All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).
Visit and follow us on Instagram at @crg_globalresearch.
Iraq is back, and stands center stage in the Middle Eastern drama of blood and sand. In a regional summit, which is being called a turning point, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi co-hosts the Baghdad Conference on Cooperation and Partnership. Kadhimi’s co-host is French President Emmanuel Macron, who remained in Iraq two days for meetings with French Special Forces fighting ISIS, as well as a trip to Erbil in the North. The meeting, dubbed the Iraq Neighborhood Summit, has not included Iraq’s neighbor to the west, Syria, but has brought key regional officials and leaders together, to discuss pressing issues. The Syrian conflict next door, lasting 10 years, did not make the agenda, signaling a continuation of the stalemate in Idlib, and the Kurdish separatist’s region in the north east.
Egyptian President Fattah al-Sisi told Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah on the sidelines of the meeting, that “the security of the Gulf region is one of the main pillars of the Arab national security, and is closely linked to the Egyptian national security.”
Kadhimi wants to promote Iraq as a neutral mediator in the region’s crises and establish confidence in Iraq internationally after decades of conflict. The past years of Al Qaeda, ISIS and the US military occupation have tarnished the image of Iraq. In recent years, Iraq suffered from Turkish airstrikes in the north. Baghdad wants to build an image of a place where neighbors can peacefully discuss issues together.
Additionally, the conference seeks to promote economic development and capital investment to Iraq from among its neighbors and allies.
Iraq’s neighbor to the east, the Islamic Republic of Iran, announced its support for Iraq, and the need for the withdrawal of the US military occupation. The Iraqi parliament voted to request the US military withdrawal after the defeat of ISIS. However, the US has not complied with the democratic process of the Iraqi government.
France’s Macron has expressed his support for Iraq and the political process and democracy.
Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi signaled his support for Iraq through statements saying Iran considers foreign intervention in security arrangements in the region not constructive, and emphasized the importance of the regional people to be included in dialogues. Iran’s statement included, “What we need now, and more than ever before, is sustainable regional security with the participation of countries of the region.”
Iraq and Iran are tied historically, geographically, and have been close partners in fighting terrorism.
Iraq had suffered from an image of unrest and danger amid the US invasion of Iraq, and later from the war on ISIS. The international airport was frequently attacked by terrorists.
Issues on the meeting’s agenda are the regional water crisis, the war in Yemen and the severe economic and political crisis in Lebanon that has brought the country to the point of collapse. The meeting could prove to be a step towards Saudi-Iranian rapprochement.
Invitations were sent to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as Iraq’s neighboring and regional countries, including some European countries, according to Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.
No official mention was made as to why Iraq’s direct neighbor to the west,