Iraq’s Security Impossible Without Political Stability

May 20, 2013

Iraq’s volatile security situation and the central government’s failure to resolve ethnic and religious tensions are dividing the country into three de facto regions: The autonomous Kurdistan Region in the north, a turbulent “Sunni triangle” in the middle and a Shiite center and south.

Every development on the political front is followed by security incidents. The causes of insecurity have been identified by nearly all sides, but by the look of things no party in Iraq is seriously interested in fixing security.

Everyone notes that the unstable security situation is caused by: the shaky political process; lack of qualified security personnel at the head of security agencies; and the dictatorial tendencies of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is handling the security portfolio personally and is not accountable to anyone.

Many meetings have taken place to discuss the security situation, but none seems to have worked. That is because the meetings fail to tackle the main issues, which are political red lines or taboos that can be discussed only by the “big bosses” or the heads of political blocs or ethnic and religious groups.

The shaky political process has always been one of the main sources of instability. It appears inclusive and healthy, but in reality is neither. Some groups are included, some are excluded, and some are only partially included, having one foot in and the other out.

The main problem is the absence of a leader who can lead the process in the right direction and include all parties. To do this, the country needs a visionary leader who has experienced diversity, and who truly believes in it to manage differences and turn them into strengths.

The current prime minister is trying to rule, not lead.

That tendency has led him to believe that keeping all the security portfolios in his own hand, in addition to performing his constitutional duties, will win him the status of a ruler.

But the contrary has happened. He is failing.

He has failed both as a leader and as a security chief. And because he is the product of a dysfunctional political process, he is untouchable. With every passing day, it is becoming more difficult to hold him to account. As a result, his failures as a security chief are not discussed, and security failures are blamed on those below him.

Both the parliament and the judiciary have also failed to perform their duties of holding the premier to account.

But unless the foundation of the political process and the behavior of the prime minister do not change, the security situation will remain volatile. Security and political stability are linked. Without fixing one, there is no fixing the other.

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    Ali Marzoo says:

    Hi Kaka… you are right in your analysis and I really admire it especially your saying that the premier tries to rule rather than to lead.All of the ruling parties and parliaments must know that security and political stability are linked and none of them can work in the absence of the other.

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