more schools.
Unless a radical change takes place, this shopping spree can only be interpreted as a move by Iraq to defend the eastern gate of the Arab homeland to protect the Shia in the world; hence the idea of “international Shia security.”

    Tags: , , ,

    follow me
    mail me