Serious Threats to Iraq’s Territorial Integrity
by Amer Araim*
The domination of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) over one third of Iraq, and Kurdish fighters known as Pesh Marga control of the province of Kirkuk have worsened the already volatile situation in Iraq. For more than a year Sunni Arab provinces, which suffered tremendously after the United States occupation in 2003, have demonstrated, and challenged the authority of the central government, which resulted in deaths and destruction in Sunni Arab parts of Iraq. There is a realization by the majority of Iraqis including moderate Shiites that all Iraqis, and particularly Sunni Arabs have paid very heavy price since the United States’ invasion of their country. Therefore, the United Nations and the United States government have special responsibilities and obligations to get Iraq out of this abyss.
The situation is deteriorating and there is no light at the end of the Iraqi tunnel unless the United Nations Security Council takes immediate action. It is a fact that the permanent members of the Security Council are no longer committed to fulfill their responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security without looking at each case from the prism of the narrow national interests of each one of them. Unfortunately, that is one of weaknesses of the United Nations today.
Nevertheless, world public opinion including nongovernmental organizations, human rights groups, and the media have special obligations to press the United Nations Security
Council, and the United States government to move forward to achieve a permanent solution to the Iraqi crisis. Once Sunni Arabs get international assurances of ending the sectarian policies of the Iraqi government, and that the national resources of Iraq are utilized for the well-being and prosperity of all Iraqis, they will be in a position to neutralize and eliminate the threat of ISIS or any militant groups in their areas.
As for the Kurdish control of the province of Kirkuk, the United States, and the United Nations must warn the Kurds that using force to settle political disputes will harm the Kurds in the long run. A warning should be addressed to Turkey that it should not allow the Iraqi Kurdistan government to sell Iraqi oil through its territory. The United States government has special relations with Iraqi Kurds; therefore it must convince them that using military force will not solve their problems. The Kurds must decide either to stay within Iraq, or demand independence. The latter option should be achieved through negotiations with the national unity Iraqi government, which the United Nations Security Council will hopefully help the Iraqis to achieve. All Iraqis and the international community are aware that Iraqi Kurds are aspiring to establish their own independent state. However, this state will not be viable without Kirkuk, and its oil resources.
In the meantime, Kirkuk is not Kurdish province. In accordance with the census conducted in 1957, the Arabs and Turkmens constituted the majority in Kirkuk. During the rule of the Baath party, Arabs were encouraged to settle in Kirkuk. Since the American invasion of Iraq, the Kurdish authorities have settled Kurds from other provinces in Kirkuk. It is in the interest of the Kurds, the Arabs, and the Turkmens that Kirkuk be maintained as a special province within Iraq. In the meantime, Iraqi Kurdistan should have its share of Iraqi national resources in accordance with the percentage of its population in Iraq. It is important to clarify that the Kurds are not only enjoying equality with all Iraqis, but are dominant in Iraqi politics. The Kurds have the positions of the president of Iraq, the deputy prime minister, the foreign minister, the deputy speaker of Iraqi parliament, and many other important positions in the government. As matter of fact the Kurds in Iraq enjoy more rights than the Kurds in all Middle Eastern countries where Kurds live.
The Iraqi crisis needs an urgent solution, and the United States government, and the United Nations must act now. Due to past failures of the United Nations to bring about justices to many oppressed peoples in the Global South, it is hoped that progressive media and civic society organizations will exert influence to achieve peace and justice all over the world. However, the corporate media in the United States are not interested in issues of major concerns to the neglected and underprivileged sectors of the society here in America and all over the world. I am grateful for DailyCensored for providing me with the opportunity to express my opinion, while corporate media are using censorship to prevent voices that are deemed not supportive of their interests.
*Amer Araim, Adjunct professor of political science, Diablo Valley College.
He can be contacted at [email protected].