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Proceedings of the International Conference on

March 22nd, 2005

Edited By


Joint Conference Series N. 3
March 22nd, 2005

YTU Auditorium / Yıldız Campus
Yıldız- Beşiktaş

Edited by

Joint Conference Series No. 3

Foundation for Middle East and Balkan Studies (OBİV)
Y. T. U. Department of Political Science and International Relations
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system or transmitted in any from or by any means without the prior
permission from the Foundation for Middle East and Balkan Studies (OBİV)

The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in this publication are
entirely those of the authors and should not be attributed in any manner to the
Foundation for Middle East and Balkan Studies (OBİV). Texts are as originally

Foundation for Middle East and Balkan Studies (OBİV)
Fuat Aksu and Nurşin Ateşoğlu Güney (Eds.), Proceedings of the International
Conference on the New Iraq, March 22nd, 2005, İstanbul. İstanbul: OBİV, 2005.
Available From
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Yıldız Technical University
Department of Political Science and International Relations


March 22nd, 2005

YTU Auditorium / Yıldız Campus
March 22nd, 2005
Welcome Addresses and Opening Remarks
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nurşin Ateşoğlu Güney
Ambassador Güner Öztek
(Chairman of OBİV)

Özdem Sanberk
(R. Ambassador, Turkey)
11.30-11.45 Coffee Break
11.45-12.30 Discussions
Prof. Dr. Kemal Kirişçi
(Boğaziçi University, Turkey)
15.30-15.45 Coffee Break
15.45-17.00 Discussions

Özdem Sanberk
(R. Ambassador, Turkey)

The Main Features of the Permanent Constitution
Dr. Ghazi Faisal Mehdi

(Dean of the College of Law Al-Nahrain University /Iraq)

Ethnic, Secterial and Tribal Heritage, Facing Democracy in New Iraq
Prof. Dr. Adel Abdulsalam (Syria)

The Need to Include the Arab Sunnite in the Current Political Process in
Oraib Al-Rantawi
(General Director of Al Quds Centre for Political Studies /Jordan)

Propositions for Creating an Inclusive Political System in Iraq
Dr. Dina S. Shehata
(Researcher, Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies / Egypt)


Prof. Dr. Kemal Kirişçi
(Boğaziçi University, Turkey)

Future of International Relations After Irak War
Prof. Dr. Alexander Nikitin
(Center for Political and International Studies/RF)

Turkey and Iraq: Challenges of Transition
Assist. Prof. Dr. Meliha Benli Altunışık
(DPSIR METU / Turkey)

Politics and Iraq: To the Constitutional Election and Beyond
Associate Prof. Dr. Thomas S. Mowle
(Director, Center for the Study of Defense Policy United States Air Force Academy /

Iranian Foreign Policy Towards Iraq 2003-2005
Dr. Kamran Taremi
(Tehran University/ Iran)

The Identity of Kirkuk
Prof. Dr. Mahir Nakip
(Erciyes University / Turkey)


Prof. Dr. Alexander Nikitin; (Center for Political and International Studies/RF)

Prof. Dr. Adel Abdulsalam; (Syria)

Oraib Al-Rantawi; (General Director of Al Quds Centre for Political Studies /

Dr. Dina S. Shehata; (Researcher, Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic
Studies / Egypt)

Prof. Dr. Alexander Nikitin; (Center for Political and International Studies/ RF)

Assist. Prof. Dr. Meliha Benli Altunışık; (DPSIR METU / Turkey)

Associate Prof. Dr. Thomas S. Mowle; (Director, Center for the Study of Defense
Policy United States Air Force Academy / USA)

Dr. Kamran Taremi; (Tehran University/ Iran)

Prof. Dr. Mahir Nakip; (Erciyes University / Turkey)

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul

CONTRIBUTORS ............................................................................................XI
PREFACE............................................................................................................ 1
WELCOMING REMARKS .................................................................................3

Nurşin ATEŞOĞLU GÜNEY............................................................. 3
OPENNING REMARK ......................................................................................5

Güner ÖZTEK ................................................................................... 5
DAİMÎ ANAYASANIN TEMEL HATLARI......................................................9

Ghazi Faisal MEHDI ........................................................................ 9
DEMOCRACY IN NEW IRAQ ........................................................................ 15

Adel ABDULSALAM ....................................................................... 15
CURRENT POLITICAL PROCESS IN IRAQ ................................................ 29

Oraib AL-RANTAWI ....................................................................... 29
SYSTEM IN IRAQ ............................................................................................ 43

Dina S. SHEHATA .......................................................................... 43
TURKEY AND IRAQ: CHALLENGES OF TRANSITION ........................... 51

Meliha BENLI ALTUNIŞIK............................................................. 51
AND BEYOND................................................................................................. 59

Thomas S. MOWLE......................................................................... 59
IRANIAN FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS IRAQ 2003-2005 ........................ 97

Kamran TAREMI ............................................................................ 97
THE IDENTITY OF KIRKUK .......................................................................105

Mahir NAKIP ................................................................................ 105
DISCUSSIONS .................................................................................................115
The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul

The Foundation of Middle East and Balkan Studies with the
Department of Political Science and International Relations organized a
conference under the title of “New Iraq” on 22 March 2005.

The participants who are all experts in their fields have come together
at this very important conference, so as to discuss the future of Iraq.

We considered the contributions of the conference participants highly
valuable in terms of providing an insight to the current problems of today’s
Iraq. For this reason, the conference papers are being decided to be published
in the format of proceedings. By this way, we hoped to encourage further
discussions in the field of international relations.

We would like to thanks to all the individuals involved in the
preparations of the conference.

Fuat Aksu - Nurşin Ateşoğlu Güney
The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul



Distinguished Guests

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all on behalf of the
Department of Political Science and International Relations of the Yıldız
Technical University.

Today, we will be discussing the future of Iraq. Since the Iraqi elections
of January 2005, the country’s political development and the role of the
coalition forces inevitably entered a new phase. Now, that the elections are
behind questions remain over whether they will pave way for security and
democracy in the future or cause even more instability and conflict in Iraq. At
the “New Iraq” conference today, the distinguished participants who are all
experts in their fields are expected to (i) discuss the various factors that can
worsen the current situation in Iraq and (ii) come up with policy
recommendations that could be help.

The current problems of Iraq (like; new Iraqi constitution, the future
status of Kirkuk, the legitimacy question, the problem of equal representation,
economic reconstruction of the country and such.) that are ahead of Iraqi

* Assoc. Prof. Dr.; Department of Political Science and International Relations-YTU.

Transitional Assembly quite serious and challenging. Unless these problems are
carefully tackled, the damage they would cause would be beyond repair.

Nearly, two years after the end of the Saddam’s regime, the security
situation in Iraq is not solved yet. The country still continues to be a place of
widespread criminality, violence and instability. The on-going insurgencies in
Iraq had become the major obstacle on the way rebuilding the country and
moving towards peace and stability.

So, the Iraq story that was hoped to end with the overthrown of
Saddam regime in 2003 is not over yet. On the contrary, there seems to be
along way to go.

A stable and secure Iraq surely serves at everyone’s interest in the
region and even beyond.

And, I hope that this meeting will produce some insight and solutions
to the problems of new Iraq.

Lastly, I would like to thank to our students and the members of
Political Science and International Relations Club, for their efforts and
contributions in the realization of this conference.

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul


Güner ÖZTEK*

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you all to the Conference on “New
Iraq” which is jointly organized by the Foundation for Middle-East and Balkan
Studies and the Yıldız Technical University. Today we shall discuss different
issues relating to this important area on the basis of first hand information and
valuable commentaries which will be provided by our distinguished

Regardless of various threats and violence perpetrated by the terrorists,
the holding of the general elections in Iraq on the 30th January 2005 and the
relatively strong participation around 60 % are important achievements. The
fact that the Iraqis of all ethnics groups and religious sects were able to cast
their votes freely to the candidates of more than 100 parties ranging from
monarchists to communists constitutes a significant example of democracy for

* Ambassador, Director of Foundation for Middle East and Balkan Studies-OBİV

the region. Securing a quota of 30 % for women in the future Parliament is
another meaningful feature of these elections.

The election shows the will of Iraqi people to take control of their own
destinies and their strong belief in democracy. Although the security situation is
the most pressing issue in the country, the determination of the people is a
victory over the forces of terror and anarchy.

The boycott of the elections by the majority of the Sunnis is a serious
shortcoming. This fact increased the representation of one segment of
population. So giving way to their over representation in the Transitional

Our earnest hope is that the Iraqi Sunni guerrillas dissociates
themselves from the foreign terrorists led by Al-Qaeda operating in Iraq and
they defend their aspirations and interests in a non violent way within the rules
of democracy. In my opinion, the Transitional Assembly has 3 basic and
delicate questions to deal with. The first is the place of the religion in the new
regime whether Iraq will be a theocratic state like Iran or an Islamist state with
a reference to the basic elements of Islam with non-religious leaders or simply a
secular state.

The second point is whether Iraq will be an unitary or federal or
confederal state and the level of the autonomy accorded to the federated states.
Let me remind that the territorial integrity and political unity of Iraq are utmost
importance for the countries of the region Developments leading to the
dismemberment of Iraq undermining the already existing delicate balance of
power can produce unpredictable dangerous consequences for the security and
the stability of the region.

The third point is the status of Kirkuk. Kirkuk where the Turkmen
came to establish themselves in the XIth Century is a multi-ethnic province


where almost all the segments of populations traditionally have coexisted. All
the population groups in Kirkuk have vested interest in the Province’s future.
No single community should be allowed to establish control or domination
over the others. Kirkuk should be, as in the past, the collective property of the
entire Iraq. The property and resettlement claims need to be fully addressed
according to the established mechanisms. Until then the “fait accompli” or
Manipulations aiming at moving of hundreds, of thousands of new settlers
should be stopped. The future status of Kirkuk should be determined within
the context of the new constitution also taking into consideration the vast
petroleum reserves which belongs to the entire Iraqi population.

Next step in the transitional process will be the drafting of the new
Iraqi constitution and the referendum. Transitional Administrative Law set 15
August 2005 as the deadline for the preparation of the new constitution, under
normal circumstances constitutional Referendum is to be held by October 15,
2005. Subsequently General Elections will be renewed no later than 15
December 2005 after which transitional arrangements and sovereignty will be
transferred to the elected Iraqi Legislative and the Government.

Preparation of the constitution requires a true effort for national
reconciliation. The groups in the Assembly have to move beyond the ethnic
and sectarian interests and uphold the interests of the whole nation. To this end
certain measures can be taken such as selection of a respectable Sunni Arab for
one of the high state posts, like the Vice-President, inclusion of Sunni figures in
the new government, substantial participation of Sunni experts in the drafting
process of the constitution, gradual reintegration of the civil servants and
officers who had not committed crimes during Saddam regime.

Equal attention must be given to ensure the protection of the rights
and interest of the Turkmen as well as the other groups.


The consolidation of a stable and democratic state in Iraq can srve as a
model for the region to broaden democratic developments the momentum of
January elections is already felt in the region. The developments in Palestine,
Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and in the Gulf Countries are precursory signs
for a change for better.

The failure in Iraq will not only produce a major setback for
democratic system but no doubt will give way to the destabilization of the
whole region by strengthening the terrorist groups and increasing their prestige.
Then, Iraq will become global center of terror and radical Islam as well as a
secure base for their subversive activities. This is why all the countries should
help Iraq to overcome the difficulties it is encountering in the development of
democratic process and the establishment and strengthening of the key national
institutions as the national army, police, political parties, civil societies.

Turkey has historical, cultural, economic and commercial links with
Iraq. It is maintaining close relations with all segments of the Iraqi people,
supporting the steps taken by Iraq establishing a democratic regime reassuring
its national unity and territorial integrity.

I am certain that this day in Istanbul will bring forth fruitful discussions
and will lead to concrete results.

With these thoughts in mind, I would like to wish you all every success
in your deliberations.

Thank you for your attention.

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul


Ghazi Faisal MEHDI**

Sözlerimize başlarken, ülkemiz sorunlarının ele alınması ve yaşadığımız
krizin doğal ve doğru bir mecrada aşılması için değerli katkılarını eksik etmeyen
Ortadoğu ve Balkan Araştırmaları Kurumu'na, Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesi’ne ve
siz sayın akademisyenlere teşekkür ediyoruz.

Dostlar! Hepinizin tanık olduğu gibi ülkemizdeki seçimler son derece
ağır şartlar altında yapılmıştır. Ancak mevcut standartlar göz önüne alındığında
gayet başarılı geçtiği söylenebilir. Geçici hükümeti kurma ve daimî anayasanın
taslağını hazırlama görevini omuzlarına alacak ulusal meclis bu seçimler
neticesinde ortaya çıkmıştır.

Hazırlanacak olan daimî anayasa, Irak halkının tarihî misyonunun, âdet
ve geleneklerinin; ahlakî değerlerinin ve siyasi olgunluğunun açık bir ifadesi
olmalıdır. Müstakbel anayasamız, Iraklıların inandığı ve savunduğu hukuk
nosyonunun somut ifadesi olarak özünde şu temel nitelikleri içerebilmelidir:

The presentation is in Arabic and simultaneously translated from Arabic to Turkish. We would
like to thank to Mr. A. Sait Aykut for his valuable contribution for translation the paper from
Arabic to Turkish.
Konuşma Arapça yapılmış ve simultane olarak Türkçe’ye çevirilmiştir. Konferansın Arapça-
Türkçe simultane çevirisine katkıları ve Arapça metnin Türkçe’ye çevrilmesindeki yardımları için
Sayın A. Sait Aykut’a içtenlikle teşekkür ederiz.
Dr.; Dean of the College of Law Al-Nahrain University /Iraq
Ghazi Faisal MEHDI

1- Anayasa Irak'ın toprak ve ulus bütünlüğünü korumalı, federasyon
değil üniter devlet modeline sadık kalınarak “yerinden yönetim”
(desantralizasyon; el-lâ merkeziyye) ilkesiyle idare edilen bir devlet olduğunu
vurgulamalıdır. Çünkü federasyon esasına dayalı bir devletin ana unsurları
ülkemizde henüz teşekkül etmemiştir. Maalesef şu an geçiş dönemini yaşayan
Irak idaresi, Kürt kardeşlerimize hak ettiklerinden daha fazla yetkiler
bahşetmiştir. Üstelik Kürdistan mıntıkasını, federal sistemi esas alan devletlerde
dahi bir benzeri bulunmayan salahiyet ve ayrıcalıklarla donatarak federal bir
bölge saymıştır. Bu yetki ve ayrıcalıkların, somut ihtiyaçları karşılamak için değil;
sabık rejimin amansız zulmünden ötürü Kürt kardeşlerimizin içinde biriken
korku ve endişeleri dağıtmak amacıyla verildiğini sanıyoruz. Fakat
unutulmamalıdır ki geçmişte yaşanan işkence ortamının kurbanları yalnız
Kürtler değil tüm Iraklılardır. Çünkü sabık rejim, ya doğrudan silah dayayarak ya
da -çeşitli suçlamalar vesilesiyle- dolaylı yollar kullanıp altı milyon Iraklıyı
katletmiştir! Bu öldürülenler sadece Kürt değildi; Araplar, Arap olmayanlar,
Müslümanlar, gayrimüslimler, Sünnîler ve Şîîler… Her mezhep ve her etnik
gruptan kurban verildi o dönemde. Açıkçası, Irak’ın güneyinde insanın kanını
donduran toplu mezar görüntüleri, Halepçe katliamından daha vahşiyanedir. Bu
mezarlarda birçok insan diri diri gömülmüştür! Böyle ağır işkence ve katliamlara
maruz kaldıkları ve hâla karanlık geçmişin meşum gölgesi altında endişeyle
kıvrandıkları için güneydeki Şîîlerin de hak etmedikleri kadar geniş idarî yetki ve
ayrıcalıklarla donatılmaları mı gerekecektir?

Federal idare sisteminin bilimsel temellere dayanması ve gerçek
ihtiyaçlara cevap vermesi gerekir; yoksa sözüm ona bir takım mevhum
korkuların tetiklemesiyle baş tacı edilecek bir sistem değildir federalizm. Biz,
federalizmin terk edilmesi gerektiğini ve en üst seviyede akılcı esaslara bağlı bir
“yerinden yönetim” fikrini savunuyoruz. Ancak bu yolla tüm gücün başkentte
toplanmasının önüne geçebilir; yerel idare yetkilerinin tamamen vatandaşlara
verilmesini sağlayabiliriz.


2- Eski rejimin çöküşüyle iş bitmedi; geçmişte eşi benzeri görülmemiş
hâdiseler yaşandı. Çünkü ırkçı, aşırı milliyetçi ve etnik temele dayalı ayrılıkçı
hareketlerin kendini temize çıkarma girişimi baş gösterdi; üstelik bu hareketler
bazı çevreler tarafından hararetle desteklendi. Ayrıca yeni idarede çeşitli görev
ve makamlar çok tehlikeli bir kriter olan “karşılıklı paylaşım” esasına göre
dağıtıldı. Şimdi bize düşen görev, kin ve nefrete yol açan bu durumun ortadan
kaldırılıp “iyi vatandaşlık” ölçüsünün tüm vatan sathına hâkim kılınmasıdır.
Görev ve makamlar sadece kabiliyet ve yeterlik esasına göre dağıtılmalı, başka
türlü bir değerlendirmeye itibar edilmemelidir. Daha geçici hükümeti kurma
aşamasındayken “Şu görev Arab’ın, bu makam Kürd’ün, şu bakanlık Şîîlerin
öteki Sünnîlerin…” dememeliyiz. Açıkçası, bu ve benzeri ifadeler, kurulmakta
olan yeni devletin temeline kibrit suyu dökmek anlamına gelmektedir.

3- Bilindiği gibi Irak’ta çeşitli ırka, dine, etnik gruba ve mezhebe
mensup topluluklar; kısaca azımsanamayacak sayıda azınlıklar bulunmaktadır.
Anayasanın amacı, bu grup ve toplulukların hepsine eşit haklar tanımaktır. Bu
eşitlik hiçbir gerekçeyle delinmemelidir. Vatandaşlarımız, devlet dairelerinde
mensup oldukları etnik köken veya dinî grup göre değil “Irak vatandaşlığı”
esasına göre muamele görmelidir. Irak halkının ezici çoğunluğu Müslüman
olduğundan; anayasa, yeni yasa tekliflerinde İslâm’ı temel kaynak kabul etmeli,
ayrıca İslâm, “devletin resmî dini” olarak deklare edilmelidir. Ancak bu durum
Müslüman olmayan vatandaşları etkilememelidir; çünkü onlar her şeyden önce
Irak vatandaşıdırlar.

4- Iraklılar, son 35 yıl boyunca modern zamanlarda eşi benzeri
görülmemiş bir istibdat ve zulüm dönemi yaşadılar. Kardeşler! kendi halkının
dörtte birini hunharca katleden; diri diri gömen ve öz vatandaşlarını en ağır
işkencelerden geçiren bir rejim duydunuz mu? Bu gerçekler güneş gibi açıktır ve
hiçbir gerekçeyle gizlenemez ama “üzüm yeme değil bağcıyı dövme peşinde
koşan” boş tenkitçiler bu acıları hiç zikretmiyor. O hâlde yeni Anayasa,

Ghazi Faisal MEHDI

gerekirse en sert önlemleri alarak bireylerin haklarını en üst düzeyde korumalı,
hürriyetlerini garanti etmelidir. Anayasa “eşyada aslolan mübahlıktır” ilkesini
tanımalıdır. Daha açık bir şekilde ifade etmek gerekirse vatandaş tüm hak ve
özgürlükleri sonuna kadar kullanmalı, ancak “kamu yararının korunması” söz
konusu olduğunda -gerektiği kadar ve çizgiyi aşmadan- kısıtlamalar yapılmalı ve
bu durum yasalarla belirtilmelidir.

Fakat yasaların ve özgürlüklerin kâğıt üzerinde yazılmış olması yeterli
değildir ve aslâ sadra şifa olamaz! Daha da önemli olan, bu hak ve özgürlükleri
daima garanti edecek şartların oluşturulmasıdır. Açıkçası, hükümet veya
hükümete mensup hiç bir yetkili, kanunen bildirilmiş özgürlük ve haklara
tecavüz etmemelidir.

5- Sabık rejim, yetkilerin tümünü bir kişinin yani devlet başkanının
elinde toplamıştı. Devlet başkanı, yasama organının ta kendisiydi, onun iradesi
kanundu. Ayrıca, yürütme organına da tamamen hâkimdi. Siyaset biliminde
çokça bahsi geçen bir mütearifeden; yani “güçler ayrılığı” ilkesinden bahsetmek
anlamsızdı sabık rejimde. Devletin tüm organları başkanın parmak işaretlerine
bakıyordu; kendi atadığı görevliler ise sadece piyondular, kuklaydılar.

Iraklılar bu karanlık sayfaları sonsuza dek kapatmak için karar verdiler.
Şimdi güçler ayrılığı ilkesini benimseyen; yetkilerin tek bir odakta toplanmayıp
en geniş kapsamda dağıtılmasını esas alan ve tüm renkleriyle totaliter eğilimlerin
önünü kesen demokratik bir sistemin oluşmasını sabırsızlıkla bekliyorlar.
Dolayısıyla, yeni anayasa “güçler ayrılığı” prensibini mutlaka yansıtmalı. Ancak
söz konusu ayrım, her türlü kayıttan uzak olmamalıdır; yasama, yürütme ve yargı
diye tanımladığımız bu üç güç arasında karşılıklı koordinasyon ve denetimi
sağlayabilecek idarî iskeletin inşa edilmesi gerekmektedir. Daha açık bir ifadeyle,
yasama gücü, yürütme gücünü denetleyip gerektiğinde ona verdiği garanti ve
güveni geri çekerek onu istifaya zorlayabilmelidir. Yargı gücü ise, yasama
gücünü denetleyip onun çıkardığı hukukî metinleri inceledikten sonra özünde


anayasaya aykırı düşen yasa ve kararnameleri iptal edebilmelidir. Yargı gücü aynı
zamanda yürütme gücünün tüm işlerini denetleme hakkına da sahip olmalıdır.
Böylece “kendi başına, başıboş davranma” diye nitelendirilecek
hukuksuzlukların önüne geçilir; “yasaya uygunluk ilkesi” en üst düzeyde
korunur ve devlet hem fiilen hem de teorik olarak kanun devleti hâline gelir.

6- Iraklılar, zülüm ve işkencenin bıraktığı izleri silebilmiş değillerdir. Bu
tedirginlik, sabık hukuk ihlallerinin tekrar yaşanmaması için gerekli olan araçları
talep etme hakkını onlara vermektedir. “Yarı doğrudan demokrasi”nin*
seçmenlere verdiği idarî araç ve prosedürler sayesinde; birey hukukunun devlet
karşısında korunması, gerektiğinde halkın referanduma gidebilmesi, itiraz
edebilmesi, teklif sunabilmesi; kısaca vatandaşın gerçek otoriteye sahip olması
sağlanmıştır. Ayrıca devlet başkanını görevden alma ve parlamentoyu feshetme
gibi yetkiler de halka verilmiştir. O halde yeni anayasanın bu araçların tümüne
veya bir kısmına sahip çıkması gerekmektedir; “güçler ayrılığı” prensibine ancak
böyle riayet edilebilir.

Bu saydıklarımız daimî anayasanın ana hatlarını özetlemektedir. Sizin
değerli görüş ve gözlemlerinize açığız. Sağduyu ve iyiniyet esasları çerçevesinde
sizden gelecek her türlü öneri bizi ancak memnun eder. Bizi dinlediğiniz için
teşekkür eder, yaşamınızı insan toplumlarının erişebileceği en yüksek refah,
huzur ve güven ortamı içinde sürdürmenizi yüce Allah’tan niyaz ederiz.

Selam ve dua ile.

Allah’ın rahmeti ve esenliği hepinizi kuşatsın.

Metindeki Arapça ifade; “ed-Dimuqrâtıyye şibhi’l-Mübaşire”dir. Bu terim, “half-direct
democracy” teriminin Arapçaya çevrisidir; Türkçeye “yarı dolaysız demokrasi” veya “yarı
doğrudan demokrasi” gibi karşılıklarla çevrilebilir. Bilindiği gibi bazı uzmanlar İsviçredeki
kantonal sistemi, temsilî demokrasi (indirect democracy) veya eski Yunan sitelerinde uygulandığı
sanılan doğrudan demokrasi (direct democracy) kavramları altına sokmayarak “half-direct
democracy” tanımı altında ele almaktadırlar. İnternette konuyla ilgili verimli bir tartışma için bkz. (çevirenin notu)

Ghazi Faisal MEHDI

The Main Features of the Permanent Constitution

After the successful elections in Iraq and the selection of the people
deputies, the main task of the assembly is writing a draft of the permanent
constitution by 15.8.2005. This constitution should express the hopes of the
Iraqis and their ambitions. It should unite them and guide them to the right way

As far as we are concerned, the permanent constitution should bear the
following features:

1. It should emphasize the unity of Iraq and adopt pluralism and
democracy as its essential approach. It should follow the procedure of
distributing the authorities on the basis of administrative decentralization in its
utmost degree in a way which guarantee the participation of all the citizens in
administrating their affairs.

2. The constitution should recognize the rights and public freedom for
all the citizens. It should not permit its restriction but only on the ground of a
certain interest and within the law limits.

3. The constitution should include the separation of the three powers
and establish a monitoring system on the constitutionality of laws and other
legislations. It should not consider the sovereignty act as an exception on the
principle of legitimacy.

4. The constitution should implement effective means to monitor the
acts of the executive power and enable the national assembly and the citizen to
stop the assault against the rights and public freedom as well as the trespassing
on the provisions of law.

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul



The post-Saddam Iraq situated on the utmost north eastern borders of
the Arab World, but in the heart of the oil-gas producing Asian countries, with
its very old complicated history harbours one of the Middle Eastern mosaic
nations, composed of ethnically, linguistically, spiritually and culturally mixed
diverse population. The collapse of the Saddam regime on 14.4.2003 has not
led yet, after about two years, neither to democracy nor to stability and order. It
is impossible to understand the recent and future situation in Iraq without
taking the complicated structure and nature of this nation in account.

De facto domestic composition structure of the Iraqi nation

The main peculiarity of the population of Iraq is the complicated
diversity, and variety. The Iraqis are composed of more than five ethnic native,
and indigenous groups (Arabs 80 % of the population, Kurds 15 %,
Turkmenians 3-4 % and 1-2 % for, Assyrians, Chaldeans and others). From
earliest times, Mesopotamia has attracted many waves of emigrants from

* Prof. Dr.; Syria
The views expressed in this paper are those of the author alone. They do not necessarily reflect
views of the Syrian official point of view.

various parts of the Old World, especially from central Arabia during the
seventh century A. D. and later, and from Persia (later Iran) in the Islamic
period and in recent decades. Last remnants of very few Armenian families
live in Mosul and Baghdad, and rests of Circassian emigrants still live in some
villages in the vicinity of Zakho and north of Kirkuk. Hence, Arabs and Kurds
are the main ethnic bulks in Iraq.

Representatives of these different ethnic groups follow different
religions, many confessions and sects, which complicate the structure of the
Iraqi population more and more. The main religions are Islam 95 % , with two
major Islamic confessions, and several small sects, and Christianity 4 % with
many Christian confessions.

The Islamic sects in Iraq are:

The Shi’i Muslims (2/3 of the whole Muslims in Iraq ). Followers of
the this sect are mainly Arabs, small groups of Kurds, Turkmenians and
Iranians. Who live in the south eastern and southern regions. They also form
more than 70 percent of the population of the capital Baghdad, settled mainly
in the poor quarter known as "As-Sadr City, ex- Saddam City", and al-
Kazimiyah quarter.

On the contrary to the common belief, that the Shi’ is form a
consolidated political unity, they can be divided in post-Saddam Iraq into three
major political groups:

1- the national Iraqi Shi’is, who look for a democratic, national united,
free country.

2- the pro-Iranian Iraqi Arab Shi’is, who wish to see Iraq as an
extension of Iran and its Islamic revolution. Or at least as theocratic state with
Shi’i majority.

3- the Shi’is , who look for a secular-democratic and national Iraq.


Many Arab states, Sunni Muslims and foreign Christian countries,
Including the U. S.A. are anxious and afraid of a pro-Iranian Shi’i- Iraqi’s
success to establish a theocratic Shi’i state in southern Iraq, backed by Iran and
Shi’is of the gulf Arab countries. These fears have been declared by Abdullah II
king of Jordan, who expressed his fears of a possible “Shi’i Crescent” extending
from Iran to south Lebanon.

The Sunni Muslims (1/3 of the Muslims of the country). Their
followers include the Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmenians. They live in northern
parts of Iraq (Kurds and Turkmenians), and in western and south western
regions, and along the middle valley of Al-Furat river (Arabs).

In addition to these tow big Islamic sects, there are several small sects,
like the Yezidis, Kaka’is, Shabaks, Lurs (Fili Shi’is), and the Sabians. Beliefs of
these sects are mainly mixtures of some old Asian pagan superstitions, and
beliefs from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Generally speaking, these sects
have secret rites, and are ambiguous and mysterious. But in spite of the variety
of these sects. The number of their followers is too small in comparison with
the tow big Islamic sects. Accordingly, their political and social influence is
limited, but not totally absent.

The Iraqi inhabitants are mainly of tribal origin, even dwellers of the
cities belong to different Arabic, Kurdish, and Turkmenian tribes, or they are
members of big extended families. Big tribes are divided into sub-tribes and
smaller clans. Consequently, number of tribes and sub-tribes in Iraq are more
than several hundreds, which reveals the social and ethnic complicated heritage
of the Iraqis.

In addition to that, all members of every tribe and extended family are
not, always, members of the same religion and sect. There are tribes whose
members follow more than one sect, and rarely more than one religion. There


are Sunni-Shi’i Arab and Kurdish tribes, as well as mixtures of sectarian and
tribal groups among the small tribes and sects.

Members of any tribe, sub-tribe, or extended families and members of
the above mentioned ethnic and sectarian groups can be considered as
fanatically enthusiastic. Their fanatical behavior reflexes the Arabic proverb:
“Me and my brother against my cousin, me and my cousin against the stranger”, in all
cases: fair or unfair.

It is well known that all ethnic, sectarian and tribal Iraqi groups, and
others outside the ruling group suffered from the reign of terror of Saddam’s
regime and his equally sadistic collaborators, backed by Arab Sunnis and his
clan members. The Saddamists showed no mercy to their native people, even to
their own relatives and members of their own tribes, who dared to criticize
their idol ruler and his assistants, and their arbitrary policy

All these above mentioned complicated problems and very sensitive
issues, face Iraqi politicians and legislators, who are going to lay foundations of
a new constitution for a new democratic state. Not to mention economic, social
problems, and destructive local and regional results of wars made by the former
regime against Iraq's neighbor states, even against domestic local Iraqi people.

Democracy in Iraq, is it possible?

Democracy in Iraq cannot be a copy of any imported democracy. It
must be suitable for a typical oriental nation with special social peculiarities. A
Democracy, which should take all the above mentioned considerations and
their confusions and obscurities in account. Legislators and members of
committees, who are going to lay foundations for a new democratic
constitution of Iraq, have to devote particular attention to huge and
innumerable difficulties and issues, and have to find agreeable solutions,


acceptable by the majority of the Iraqi people, who will go to any referendum
ballot box.

Iraqis today are liberated from fear and frightening, they feel free on
their land, in spite of the terror, liberation actions, and slaughtering of innocent
persons exercised daily by suicidal attackers and merciless kidnapers, on the
pretence of resistance against U.S.A and U.K. troops, to liberate Iraq from
occupation foreign forces.

The different Iraqi groups in post-elections Iraq, must struggle for a
“Democratic, united, multi-national and independent new Iraq”, far from
looking for foreign help or assistance. The “Iraqi Identity” of every citizen,
regardless of his race, religion, sect, tribe, family and region, is the collective
security for a new united, and acceptable democratic state.


But the question is, can the Iraqis forgive and forget?

Can the peaceful coexistence replace hatred, antipathy, and revenge?

Tow big question, the time and the future can answer them. Some
events show positive tendencies, concerning tolerance. But there are also
negative tendencies, which express fears and distrust.

The Shi’is celebrated last month “Ashura day, the anniversary of
Husain’s martyrdom at Kerbela in Iraq”, likewise the Mandaean Sabians, who
celebrated last week (18.3.2005) their “Five white days of Creation” after
decades of prevention and prohibition. Tolerant attitudes of non Shi’i groups to
such demonstrations of identities, can liberate all followers of different Iraqi
population groups from their traditional types of fanaticism, especially racial,
religious and sectarian fanaticism. In accordance with that, the same can be said
concerning anniversaries of Kurds, Turkmenians, Christians and all other
communities and nationalities of Iraq.

There are also discussions and negotiations about appointment of a
Kurd as president, and a Shi’i as minister president. Such ideas were taboo in
Iraq, and are still taboo in the Arab World.

On the other hand, the Sunni Arabs in the post- Saddam Iraq, lost
their power, and they will, practically, remain marginal in the future, in spite of
nominating one of them for the state’s president post, and despite of soothing
statements and guaranties, that Sunni Arabs, will participate with others in the
government, and will have their share in the power according to their number
of representatives in the National Assembly.

Nevertheless the Sunni Arabs, and relatively high percentage of the
Iraqis are very anxious of efforts made by fanatic, even moderate Shi’i parties,
to establish a theocratic state in Iraq. Similar to the Iranian type. Such state is,
and will be rejected from all Sunnis overall the world, and from all Arab


countries as well the Christian world. Such step will exaggerate terrorism, and
will lead to very sever tensions, and even to a possible civil sectarian war in the

On the other hand, initial significant steps towards democracy have
been already made. First of all was the abolition of the "one-party's rule", and
the permission to establish, officially and freely, several political parties. The
second step was the elections of January 2005. The third step on the way is to
lay foundations of a new democratic constitution, followed by general elections
of a permanent National Assembly, and a new republican united democratic

Belonging to a democratic homeland, and to be a member of a native
and united national state, makes the Iraqis feel free, and aware, even proud of
their identities, without any kind of suppression, or persecution. But realizing
such hopes and expectations requires time and patience, accompanied by
mental, social, behavioral national and public consciousness, and first of all:
needs the mutual understanding and agreement among the political parties and
public blocks, without foreign interventions.

The Kurdish question

Political observers speak about splitting Iraq into several small states. in
accordance with the main ethnic, religious and sectarian groups. There are
different suggestions and expectations concerning dividing the country into
three states (Kurdish in Iraqi Kurdistan, Arab Sunni in Central and Eastern
Iraq, and Arab Shi’i state in southern Iraq), or into five cantons. Such projects
of mini states are a kind of mine fields in the heart of the eastern flank of the
changing Middle East. The old-new dispute about the ownership of Kirkuk is
only one of the recent problems. Therefore it is necessary to discuss the
Kurdish question, and look at the demands of Kurds to establish a federal, self-
ruled territory in Iraqi Kurdistan, inside a national democratic new Iraq.


As it is well known, the Kurds suffered from devastating results of
their revolts for independence, against British, then against the Arab regimes in
Baghdad, before Saddam and during his regime. They paid for their revolt in
the 1980s between 150000-200000 dead. The Iraqi occupation of Kuwait led to
the loss of Kurdistan in 1991; hence, Kurdish self-rule in Kurdistan under U.S.
and British protection became de facto situation until the fall of Saddam. The
Kurds are indigenous and very old nation, still live in their homeland, in Turkey
(20 %), Iraq (15 %), Iran (8 %) and Syria (6 %), as well as Armenia (1,7 %) of
the population of these countries. The estimations of Kurds today are between
20-35 millions.

Naturally, Kurds in Iraq prefer to have their own free state. But the de
facto distribution of them in five sovereign and independent countries, which
have common borders with Iraq, makes it very difficult, even it is impossible
realizing such dream and intention. It is more reasonable for the Iraqi Kurds, at
least in the present time, to cooperate with the Arabs and Turkmenians to build
a new democratic Iraq, which guaranties all national, cultural and political rights
and identities of every citizen, with special privileges for Kurds concerning a
self-rule federation or confederation, within a democratic, united and national
Iraq. Every nationality of the three main nationalities of Kirkuk claims the city
as his own city. The Arabs and Turkmenians are afraid of subjunction of it to
Kurdistan. The Kirkuk crisis can cause sever clashes between Kurds and the
other nationalities.

Such conclusion will institute separate system of administration for
Iraqi Kurdistan, with facilities for the development of Kurdish culture. A
sovereign Kurdish state is not acceptable, not only in Iraq, but in the neighbor
countries, like Turkey, Iran and Syria.

However, and in spite of all problems, and complicated circumstances
of this transitional period of Iraq, we must take the geographical factor added


to the political, economical, social, human and historical issues, as well as the
main backgrounds considered by state policy makers, in account.

Generally speaking, most of the decision-makers, neglect intentionally
or inattentively a very important factor, which helps to create harmonious
society, in spit of its diversity and variety. This factor is “The Physical
Geographic Environment and Space”. Any reasonable person with private
racial, religious, regional, cultural and socio-economical identities and
backgrounds, can have mutual understanding and normal coexistence with
other people, who has different identities, if he lives with them in the same
geographical region, and share with them the same environment. Iraq consists
of two major geographical regions (The mountains and the low-lands), divided
into several smaller sub-regions, inside imposed political odd boundaries, drawn
by foreign powers after the First World War. Despite these borders, these
regions complete each other; accordingly, it will not be very difficult to build a
peaceful and democratic state for all groups of the Iraqi people, with the good
wills, and sincere true intentions.

To avoid dividing the country, and prevent a civil war in Iraq, tolerance
and forbearance against fanaticism, racialism, sectarianism and tribalism are, the
main fundamentals for a new Democratic United National Iraq. It is impossible
to have a neutral ruling regime in Iraq, accordingly there is no other way except
to become a Democratic State, if the Iraqis are earnest and serious to build a
real Democratic United National country.

The Strategic Role of new Iraq in the Great Middle East

Our expectations of the strategic importance of a new democratic,
non-arbitrary Iraq, will be mere estimations, because we are still unable to draw
a clear and semi acceptable total conception about post-elections state of Iraq.
Nevertheless, stable geographical fundaments of Iraq are still effective in the


strategy of the Middle East. The main constant fundaments of the geo-strategy
of the region are:

1) The geographical site and location of the land,

2) The demographic weight, and

3) The economical importance of the region as main producer and exporter
of energy (oil and gas), with important agricultural and natural resources
background, and skillful peasants and workers.

Iraq enjoys a significant geographical location in the eastern wing of
the Middle East. It is located in the center of four vast land-masses, namely:
The Iranian highlands in the east, The Arabian Peninsula in the south, Turkey
in the north, Syria and Eastern Mediterranean countries in the west.

These land-masses are inhabited by more than 275 300 000 souls (est.
2004), distributed in 14 states as follows:
Turkey 70 000 000
Iran 66 000 000
Syria 18 000 000
Lebanon 4 500 000
Palestine and (Israel) 10 000 000
Jordan 5 000 000
Saudi Arabia 22 000 000
Yemen 19 000 000
Oman 2 500 000
United Arab Emirates 3 500 000
Qatar 610 000
Bahrain 700 000
Kuwait 2 500 000
Iraq 23 800 000 (est. 2005)
These numbers reveal the demographic important position of Iraq as
the third populous country in the Eastern Middle East (without Afghanistan
and Pakistan, which are considered members of the Great-new-middle East).


Taking oil, gas, existing and projected or in construction pipelines in
the whole region as the most important basis of the economy of these countries
in account, Iraq enjoys a significant geographical and economical location, as a
central land between oil fields and energy sources, in the Middle East and the
Caspian Sea basin.

This strategic position will be supported and strengthened, by a
democratic united national state, with good, peaceful and equal mutual relations
with neighbor states, and mutual economic partnership to them and to the
world, as it is expected by the optimists. Consequently, new Iraq as a member


of the Middle Eastern (eastern wing) community will enjoy a very significant
economic, political and cultural position, in the visible future.


I think, Iraq will possess, in spite of all recent and possible difficulties
and criticism, a Parliamentarian and Democratic institutional state,. The
elections of January 2005 were the entrance to a new constitutional period,
which will lead to the general elections of the Iraqi National Assembly, with
representatives of political parties as well as independent members, without

Fulfillment such steps needs, as it is mentioned, time, patience and
persistence. Some steps can be also postponed in consideration of attitudes of
political groups, or feelings of wide circles of the population. The gaps between
the elapsed non-democratic times, and the expected new Iraq are still waiting to
fill. Every change and reform lives now a transitory period. All steps to
democracy must be prepared by long discussions in the mass media and public,
in order to avoid any kind of rejection caused by hastiness. An example of such
cases is the hasty decision to select Saturday as second official weekly holyday,
without any public preparation. Consequently demonstrations broke up in
Baghdad and other cities. In comparison with this, the abolition of Friday in
turkey, as the official weekly holiday and its substitution by Sunday in 1935 was
made after 6 years of preparations.

Nevertheless, obstacles on the way to Democracy in Iraq are still
threatening every change and reform step. Historical tensions between Sunnis
and Shi’is, as well as the tensions between Arabs and Kurds are still a part of
Iraqi life and politics. Not to mention tribal, social, regional tensions, which
effect the whole recent transitional situation of ex-Saddam’s Iraq.


Last but not least, the Iraqi issue is only one folder of the changing
“Great Middle East” issues, and must be discussed as a part of the whole
question. And we must remember that Saddam's Iraq was a military force
threatening its neighbours, and it can be a threatening exporter of non grata
democracy to them in the future!!!

Damascus- Marj As-Sultan, 20.3.2005

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul



The recent Iraqi parliamentary elections may in all standards be viewed
as a significant terminal along the path of Iraq and Iraqis’ departure from their
current crisis. These elections -which were carried out on their due date, the
end of January, 2005, and in which 60 per cent of Iraqi’s took part, regardless
of the prevailing security anarchy and terrorist threats -released a new
dynamism in Iraqi political life and one which is at once both difficult to stop,
or retract from its attainments.

From the perspective of many observers, the Iraqi elections have both
general and particular signs which we would like to touch upon briefly. Perhaps
their most significant aspect are that they have clearly reflected the longing of
Iraqis to rid themselves from the existing security chaos and the raging acts of
violence and terrorism; highlighted their yearning to build a new Iraq -
pluralistic, democratic, sovereign and independent; and reflected their desire to
administer their own affairs by themselves by virtue of a democratic process
and elected institutions. These general signs are not rendered less significant by
the fact that the elections took place under candid US occupation of Iraq

* General Director of Al Quds Centre for Political Studies /Jordan.

despite the said occupations’ disguise under the name of “Allied forces” or Multi-
national forces.

The particular signs of the Iraqi elections are expressed in terms of the
heavy turnout of Shi’i Arabs and Kurds and the almost total boycott of it by
Sunni Arabs. The Shi’i Arabs have been a “people of cause” in an election
campaign in which they have found their historical opportunity to rectify the
defects of their participation and representation, in the Iraqi state institutions.
The said defects date back to more than 80 years in Iraq’s modern history. In
fact, it may be said that Shi’i leaders -who had learnt their lesson well from the
elections on 1922 which they had boycotted during the British Mandate would
not have lost an opportunity which had not made itself available to them, for
over 14 centuries.

The Kurds, who had suffered from marginalization, ethnic cleansing
and collective punishment during the preceding Ba'thist regime, have succeeded
over more than a decade of time in establishing a home-rule regime enjoying a
high degree of independence. They have also succeeded within the sequence of
the preparative efforts for the war on Iraq, in the opposition conferences and
subsequently in the Provisional Ruling Council, and the State Provisional
Administrative Law in seizing recognition of most Iraqi parties of this
achievement; and consecrate it as a de facto in Iraqi political life as a preliminary
step to its subsequent consecration in the provisions of the Iraqi states
permanent constitution which is due to be indorsed before the end of the
current year 2005.

The Kurds would not have lost the opportunity to streamline their
achievements afforded to them by the recent election and put them into proper
use. Hence their heavy participation in the said elections wherein they attained
second position after the Shi’i list and in a manner enabling them to consecrate
their achievements on the ground in the northern region; and to effect


condensed representation in the federal/central organization of government
thereby enabling themselves to secure delimitation of Kurdistan’s boarders by
regaining, or incorporating, oil -rich Kirkuk and acquiring an acceptable share
of the fortune, in addition to securing the mobilization of their Paishmarga
forces in the ranks of the Iraqi army and the Iraqi security forces in accordance
with Kurdish terms and regulations.

Boycotting these elections by the majority of Sunni Arabs has casted
shadows of anxiety and fear from the consequences of deepening indigenous
divisions in Iraq. It is true that the elections were quite satisfactory in terms of
their terms and legal legitimacy; and it is equally true that they are lacking within
the province of their political quorum.

To the Sunni Arabs, and unlike the Kurds and Shi’i Arabs, the elections
were the harbinger of the beginning of a phase of emaciation and retreat.
Appealing to ballot boxes, the logic of the majority / minority aspect of things
and representation based on numbers and percentages of the total population
were bound to lead the Sunnis to relinquishing positions of authority and
influence which they have been used to exercise mastery over for decades now.
It is the Sunnis –or most them al least- who have not yet recovered from the
shock of war, the fall and the collapse of the Ba'thist regime.

The US decision to dissolve the Ba’ath party , disband the army and
security organizations and dismantling state departments has led to throwing
thousands of Iraqis into the streets leaving them prey to hunger, poverty and
unemployment. Anarchy and security chaos have given reign to act of vendetta,
settlements of scores, thefts and lootings which have not limit themselves to
state establishments alone but included persons and families mostly from
among the Sunnites.

Sunni Arabs -unlike their Shi’i counterparts who enjoy the patronage of
their Marja’iah (Religious Authority) regardless of their factions and trends, and


the Iraqi Kurds whose representation is nearly limited to two principal parties -
found themselves in the wake of the downfall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in a
state of straying. Their representation is disputed among several forces, parties
and authorities; and in their name, tens of factions and scattered groups, some
of whom are imported as it were from neighboring countries, speak.

What contributed to the consecration of this state of dispersion among
the Sunnis was the confluence between the campaign to eliminate the principal
figures of the previous regime and that of uprooting the Ba’ath party. In the
course of its implementation, the latter campaign touched thousands of Iraqis
who had found themselves once forced to join the Ba’ath party

One may argue that one of the main reasons for this state of Iraqi
Sunni dispersion and fragmentation has in fact been on account of the
dictatorial and totalitarian attitude embodied by the ex-Ba’ath regime. Such an
attitude undermined the internal political, and partisanship life and destroyed
civil society establishments. Consequently, and after four decades of totalitarian
rule, Iraqis were left with two establishments, namely the religious and tribal.
And no one survived the process of organized methodical destruction of
political life and civil society organizations except the Kurds in their safe haven
north of Iraq. There, the two principal Kurdish secular parties managed to
safeguard their existence and accumulated influence which enabled the Kurdish
movement to play a significant role in the wake of the collapse of the Ba’ath
regime, the process of power transfer and the process currently in progress in

Unlike the Shi’i sect wherein the religious authorities and “Ulema” and
their institutions playa political, cultural and social role, and even an economic
role too, in the life of Shi’i adherents, the Sunnis do not go along with the
theory of the religious authority, Al-Marja, or the Muqalid (follower) nor do
they grant their “Ulema” such a role. The Sunni Ulema body was established


after the fall of Baghdad. This stands vis a vis the Shi'i Hawzat whose activities
date back to hundreds of years. The influence of the said Sunni “Ulema Body”
remains limited while the impact of the Shi’i religious authority has had a
significant effect before, during and after the elections.

An observer of the political changes witnessed by the Sunni Arab
community in Iraq during the two years that followed the downfall of the
Ba’ath regime is bound to notice that the representation of the said Sunni Arab
community is divided among the following forces and main groups:

• The Senior Muslim “Ulema Body” enjoys a great moral weight. It is on
such an account that this Body has been able to interfere in many a crisis
(the hostages’ crisis for example) and contribute towards finding
settlements and solution to them. By virtue of its being based on the
influence of a network of Muslim clerics, mosques’ prayer -leaders and
protagonists, this Body maintains the ability to bear influence on certain
armed factions in Iraq.

• The Iraqi Islamic party. This party has sprung from the womb of the
Muslim Brotherhood League in Iraq and is considered an extension of it. It
is a political party with influence bases in the Sunni areas of Iraq. It has
taken part in the political process in its various pre-election stages. It found
itself forced to boycott the elections under pressure from Sunni Arab
public opinion whose majority favored the boycott.

• The Ba’ath party and the remaining bodies of the regime and its party and
security organizations. The party managed to pull itself together, gather up
its ranks and impose its influence in a number of living quarters and areas
in the wake of enrolling itself in violence such as liquidations and
assassinations that targeted army and security personnel as well as senior
Iraqi officials.


• The Jihadi Fundamentalist Movement. This body is an extension and a
diverse form of the Wahhabi sect. It was founded during the life time of
the Ba’ath regime which had kept a blind eye to its increasing activities, if
not encouraging it. This came in the wake of the second Gulf War wherein
the regime felt the need for counter-balancing the increasing influence of
Shi'i currents particularly after the 1991 uprising. Such a counterbalance
took the form of encouragement given to Sunni fundamentalist currents to
work in Iraq. The Movement is the incubator of all “Jihadi” organizations
including those of AI-Qa’ida, the Zarqawi group, Islamic Protagonists,
Sunni Protagonists and other organizations working now in Iraq. The
movement is further involved in carrying out terrorist and violent acts
against Iraqis and Americans, without distinction between military and civil
persons, and targets Shi’i and Christians.

• Tribal Leaders. They enjoy considerable influence within the tribal
structure in certain Iraqi areas particularly in Mosul and Anbar where heavy
Sunni concentration exists.

• Nationalist, Secular and Liberal Personalities and Parties. These elements
have regained their role and presence after the fall of the Ba'ath regime.
However, the recent elections demonstrated the weak influence of these
elements that succeed in gaining very few votes and seats in the Iraqi
National Assembly.

• Tens of organizations and movements both armed and political that sprang
in various locations and areas in Iraq. They number more than a hundred
and operate within Sunni communities claiming to be representatives of,
and spokesmen for, the said communities.

Such multitude of parties, organizations and authorities (Marj’iat) is not
peculiar to Sunni Arabs alone. They are present in the various demographic


constituents of Iraq. However, the absence of central currents and forces, or an
influential Marja’iah in respect of the Sunni Arab, has contributed to the
dispersion and weakened their effective role.

Us practices, both civil and military, have made difficult the emergence
of a more moderate and influential Sunni current. Under the slogan of
“uprooting the Ba’ath”, thousands of Iraqis were driven to hunger and destitute
and subsequently into the arms of resistance and terrorist movements. And
under the slogan of “combating terrorism” the lives and integrity of thousands
of Iraqis have been tampered with. These elements have not found their way to
political participation. Consequently, they have chosen the path of combating
occupation, and at times sought refuge in involving themselves in undertaking
retaliatory and vendetta acts.

With acts of resistance, violence and terror concentrating in the
predominantly Sunni Arab areas, media coverage spoke of the “Sunni
Triangle”, or “The Death and Resistance Triangle” to consecrate the reality of
the detachment of this group from the current political process.

Regional Repercussions

The Shi’i landslide victory in the recent Iraqi elections, and the
concomitant marginalization of the Sunni Arabs, together with the dwarfing of
the latter's role within the equation of the Iraqi internal forces equation, have
given rise to apprehensions from repercussions that might touch the stability
situation, civil peace and the balances of historical forces in a number of
countries in the region. Apprehensions have also arisen from the (probable)
consequences of Iraq turning itself into a bridge for increased Iranian influence
which might extend from the Gulf oil sources to the Israeli borders.

In reality, such apprehensions would not have surfaced, in such a
degree of force and hotness, if the Arab regimes had succeeded in remedying


the problem of minorities existing in all, or most, Arab countries and
communities. The failure of the Arab democratic reform agenda, and the
absolutism of “family and dictatorial” regimes, has kept the fire kindling under
the ashes of civil divisions in the Arab communities.

What contributed to the increase and the seriousness of the said
apprehensions has been Iran’s refusal, or that of its conservative and
revolutionary currents at least, to abandon the “theory of exporting the
revolution.” In fact, Iran has always announced candidly its readiness to play
the role of the “center” which would give help and sustenance to all Shi’i in the
surrounding countries. The said theory is the very one that has been tested in
Lebanon first and in post -occupation Iraq later.

Jordan has already warned against the danger of the emergence of a
“Shi’i Crescent” which would confuse the issues and historical balances in the
region. In so doing, Jordan has pointed to the Iranian meddling in Iraqi internal
affairs and the possibility of the corning to power in Baghdad of a pro-Iranian
current. Jordan, to be sure, was not attempting to stand against the Iraqi Shi’i
majority's right of participation in the elections and forming, or taking part in, a
new government.

In Bahrain, on the other hand, leaders of the Shi’i majority received the
tidings and results of the Iraqi elections with considerable satisfaction. Shi’i
movements in the tiny Kingdom began to revive actively in order to
consolidate their presence and political participation. They have also begun to
declare publicly ally their close ties with Shi’i Marj’iat in both Iran and Iraq, and
to echo their confidence in that the changes in Iraq in this respect are hound to
usher subsequent changes which would extend to Bahrain.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, moreover, has never in its history witnessed
revival of the Shi’i movement and demands in its Eastern Region in particular.
Nor have Saudi Shi’i ever seen before the degree of recognition of their own


peculiarity with which they have been confronted. News of their representation
in the national dialogue, and on local government election lists, as well as their
demands are strongly spreading on the Internet and in Saudi towns and cities.

In Lebanon, however, the attitudes of the two main Shi’i currents,
namely Hizbullah and Amal Movement, have been characterized by clear
pragmatism. Although neither of them hides its feeling of enmity to the USA,
where the matter concerns Syria and Lebanon none of them has criticized the
implicit alliance between the USA and the Shi'i currents in Iraq.

Now if the slogan of resistance and enmity vis a vis the “greatest devil”
happens to be Hizbullah’ s mean for keeping its weapon and safeguarding its
immense influence in Lebanon, Hizbullah will not mind ignoring the alliance of
the Shi’i in Iraq with the USA so long as this alliance remain the means that
would enable them to attain power.

These are undoubtedly significant developments with deep conflicting
indications and signs some of which are positive and consequently call for hope
and optimism, and the others are negative demanding caution and causes

The positive indications are the “awakening of minorities” in the Arab
world and their active endeavor to practice their own political, civil and cultural
rights on equal footing with the reminder of the citizens. The Shi’is of Iraq,
Lebanon, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and those of other countries in the same
region, are the citizens of these said countries with whatever consequent rights
and duties ensue from such citizenship. And as ethnic minorities -in certain of
these countries they are not they have cultural, religious and civil rights which
are due to be regained.

The cause for anxiety in the existing Iraqi and regional scene emanates
from the aggravation of foreign intervention in the affairs of this region; and


from the probability that certain Arab states and communities might be
transformed into arenas for the settlement of international and regional
accounts, and field for waging confrontations and wars by proxy among
regional states and international centers. Lebanon had paid an expensive bill for
this game in the past. It is not improbable that Iraq might pay similar costs for
the same game in the future, particularly in the event of the US Iranian conflict
aggravating against the background of Tehran's nuclear program.

A cause for anxiety also comes from the fears to return back to the
policy of alliances and pivots in the region. The united front between Syria and
Iran which was announced a few weeks ago is destined -if the confrontation
between the USA, on one side, and Syria and Iran, on the other side, were to
aggravate -to be transformed into a “Shi’i Crescent”, or “Arc of Crises”
particularly if the friends and allies of Tehran managed to hold the reins of
power in Iraq. It would be a front that would extend from Tehran to south
Lebanon via Baghdad and Damascus with supporting pockets in the Gulf. This
proposed political front finds a cultural and ethnic incubator to itself basically
expressed in terms of the Shi'i majority of the population of the said Arc's
countries including the regime of the Alawit minority of Syria which is bound
by religious ties with the Shi’i sect.

A “Road Map” for Iraq

The International community has no choice but to look for a
successful strategy for Iraq. This is so because the consequences of failure will
bring about very serious repercussions not only with respect to Iraq alone but
also with respect to the region as a whole. The repercussions of failure may
indeed extend to what is further than that, i.e. touching international peace and

I believe that the calls for “exit strategy” for the USA from the
Quagmire of Iraq, are irresponsible and only take into account the direct and


immediate interest of the USA, particularly the endeavor to minimize the
volume of human losses and military expenditure. We must bear in mind that
the USA has been the party that decided to wage war against Iraq its decision
did not spring from the womb of international legitimacy and Security Council
decisions. The Bush Doctrine of unilateralism” and preemptive and preventive
wars has been the ideological framework of the war on Iraq. The
transformations which have come to characterize the attitude of the US
administration in the US President’s second term of office do not excuse
Washington from its huge responsibilities vis a vis Iraq and the entire region.

I presume that a “Road Map” for Iraq must take the following
elements into consideration:

• Iraq must remain unified. The division of Iraq, in its known constituent
elements and their extensions to, and connections with, the neighbouring
countries, both Arab and regional, does not only increase the probabilities
of the outbreak of civil strife in it, but may well lead to its Balkanization
too. The division of Iraq, moreover, would sound the alarm in more than
one neighboring Arab or regional capital, particularly those of countries
that have ethnic and sectarian pluralism. It would also undermine the
efforts of minorities to demand their rights and increase the stubbornness
and obstinacy of majorities. Furthermore, it would provide many popularly
isolated regimes with a justification to tighten their repressive grip on their
peoples under the pretext of defending the unity of their respective
countries. Opposite all this, a united, democratic and politically pluralistic
Iraq can alone offer an impellent and inspiring model to other countries
and communities to venture into the throng of democracy, pluralism,
federalism and decentralization.

• The reconstruction of Iraqi state organizations must be expedited,
particularly the military services, and security ones. Expediting the ways to


reconstruct Iraq’s economy must also be undertaken. All this constitutes a
short cut to control the prevailing anarchy and security chaos; isolate
extremist currents and dry up their human resources; and combat
terrorism. This must be accomplished in accordance with concentrated
time-tables, and with considerable transparency.

• The building of the institutions of the new Iraqi state, both civil and
military, is considered a preface for the evacuation of US and multinational
forces in accordance with an agreed -upon time table thereby allowing the
Iraqis to see a light at the end of the tunnel; assuring the Iraqi people that
occupation is not perennial in Iraq; expediting and revitalizing power
transfer, building institutions and effecting reconstruction; and ensuring a
wider participation by the Iraqis in determining their fate and future.

• And if post-Saddam Iraq has transcended the probabilities of a return to
totalitarian dictatorship, efforts must be made to work together to
circumvent its falling prey to a religious totalitarianism that may be shaded
by an “autocratic majority” that does not take notice of the rich diversity
and plurality of the Iraqi community. Iraq’s permanent constitution, due to
be compiled and voted upon, shall provide the opportunity ensuring that
the rights of all Iraqis are maintained and safeguarded. Maintained and
safeguarded also would be the bases for constituting constitutional powers,
their balances and terms of reference in a manner that prevents one group
from dominating another. It is from this point that emphasis must be laid
on the significance of Arab Sunni participation in formulating the
constitution despite the absence of their appropriate representation in the
National Assembly in consequence of their boycotting the elections.

• And from here too springs the need to activate the dynamics of
participation in the Iraqi political order; and to contain the Arab Sunnis in


the said dynamics. At this juncture, the following elements of the required
containment process must be observed:

1. The “General mood” of Arab Sunnis has undergone change after the
elections. Large sections of them, including members of the Muslim “Ulema
Body”, the Islamic party and national, liberal and tribal personalities, in addition
to a wide section of old Ba’thist have come to realize the volume of the mistake
involved in their boycotting the elections. Consequently, they have entered into
preliminary dialogues with certain Iraqi forces. Accordingly, there are some
encouraging signs to the effect that the year-end elections may witness a more
earnest Sunni Arab participation.

2. Sunni Arab must participate in the ongoing process through influential
forces and persons irrespective of their ideological and political orientations
and the nature of their attitude to the US presence in Iraq. This is not on
account of the fact that the Sunni Arab majority in three Iraqi governorates,
namely Al-Anbar, Mosul and Salah Al-Din, has, by virtue of the State
Provisional Administrative Law, the power of veto over the constitution, but
on account of the fact that endorsement of the constitution must be
concordant; enjoying the backing of a tangible Iraqi majority; distant from any
form of pressure or corrosion; and away from any exclusion or exception.

3. Differentiation must be made between terrorist factions taking the
Arab Sunni milieu as a vital sphere for their influence and operations and the
majority of Iraqi Sunni Arabs. And the remaining Sunni Arab forces in Iraq
must be neutralized and won over; and consequently they must not be deemed
guilty for the misdeed of extremist elements.

4. Differentiation must also be made between Iraqi resistance to US
occupation and organized blind terrorism. Certain Iraqi forces and factions
believe in the option of resisting occupation. They are concerned with the


future of Iraq. Dialogue with them is not only possible but a must in order that
the extremist, fundamentalist and terrorist force may be isolated.

5. Such measures may contribute to dismantling the boycott front that
has hitherto included the greatest Sunni Arab majority. Such measures may also
contribute to isolating the impact of the extremist and fundamentalist forces.
Without the said measures, a quarter of the Iraqi population would be left prey
to the said forces, as had happened during the last two years during which
period the US forces did not always succeed in distinguishing between the
constituents of the political specter of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs on the one hand
and the various armed groups operating in Sunni midst.

6. There are regional roles which may be undertaken by several Arab and
Islamic states for encouraging Iraqi Sunni Arabs to participate (in the political
process); instituting dialogues with them; prompting them to form their party
and political frameworks; and rescuing them from the claws of the more
extreme forces. It is in this area that countries like Jordan and Saudi Arabia can
offer their contributions.

7. It is incumbent upon the international community to open channels of
communication and dialogue with representatives of the Sunni Arabs, including
ex-Ba’thists whose hands are not stained with blood of Iraqis, and some
resistance organizations from outside the squadrons of fundamentalist and
terrorist movements. We have witnessed such channels in operation but they
were mostly involved in releasing hostages, or ensuring the settlement of a
transient affair. Such dialogue and communications and their topics need to be
institutionalized to serve the aim of involving Sunni Arabs, and containing
them, in a single democratic process for the sake of the future of peace and
security in Iraq.

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul



1. The fall of the Saddam Regime and the Problem of Sunni
marginalization and representation

The collapse of the Ba’ath regime on April 9, 2003 had a devastating
impact on the Arab Sunni population of Iraq. The Arab Sunni population was
the most privileged segment of the population under the rule of Saddam
Hussein. Arab Sunnis constituted the principle base of support for the Ba’ath
party and depended heavily on state institutions as a primary source of
employment. The fall of the regime, the dismantling of the Baath party, and the
dissolution of the military and the security apparatus and of most state
ministries created serious problems for the future of Iraq and especially for the
future of the Sunni Arab population of Iraq the most important of these being:

- A widespread feeling of marginalization and exclusion: Sunni
Arabs have experienced an overwhelming feeling of marginalization in the
post-Saddam Iraq. They fear the emergence of Shiite dominated Iraq in which
the Sunni Arabs occupy a marginal position. They also feel that they are being
blamed by Shiites and Kurds for the perils of the Saddam Era.

Dr.; Researcher, Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies / Egypt.

- Unemployment: unemployment levels are said to the highest among
Sunni Arabs. Some have estimated a 70% unemployment rate among the Sunni
Arab population of Iraq. Sunni Arabs were the most dependent among Iraqis
on state employment. Most of those affected by the decision to dissolve the
military and the security and bureaucratic apparatus have been Sunnis.
Especially problematic has been the fate of hundred of thousands of armed
trained Iraqis who have defected during the course of the invasion or who been
fired by Paul Bremmer.

- A problem of political representation: The fall of the Saddam
regime and the systematic policy to dismantle the Baath party left the Sunni
Arab population of Iraq without political representation. Furthermore, the
Saddam regime has systemically purged any form of political opposition inside
Iraq. This left the Sunni Arabs at a considerable disadvantage vis-à-vis the
Kurds and Shiite population of Iraq both of whom have been able to develop
effective political movements both within and outside Iraq over the past two

All of these factors help explain the growth of violent resistance among
the Sunni Arab population of Iraq. There is wide spread agreement that the
resistance in Iraq is mostly an Arab Sunni Phenomena. It consists primarily
from former personnel from the security and political apparatus but also from
Sunnis who resent the occupation and fear its consequences on the position of
Sunni Arabs in a Post-Saddam Iraq. The resistance also includes some non-
Iraqi fighters who came from abroad. These fighters are thought to be involved
in the suicide operations taking place in Iraq. However there is an opinion that
the bulk of the resistance is homegrown rather than imported.

The resistance seems to be motivated by a negative political agenda i.e.
by the desire to prevent to a new Shia dominated Iraq in which the Sunni Arabs


are marginalized from emerging. That explains why the resistance has often
been accused of having no political agenda.

2. New Sunni Groups and their demands

Since the fall of the regime two years ago, new groups have been
emerging and claim to represent the Sunni Arab population of Iraq. These
include the Association of Muslim Scholars, the Islamic party of Iraq, tribal
leaders from the Sunni areas (most have adopted a radical approach vis-à-vis
the occupation and are said to tacitly support the armed resistance but others
such Ghazi Elyawer have adopted a conciliatory approach) and finally some
secular politicians such as Adnan Bajaji also claim to represent the Sunni Arab
of Iraq. However, it remains unclear how much support any of these groups
specially the Association of Muslim Scholars and the Islamic party of Iraq enjoy
among the Sunni Arab population which they claim to represent especially
since most of the groups have chosen to boycott the January 30th elections.

The links between these groups and the resistance are unclear but they
are said to exist and there is a widespread belief that some of these groups
especially some of the tribal leaders and also the association of Muslim scholars
are able communicate with the resistance and that they can negotiate a
cessation of the violence if their demands are met. Some of these demands
were presented at a recent conference which brought together representatives
from most of the Sunni Groups including tribal leaders with links to the
resistance. The aim of the meeting was to reach a unified strategy for the post-
election period and the demands were as follows:

1. Setting a timetable for the withdrawal of American and multi-national

2. Rejecting the distribution of power along ethnic, racial or sectarian
lines and adopting a principle of equal citizenship. (It is worth noting


here that same prominent groups such as the Islamic party accept

3. Recognizing the legitimacy of the resistance and its right to resist
occupation while rejecting terrorism aimed against civilians, public
institutions and infrastructure, mosques and churches and sacred sites.

4. Considering the elections as lacking in legitimacy.

5. Adopting democracy and elections as the only means for the
alternation of power and working towards creating the proper
conditions for a transparent and fair political process under impartial
international supervision.

6. The release of prisoners and detainees held in the prisons of the
occupier and the interim government and putting an end to raids and
human rights violations.

7. The reconstruction of the destroyed Iraqi cities and just compensation
of their inhabitants.

So far the fundamental disagreement between Sunni Arabs and other
Iraqi groups namely the Shia and the Kurds has been over which comes first:
rehabilitating the political sphere and rebuilding state and security institutions,
or pushing for a time table for the withdrawal of foreign troops. The Shia and
Kurds see the first goal as a precondition for the second whereas the Sunni
have seen the second goal as a precondition for the first. Disagreement over
this issue, in addition to the decision to hold the elections on time rather than
postpone them for six months, is largely why some of the most influential
Sunni Arab groups such as the Islamic party and the association of Muslim
scholars have chosen to boycott the elections.

However, not all Sunni Arab groups boycotted the elections. Ghazi
Elyawer formed his own list under the name Iraqiyun which succeeded in


winning five seats in the national assembly. Adnan Bajaji also ran his own list
but didn’t secure enough votes to win any seats.

3. The post-election period:

The initial reaction of the Sunni Arab groups, which boycotted
elections to the election results, was to insist that the elections were lacking in
legitimacy because they were held under occupation and because they excluded
important segments of the Iraqi population. They also maintained that any
government resulting from these elections will be lacking in legitimacy and
must not be authorized to undertake any foreign treaties or agreements.
However, after these initial statements the rhetoric of Sunni groups began to
change and they began to express their willingness to participate in the process
of drafting the permanent constitution and perhaps in joining the new

Furthermore, in recent days there has been news about a divide within
the ranks of the major Sunni groups over the best course of action in the post
elections period. There are signs of dissatisfaction with the way the Association
of Muslim and the Islamic party have tackled the elections issue and they are
being blamed by some for further marginalizing the Sunni Arab population of
Iraq. There is evidence that the Sunni Arab population of Iraq is unhappy with
the decisions taken by those who claim to represent them and that they would
like their leaders to take a more pro-active position in the post-election period
especially in the process of drafting a new constitution. There is also evidence
that the principle of federalism is gaining wider acceptance among Sunni Arabs
and there have been some recent calls for the creation of a Sunni Arab province
similar to one proposed by some Shiites for the South and by the Kurds for the

Sunni Arab leaders are poised to play an important role in the post-
election period especially once the negotiations over the creation of a new


government reach their conclusion and negotiations over the permanent
constitution begin. Sunni Arabs have the power to veto any constitutional
arrangement which does not meet their satisfaction by virtue of article 60-c of
the interim constitution which stipulates that “the general referendum will be
successful and the draft constitution ratified if a majority of the voters in Iraq
approve and if two-thirds of the voters in three or more governorates do not
reject.” Which means that if a two thirds of the voters in three of the Sunni
dominated governorates reject the draft permanent constitution it will not be
adopted. Second, the ability to influence the resistance and to perhaps
negotiate a cessation of the violence is an important negotiating card that the
some of the Sunni groups can use to advance some of their demands in a post-
election period.

Thus there is room for optimism with regards to the prospects of
Sunni inclusion in the post election period both because the Arab Sunnis have
expressed increased willingness to engage in the political process and also
because any new arrangement must ultimately have their approval.

Furthermore, the election results do not constitute a serious obstacle to
Sunni inclusion in the post-elections period especially since there has been talk
about the national assembly forming a special committee for drafting the
constitution with a more equitable representation for the Sunni Arabs.
Moreover, the Sunnis will be represented in the government which will be
created hopefully by the end of this week. Ghazi Elyawer is expected to be one
of the two vice presidents and the speaker of parliament is also likely to be a
Sunni Arab figure. Sunni Arabs are also likely to occupy some cabinet posts.


4. Propositions for the permanent constitution:

Prior experience shows that consociational democracy is the best
suited for a plural society. This type of democracy has a number of principle
characteristics and these are:

- Federalism (most decisions made by state government)

- A Mutual veto

- Grand coalition governments on the federal level

- Proportional representation

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul



Turkey’s Iraq policy has presented significant continuity since the
second Gulf War of 1991. The main thrust of the policy remains that the
territorial integrity of Iraq should be intact. Turkey has been further
emphasizing this policy since the Iraq War of 2003. All other policies have been
largely designed to support this general objective. The difficulties of transition
in Iraq since the war only exacerbated concerns about this perspective and
Turkey’s anxieties about possible disintegration of its neighbor. Thus, basically
there has been continuity in the essence of Turkey’s policy towards Iraq

Within the context of this general framework, however, there have
been slight changes in the policy. For instance, Turkey at the beginning
adamantly opposed federalism in Iraq, believing that a loose federalism could
be a transition to the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in the
north and the disintegration of Iraq. But later Turkey readjusted its position to
support a form of administrative federalism, making the argument that a federal
structure could in fact be the most feasible way to maintain Iraq’s territorial
integrity. Therefore there still is continuity in the policy of emphasizing the

* Assist. Prof. Dr.; DPSIR METU / Turkey.

territorial integrity of Iraq; only there is a difference in terms of what is best to
foster it.

Another slight change was about Turkey’s attempt to broaden its
contacts within Iraqi politics. Initially Turkey was more focused on northern
Iraq. In the nineties Turkey established relations with the Iraqi Kurdish groups,
namely the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and the PUK (Patriotic Union
of Kurdistan). There have been ups and downs in this strategy, but largely a
working relationship was established, particularly with the KDP. Turkey also
tried to cultivate the Turkmen as an actor in Iraq and helped to organize some
of them as the Iraqi Turkmen Front and struggled for their recognition by the
international actors, especially the US. In recent months, there has been a shift
to the whole of Iraq and Turkey’s attempts to develop contacts and
relationships with different parties in Iraq increased. Within this context Turkey
started to deal with other actors such as different Sunni and Shi'a Arab groups.
On the other hand starting in the months leading up to the US invasion
Turkey’s relations with the Iraqi Kurdish leaders became quite problematic
amid mutual threats and accusations. However recently again, especially after
the visit of Turkey’s Special Representative for Iraq, Ambassador Osman
Korutürk to Iraq and his talks with Jalal Talabani, which was generally regarded
as a successful visit, there have been some changes in that respect as well.
Therefore, there have been shifts in Turkey’s relationship with Iraqi actors over
the years and yet again the overall objective, the main thrust of the policy has
remained the same.

Turkey approached January 30 elections in Iraq from that general
perspective. Since the war Turkey has been concerned about Iraq’s political
survival as a united state. Therefore, despite its shortcomings, Ankara perceived
the elections as a critical point in Iraq’s transition which could bring
normalization to the situation in Iraq and some kind of legitimization to the


post-Saddam regime. There was an emphasis on the importance of the elections
and on the argument that the elections should be held on time. This was
expressed by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül in several of his speeches on the
elections, and in fact, the elections were seen as a way out of the vicious circle
in Iraq. According to Gül the chronic instability in Iraq that that is plugging the
country impedes a successful transition process. On the other hand the absence
of transfer of sovereignty creates more violence. He referred to this as the basic
dilemma that Iraq was facing. Thus the elections were seen at least a first step
out of this dilemma, “to move forward with the legitimate political process” in
his words. For this reason Turkey supported the holding of elections on time.
But at the same time, again reflecting the ambiguities in terms of Turkey’s view
of Iraq, Turkey also emphasized the dilemmas within the political transition.
For instance, there were also speeches by government officials that the
elections would not really mean democratization of Iraq. There were references
to the elections as a skewed process because of what has been going on. Thus
there has been an emphasis on anti-democratic elements and their ambitions
within the context of the elections. At the same time, Turkey supported the
elections as a beginning for a transition.

Since the elections, four main issues of transition have been
emphasized by Turkey in terms of presenting challenges:

1) The first challenge according to Turkey’s perspective is the nature of
federalism and the status of the Kurdish region and its relationship to Baghdad.
It seems as though there is a consensus among the major parties in Iraq that
federalism is the way to go, but the extent of the autonomy of the Kurdish
region is up to negotiations. How the Iraqi Kurds are going to be integrated is
seen as a critical point not only for a successful transition, but also for the
future of Iraq as a unified country. The limits of Kurdish autonomy, the
division of oil revenues, the status and future of Kurdish peshmergas (militias)


and the status of the city of Kirkuk are of particular concern for Turkey.
Within this context the status of Kirkuk is especially highlighted. Turkey
accuses the Kurds of Iraq of continually pressing for full control of towns
where there are mixed populations and seeking to evict Turkmen and Arab
inhabitants from the region. The most significant conflict in this regard centers
on Kirkuk. Although Kirkuk and its environs are not part of the Kurdistan
regional government for now, the Iraqi Kurdish leaders have been quite vocal
on their aim of incorporating it, which they consider historically a Kurdish city.
Turkey, on the other hand, continues to adamantly oppose Kurdish control of
the multi-ethnic Kirkuk region, in large part because of the assumption that
Kurdish control of the region and its resources could contribute Iraq’s ultimate
disintegration. Attempts to change the demographics in multi-ethnic Kirkuk are
considered as unacceptable by Ankara and seen as dangerous as it may lead to a
civil unrest erupting between different ethnic groups. Turkey also advocates
exploration and administration of Iraq’s natural resources by its central

2) The second challenge is about how to integrate the Sunni Arabs into
the political system. Turkey has been emphasizing this aspect as well. Most of
the Sunni Arabs boycotted the elections and thus there is a limited
representation of Sunni Arabs in the National Assembly. Turkey has been
emphasizing the importance of the principle of inclusion and it was basically
hoped that the post-election process of building institutions will include Sunni
Arabs, although they are not really part of the National Assembly. Before the
elections Turkish Prime Minister Gül said that “we will make suggestions to
anyone in order to persuade them to participate in the elections.” Turkey was in
contact with different Sunni Arab groups to convince them to participate in the
elections. Gül in the same speech also said that “Sunni Arabs should not be
excluded from the government. While Iraq was being formed in 1932, the Shi’a
was excluded from the administration and when they tried to participate in the


government later on, trouble occurred. The same thing should not be
repeated.” Thus Turkey has been arguing that the Sunni Arabs should be
included within the system for a post-Saddam regime to consolidate itself and
to work.

3) The third challenge that is being emphasized by Turkey is the
relationship between state and religion. The nature of this relationship in Iraq
is of concern to Turkey as well, and references to possibilities of establishing an
Islamic state are not exactly welcomed in Turkey. Turkey’s unease grows with
the possibility of another Islamic state on its borders. Therefore, this is of some
concern although not to the extent of the first and second that I have
mentioned, but this is also being expressed.

4) The fourth and ultimate challenge, it seems is to make the transition
to developing a common vision for Iraq’s future workable. The elections
basically demonstrated that different groups voted in terms of their ethnic and
religious identities and those tickets that were running for an Iraq-wide
constituency did not do very well in the elections. Thus there is of course the
ultimate challenge of whether there will be the creation of an Iraqi national
identity and there will be the development of a common vision for Iraq’s future
which is, if I go back to my original point of emphasizing territorial integrity of
Iraq, is of concern for Turkey as well.

In addition to the issues specific to Iraq’s internal transition there is
also an international context which is crucial for the achievement and
consolidation of the normalization in Iraq. Iraq has been going through a
significant transformation that will have tremendous repercussions not only to
Iraq but for the region as a whole. Like Turkey, other states in the region are
quite apprehensive about the meaning and consequences of this
transformation. They are all trying to develop means to secure influence and to
protect their interests. Iraq, on the other hand, needs time and freedom from


intervention to sort out its problems out in the process of state building and
consolidation. The security concerns of all these actors cannot be taken
individually, as they are interconnected. In other words, these actors constitute
a “security complex”, defined by Barry Buzan as “a group of states whose
primary security concerns link together sufficiently closely that their national
securities cannot realistically be considered apart from another.” Thus the
strategic setting that emerged after the Iraq War of 2003 created a new sub-
regional security sphere with Iraq as its center. The main actors in this new
setting are no longer just the countries of the Gulf; they now include Turkey,
Syria and Jordan.

The question, then, is how the states of this particular sub-region can
achieve security in the new strategic environment. It is safe to argue that in the
post-war setting there are significant enough shared interests in this sub-region
to forge creation of a limited security regime. In the Iraq-centered security
space the states share a common interest, namely preventing the total failure of
Iraq. In the current environment characterized by uncertainty and fear, some
states are behaving as if they are pursuing policies that may be working against
this common interest. However, if Iraq fails, if it disintegrates or bogged down
in civil war, then all the countries in this sub-region will suffer. If the conditions
of uncertainty and fear are mitigated through the establishment of a security
regime, they would not be pursuing policies that are undermining their security
interests in the long run. All the states in this sub-region also have an interest in
containing the transnational radical terrorist groups. These common interests
are sufficient to build a limited multilateral security regime. The consultation
mechanism between Iraq and its neighbors can be significant in that respect.
Turkey launched this initiative in January 2003, right before the US invasion of
Iraq in order to find ways to prevent the upcoming war. Although the imitative
was not successful in achieving that objective, the countries including Iraq
continued to meet after the War. There have been seven meetings since then


and they proved to be useful as a forum to exchange views. The representatives
of the UN and the EU have also participated in some meetings. The meetings
of Iraq’s Neighbors could thus be considered as a nucleus of such a limited
security regime which seems essential for the establishment of security and
stability in the region.

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul


Thomas S. MOWLE*

Iraq’s 30 January National Assembly election was the most significant
event in Iraq since the American-led invasion in 2003. No prior event – the
capture of Saddam Hussein, the transfer of formal sovereignty, the selection of
the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) – resonated so loudly with the Iraqi
people. With this election, and with the approaching formation of the Iraqi
Transitional Government (ITG), most Iraqis will be able to look at their
government as their own. In itself, this does not bring peace to Iraq. The
Iraqis must yet write a constitution that can be accepted by all major groups in
the country, resolving along the way several difficult problems of governance.
The Iraqi government must yet win the allegiance of those who have been

* Associate Prof. Dr.; Director, Center for the Study of Defense Policy United States Air Force
Academy / USA.
The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the
official policy or position of the United States Air Force, Department of Defense, or the U.S.
Government. The author would like to thank many people with whom he was stationed in
the Green Zone from August to December 2004, most especially Tom Duffy, Henry
Enscher, Tammy Fitzgerald, Jerry Howard, Mike Lewis, Laura Poitras, Stuart Symington,
Tom Warrick, and Jim Xinos. Their insights and suggestions, and those of many others, were
crucial to the development of the author’s understanding of Iraqi politics. The author would
also like to thank Doug Borer, Damon Coletta, Juan Cole, Jerry Howard, Neal Rappaport,
Greg Rose, and Brad Thayer for their comments on drafts of this paper. All remaining errors
of fact, interpretation and analysis are the sole responsibility of the author.
Thomas S. MOWLE

participating in and supporting the ongoing insurgency, especially the Sunni
Arabs. Iraq must yet make enough economic and political progress in 2005 for
its people to continue supporting liberalism and democracy, lest this electoral
experiment last but a few years.

Nevertheless, even though this election was not a sufficient condition
for peace in Iraq, it was a necessary condition for changing the strategic
landscape in Iraq. After describing the election and its outcome, this paper
describes the steps the ITG must take to arrive at a constitutional election by
June 2006. Next, it describes the terms of a grand compromise that could be
reached among the Kurds and Shia Arabs over Kirkuk, Kurdistan, federalism
and the role of Islam. This compromise, if reached, would also appeal to the
Sunni Arab minority, making it more likely that the constitution will be ratified
once written. After the constitutional elections, likely to be postponed until
June 2006, the United States would be unlikely to retain permanent military
bases in Iraq. Nevertheless, with a more peaceful, prosperous, liberal and
independent Iraq, pressure will increase on other regional regimes to adopt
similar political reforms. This will be good for the long-term interests of the
United States and its friends in the region, including Turkey.


The Iraqi elections are the legacy of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani,
senior cleric of the Najaf marja’iyyah and the Object of Emulation for most Iraqi
Shia.1 From the earliest days of the American occupation, he advocated direct
national elections for Iraqi institutions, a stance that combined the ideological

For simplicity, this paper will use the term “Sunni” as shorthand for “Sunni Arabs” and “Shia”
as shorthand for “Shia Arabs.” Kurds, about 85% of whom are estimated by Sunni with the
remainder Shia, are identified by their ethnicity, which is their primary identity. Similar logic
applies to the Turkomen, nearly all of whom are Shia. A small percentage of Christians are
found among all groups; where they are politically active they are identified here by their faith
rather than their ethnicity.


appeal of pure democracy with the partisan knowledge that the Shia comprised
a majority of the Iraqi population.2

Initially, the Americans planned to have Iraqis draft a constitution
before electing a sovereign government. On 15 November 2003, they
proposed a new plan: they would grant sovereignty on 30 June 2004 to the
government selected by a transitional assembly indirectly elected in May 2004.
This government would rule under a Transitional Administrative Law (TAL)
until a constitutional assembly elected in March 2005 completed its work. This
constitution, written independently from the transitional government, would be
submitted to a referendum in August 2005, with elections for a constitutional
government following.3

Sistani rejected this approach as undemocratic;4 his rejection was
congruent with Iraqi suspicion that such a system would be rigged by the
occupying powers and the Governing Council (GC) they had created. Sistani
opposed the GC from the beginning, declining even to recommend names for
the GC in June 2003.5 He also issued a fatwa, which called for elections because
“there is no guarantee that the [US-backed] council would create a constitution
conforming with the greater interests of the Iraqi people.”6 Direct national
elections had drawbacks, however. In the absence of a constitution that

There is no precise demographic breakdown for Iraq. Most estimates suggest that the Shia are
55-60% of the population, the Kurds and Sunni 15-20% each, with Turkomen, Christians,
and other minorities combining for about 5-10% of the population.
Larry Diamond, “What Went Wrong in Iraq,” Foreign Affairs 83, 5, September/October 2004,
pp. 44-8; Hiwa Osman, “Questions Surround Elections,” Iraqi Crisis Report 37, 28 November
Osman, “Questions.”
Mohammed Ali al-Hassani, “Iraqi Shias Call for Elections,” Iraqi Crisis Report 24, 25 June 2003.
Zaki Yahya, “Iraqis Call for Self-Rule,” Iraqi Crisis Report 25, 2 July 2003.

Thomas S. MOWLE

ensured minority rights, they could empower a tyranny of the Shia majority;
they also would be a complex undertaking amid violence. Caucuses of local
and regional leaders would be easier to secure, and would do more to ensure
that all groups in Iraq were represented.

While Paul Bremer and his Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA),
supported by the GC, stood firm with their plan for several weeks, it became
clear that no system rejected by Sistani would be accepted as legitimate by the
Shia, and that any protracted conflict with the Grand Ayatollah would be
catastrophic. Large mid-January demonstrations in Basra and Baghdad signaled
his power,7 and his opposition was joined by Achmed Chalabi of the Iraqi
National Congress (INC) and Aziz al-Hakim of the Supreme Council for the
Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).8 On 13 February 2004, UN diplomat
Lakhdar Brahimi convinced Sistani to accept a new plan, which included direct
elections no later than the end of January 2005. Sistani agreed that it would be
too difficult to conduct such an election before the planned transfer of

The TAL, published on 8 March 2004, and CPA Orders 96 and 97,
issued on 7 June 2004, included this plan. Iraqi sovereignty would be restored
on 30 June 2004,10 with power going to an Iraqi Interim Government (IIG).11
The IIG would govern under TAL provisions until an Iraqi Transitional
Government (ITG) was formed after National Assembly elections, to be held

Adnan Karem and Haytham al-Husseini, “Shias Demand Free Elections,” Iraqi Crisis Report 45,
22 January 2004.
Kamal Ali, “Ballot Debate Rumbles On,” Iraqi Crisis Report 47, 9 February 2004.
Diamond, “What Went Wrong,” pp. 48-50.
Transfer of sovereignty occurred early, on 28 June 2004.
TAL 2.B.1


no later than 31 January 2005.12 Formation of the ITG would initiate a second
phase of Iraqi governance, which would end with the formation of a
government under the Constitution written by that assembly and ratified in a
national referendum.13 UN Security Council Resolution 1546 (8 June 2004)
endorsed the plan without reference to the TAL.14

An annex to the TAL issued on 1 June 2004 directed that the IIG
would be chosen in the context of the National Conference, a national caucus
of several hundred Iraqi leaders meeting in July. The Conference would choose
a National Council of 100 members, including the 3-member Presidency, Prime
Minister and cabinet. Most of the power in the IIG would lie with the Council
of Ministers and Presidency, which could issue legislative orders.15 The wider
National Council could veto IIG orders by a 2/3 vote and monitor IIG

The National Conference, delayed until 16 August in an only partly
successful attempt to encourage more Sunni participation, was a mostly
inauspicious introduction to Iraqi democracy. That it was held at all, coming
under daily mortar fire in the Convention Center, was an accomplishment, and
the delegates demonstrated independence by deviating from the agenda to
debate the confrontation in Najaf between American forces and the Mahdi
Militia of Moqtada al-Sadr.17 In the end, however, the Governing Council
assembled a single list of 100 members (including all of the GC itself), which

TAL Annex Section 1.
TAL 2.A, 2.B.2.
UNSCR 1546, paragraph 4.
TAL Annex, section 2.
TAL Annex, section 3.
Omar Anwar, “Courting Muqtada,” Iraqi Crisis Report 80, 24 August 2004.

Thomas S. MOWLE

was pushed through the conference without organized opposition. The new
government was broadly representative of Iraqi groups, but it remained
established in many Iraqi minds as a continuation of a puppet regime installed
by the Americans.

Shia Ayad Alawi of the Iraqi National Alliance (INA) served as prime
minister and Sunni Ghazi Yawr was the president; both are considered political
moderates.18 The only overtly religious leader of the IIG was Deputy President
Ibrahim Ja’afari, leader of the main branch of the Shia Da’wa Party; Finance
Minister Adil Abdel-Mahdi of the Shia SCIRI also represented more religious
interests. The other two top posts went to Kurds, Deputy President Rowsch
Shaways and Deputy Prime Minister Barhim Saleh. Saleh conducted most of
the day-to-day operation of the IIG, and has impressed many observers as a
highly competent administrator. The 27 ministries were distributed among
different groups; between 20 and 25% of the 32 leadership positions were held
by Sunni and Kurds, both somewhat in excess of their apparent proportion of
the population.19

The National Assembly elections were designed to balance speed,
simplicity, and equitable representation of Iraqi groups. While the results can
be objectively criticized on all three counts, one must also weigh the drawbacks
of the plausible alternatives. Elections for the 275-member assembly were
desired by December 2004, with the 31 January 2005 as the last legal election
date. As it turned out, security and other concerns would lead the Independent
Electoral Commission for Iraq (IECI), the truly independent body set up by the

The term “secular,” sometimes used to describe Iraqi leaders who are not overtly tied to
religious parties, is both inaccurate (their views on religion are congruent to those of the
American religious right) and offensive to a devout Muslim. Members of the Iraqi
Communist Party are among the few who would accept such a label.
For details on members of the IIG, see its website,


CPA on 31 May 2004,20 to select 30 January as election day. Decisions made in
early 2004, expecting a mid-December election, might have been different if it
had been known that another 6 weeks would be available for preparations. For
example, the census scheduled for the fall was cancelled partly for fear that it
would interfere with the start of registration and campaigning. Thus Iraq
served as a single national district with seats allocated proportionally.21 Single
national districts are more common in smaller countries with smaller
legislatures, such as Israel and the Netherlands. In the absence of accurate
census data, however, it would have been difficult to allocate seats to the 18
governorates, much less try to create single-member constituencies within
them. The single national district also ensured that isolated populations – of
identity or ideology – would have the greatest chance of having their votes
count towards election of their preferred candidate list. As it turned out, of
course, the single national district magnified the effects of the low Sunni
turnout. If delegates had been elected by province, the Sunni would still have
won their share of seats. If this had been anticipated when the electoral law
was being devised, a different system could have been adopted; equally,
accepting the electoral law as a given, more effort could have been made to
create conditions under which more Sunni would have voted.22

With political registration easy – only 500 signatures23 – 213 political
entities registered: 49 single-person entities and 164 multi-person parties.24

CPA Order 92
CPA Order 96, para 3.3.
For a discussion of the electoral choices made by the UN’s Carina Perelli in conjunction with
occupation leaders, see Steven R. Weisman, “U.S. Is Haunted by Initial Plan for Iraq Voting,”
The New York Times, 9 January 2005.
CPA Order 97, para 2.2; IECI Regulation 03/2004, Amended 25 Oct 04, paragraph 3.6.4.
List from

Thomas S. MOWLE

These coalesced into 111 lists competing on the national ballot. Iraqi electoral
law did not provide an artificial threshold for representation in the TNA.
Election to the TNA required receipt of only 1/275 (0.36%) of the national
vote, or about 29,000.25 This lack of a hurdle, unusual for proportional
systems, especially for such a large Assembly, ensured the most accurate
representation of Iraqi voting preferences. It also would tend to promote the
election of candidates with minimal appeal – extremists as well as those with
only isolated support. Individuals could register as a political entity and run
alone; any votes they received in excess of the natural threshold would be
reallocated to other lists. Electoral law required that a non-individual electoral
list include at least 12 names, at least four of whom would be women;26 in
principle this would filter out extremists (especially those most opposed to
women’s participation in politics), but assembling 12 like-minded individuals is
not a difficult task. As it turned out, several factors led to the largest electoral
lists receiving the lion’s share of the vote: coalitions formed among the
Kurdish parties and the more religious Shia parties, and violence effectively
precluded campaigning.

One of the most ingenious features of the electoral process was in
registration – or more properly, the verification of registration. Everyone
participating in the food distribution system was automatically registered.27
Registration information was distributed from 1 November to 15 December
along with the monthly rations. If the information were correct, the voters

CPA Order 96, para 3.4
CPA Order 96, para 4.3, 4.4
IECI Regulation 02/2004. This method may have overstated the actual registration numbers,
since there is no incentive for families to remove members from the cards if they die or move
away. Thus the actual percentage turnout may have been much higher than the stated 58%
(8.5 million voters of 14.5 million registered). If, to use an unofficial estimate, only 12.5
million were legitimately on the roles, then turnout was 68%.


needed to do nothing; changes could be submitted to one of several Voter
Registration Centers (VRCs) in each province. The system thus was robust
against the refusal of some food agents to distribute registration materials, and
the closure of VRCs in Anbar, much of Nineweh, and parts of Baghdad – most
voters would still be registered. Voters in Anbar and Nineweh could register
even on election day, when the polling sites would be more protected than the
VRCs. Turnout in Sunni areas would be excruciatingly low, but this is more
attributable to the credible threats of violence against voters and sympathy to
the Muslim Ulema Council’s call for a boycott than uncertainty among voters
about whether they were properly registered.

Iraqi political leaders tried to recreate the national list used at the
August National Conference. In October and early November 2004, proposals
were floated that would have created a single list including the seven major
parties of the IIG – the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK), SCIRI, Da’wa, the INA, the INC, and the Iraqi Islamic Party
(IIP). After rounds of informal discussion, the parties met at Lake Dohuk in
Iraqi Kurdistan in November, but could not reach an agreement. This effort
was doomed from the start, since it would have been very difficult for such a
diverse group of parties to agree on the proportion allocated to each party and
their rankings, especially with the added requirement that every third seat be
allocated to a woman. This failure was good for liberalism, because the
resulting national list would have been widely perceived as an attempt to
undemocratically fix the election results. The resulting government would have
had great difficulty winning legitimacy among those dissatisfied with the status
quo. The formation of an “incumbents” list would also have increased the vote
for more illiberal parties excluded from the list, since such parties would be the
only opposition. This hypothetical list probably would not have reduced the
calls for a boycott from the Sunni Muslim Ulema Council (MUC), since the
clerics would have labeled it as a continuation of the regime installed by the

Thomas S. MOWLE

Americans; Sunni turnout may have been higher if the IIP had been on this list
but the legitimacy of the ITG would have been profoundly weakened.

In the absence of a national list, the Kurds and Shia turned to the
formation of identity lists.28 The PUK and KDP, while continuing to compete
in elections for the Kurdistan Regional Assembly (KRA), agreed to form a
combined list, the Kurdistan Alliance (KA). By including representatives of
other Kurdistan parties, most notably the Kurdish Islamic Union, the Assyrian
National Party, and the Chaldean Democratic Union Party, Massoud Barzani
and Jalal Talabani assured that their list would secure almost the entire vote
from Kurdistan – 93.5%.29 The Christians also ensured that they would benefit
from the overall regional vote. Aided by turnout exceeding 80% in each of the
three KRA provinces (and 70% in Tamim), the KA won 75 seats in the TNA,
or 27% -- far in excess of the Kurds’ share of the Iraqi population.30 The
Islamic Kurdish Society won 2 seats, and later allied itself to the KA in the
National Assembly. Among other minorities, the Iraqi Turkomen Front (ITF)
won 3 seats, winning votes mostly in Tamim, and the National Rafidain List of
Assyrian Christians won 1, with half its vote coming from Out-of-Country

Meanwhile, the Shia achieved a more surprising show of unity under
the guidance of Grand Ayatollah Sistani. The appeal of joining the United Iraqi

The most concise description of the Iraqi electoral lists is “Iraqi Election: Who Ran?” BBC
World, 31 January, 2005, See
also Max Sicherman, “Iraqi Elections: What, How, and Who,” Policy Watch 944, The
Washington Institute, 24 January 2005.
Asharq al-Awsat, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 202, 2 December 2004. All election tallies from
IECI, at
For province-by-province turnout, see graphic included in Paul Reynolds, “Sunni Share of
Power is Critical,” BBC,


Alliance list blessed by the elder Sistani – and the fear of being excluded from
such a list – led the major religiously-oriented Shia parties to agree to accept a
lesser number of seats on a list primarily composed of independent candidates.
This list included SCIRI, Da’wa, the INC, representatives of Moqtada al-Sadr,
and the Islamic Fayli Grouping of Shia Kurds, along with many smaller parties.
While this list dominated the elections, winning 140 of the 275 seats (51%), its
cohesion over the long-term remains uncertain. The independents are loyal to
no one except Sistani, and the party leaders have a long history of rivalry. They
may remain united for a while for fear of being seen as breaking with Sistani,
but it seems difficult to believe that the group would remain intact through the
constitutional election. Three additional Shia seats went to the National
Independent Elites and Cadres Party, tied to Moqtada al-Sadr, and two to the
Islamic Action Organization in Iraq. Those parties, as well as the Shia ITF,
allied themselves to the UIA in the National Assembly after the election.

Several cross-communal lists competed for the more liberal elements
of the Arab population. The Iraqi List was assembled by Interim Prime
Minister Alawi, a Shia, and included Sunni Planning Minister Mahdi al-Hafidh
and Electricity Minister Ayham al-Samera’i. Sunni Ghazi Yawr’s Iraqis List
included IIG members such as Shia Defense Minister Hazim al-Sha’lan and
Industry Minister Hachim al-Hassani. Hassani had been a member of the IIP,
but left the party when it asked him to resign as a protest against the November
assault on Fallujah.31 These lists supported a reduced role for Islam in Iraqi
politics and favored Iraqi unity over regionalism. Alawi’s list finished third in
the election, with 40 seats; its position as a largely Shia party with liberal politics
left it in position as a possible ally of either Shia or Kurds. Yawr’s list won an
additional five seats, with strongest support from his tribal base in Nineweh. A

Al-Nahdhah, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 191, 10 November 2004.

Thomas S. MOWLE

final two “centrist” seats were won by the People’s Union/Iraqi Communist
Party, which won an overwhelming percentage of its support in Baghdad. Both
the Constitutional Monarchy Movement of al-Sharif Ali Bin al-Hussein and the
Assembly of Independent Democrats led by Adnan Pachachi were shut out of

Finally, we turn to the parties most strongly identified with the Sunni
Arabs. The largest such party, Muhsin abd al-Hamid’s IIP, announced on 27
December that it was withdrawing from competition in the election. While its
list remained on the ballot by law, the IIP later announced that even if elected
its members would not join any Iraqi government. The IIP was the only party
that appealed to a large portion of the Sunni population. While it supported
democracy in Iraq, it retained credibility among the Sunni for its criticism of
occupation policies. For much of fall 2004, the IIP was a counterweight to the
MUC’s repeated calls for a boycott – the MUC had insisted since February that
elections held under occupation were illegitimate,33 while the IIP argued that
Sunni exclusion would be self-defeating. The late Ramadan assault on Fallujah
and the mid-November raid on the Abu Hanifa mosque in the Adhamiyah
district of Baghdad inflamed Sunni public opinion against the IIG and the
occupation, making the IIP’s position increasingly untenable. Several other
parties joined the IIP in boycotting the election, leaving two seats for explicitly
Sunni parties: one for Mishan al-Jabouri’s Reconciliation and Liberation Front,
based in Salah ad-Din, and one for Justice Minster Malik Duhan al-Hassan’s
National Democratic Alliance, mostly from Baghdad.

Zaineb Naji and Talar Nadir, “Iraqi Election: Winners Rejoice, but Talk to Losers,” Iraqi Crisis
Report 112, 14 February 2005.
Ali, “Ballot Debate.”


On 26 November, several political parties met at Adnan Pachachi’s
home, calling for a six-month election delay to improve security and even
revising the election plan. Attendees included Sunni parties, including the IIP
which had been wavering in its support for the election over the previous few
days. 34 More surprisingly, the Kurds argued that winter storms could make it
impossible to vote in Kurdistan and that the political situation in Kirkuk need
to be resolved. 35 Pachachi’s motive in hosting the meeting may have reflected
his party’s lack of support; unlike the Kurdish, Shia, and other centrist parties
he would continue to advocate postponement up to a few weeks before the
election.36 Shia and other political parties protested this idea,37 and IECI Chair
Abdul Hussein al-Hindawi declined to even consider it. As Deputy Prime
Minister Saleh and President Yawr both noted, there was no legal provision for
delaying the election past 31 January.38 Alawi’s party said it was there merely to
observe, and the IIP temporarily agreed to continue to support the elections.
Other proposals were mooted over the ensuing weeks, including having an
election staggered by province over a period of weeks, or holding voting open
for several days. All were rejected or, more accurately, not even considered by
the IECI. Such a move would have opened the door to discarding other
sections of the TAL.

SCIRI’s Al-Adala, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 196, 24 November 2004, indicated IIP’s
support, while Al-Mada, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 197, 25 November 2004, reported that
the IIP had renewed its call for postponement.
Asharq al-Aswat, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 196, 24 November 2004 discussed weather,
while the KDP’s al-Taakhi, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 198, 26 November 2004, described
other reasons to postpone elections.
Addustour, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 215, 10 January 2005.
Al-Sabah al-Jadeed, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 199, 29 November 2004.
Al-Sabah al-Jadeed, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 202, 2 December 2004.

Thomas S. MOWLE

In the last several weeks before the election, the MUC continued to
assert conditions under which it would end the Sunni boycott, perhaps leaving
room for the IIP to re-enter the elections. These conditions included expedited
disposition of mostly Sunni detainees,39 transfer of the election to the UN from
the IECI, and a timetable for withdrawal.40 These conditions were not
addressed by American leadership.41 After the election, the MUC repeated
these same demands for release of detainees and a timetable for withdrawal, as
a condition for participation in writing the constitution.42 If the Iraqi
democratic process breaks down due to Sunni Arab perception of its
illegitimacy, the failure to bring Sunni Arabs and the IIP into the political
process will likely be seen as a preventable tragedy greater than disbanding the
Iraqi army, the blanket de-Baathification order, and the looting of Iraqi


The TAL was designed to create a separation of powers with only a
single, simple national election, and also to prevent the rule of a simple
majority. The three-member Presidency Council had to be selected as a single
slate, winning a 2/3 majority of the TNA (184 votes).44 The PC would then

Dhiya Rasan, “Jailed Without Trial, Iraqi Crisis Report 50, 1 March 2004. The IECI did not
allow prisoners to vote since they could not get to polling centers; polling centers were not
set up in the prisons. Al-Mashriq, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 185, 2 November 2004.
Kamran al-Karadaghi, “Sunni Election Dilemma,” Iraqi Crisis Report 97, 14 January 2005.
Al-Nahdhah, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 216, 11 January 2005.
Patrick J. McDonnell, “Key Sunni Arab Group Predicates Its Participation on Troops'
Leaving,” Los Angeles Times, 16 February 2005.
See Diamond, “What Went Wrong in Iraq?”
TAL, Article 36A.


unanimously select a Prime Minister, who would submit a cabinet for approval
by both the PC (again unanimously) and a simple majority of the TNA.45
Given the election results, there were three ways to form such a coalition. The
simplest was to combine the 148 seats held by the UIA and its allies with the 77
seats held by the KA and its allies. This result – 82% of the seats – would allow
for some splintering within the UIA, which began to happen as negotiations
dragged into March. A second coalition would combine the UIA with the
Alawi’s Shia-led liberal party; Sunni members of that party might be reluctant to
join such a grouping, however, and even the addition of Shia members of
Yawr’s party might not bring the coalition up to the 2/3 required.46 A third
coalition option would be a more complex combination of Kurdish, ethnic
minority, and the liberal Arab parties (totaling 132 seats) with parts of a now-
splintered UIA.

Coalition-building focused first on selecting a prime minister. Initially,
SCIRI, led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, advocated Finance Minster Adil Abdul
Mahdi. By 15 February, however, Mahdi withdrew in favor of Deputy
President Ibrahim Jaafari, leader of the largest faction of the Da’wa party.47
Ja’afari’s remaining competition was Achmed Chalabi, leader of the INC. In
terms of national reconciliation, Ja’afari was the best choice among these three.
In the last comprehensive poll, taken in mid-October 2004,48 his national
support was 51-21%; he was opposed by 36-27% in the Sunni areas, by 33-22%
in Kirkuk and Mosul, and by 40-13% in Kurdistan. The less well-known

TAL, Article 38A.
The Communists, while nominally Shia, were an unlikely partner for the religious Shia.
Dexter Filkins, “Race for Top Iraq Post Narrows to 2 Shiites,” The New York Times, 16
February 2005.
Department of State Office of Research, 17 November 2004.

Thomas S. MOWLE

Mahdi, on the other hand, was opposed 21-9% nationwide, winning support in
no area of the country, and was opposed 17-6% in the Sunni areas, 21-2% in
Kirkuk and Mosul, and 39-2% in Kurdistan. SCIRI leader al-Hakim’s rating
may be a better proxy for Mahdi’s, since he is as well-known as Jaafari; al-
Hakim trailed Jaafari in every region, with 43-25 overall national support, 47-
12% opposition in Sunni areas, 31-19% opposition in Mosul and Kirkuk, and
35-19% in Kurdistan. SCIRI’s willingness to concede this post to Da’wa was
important because Jaafari’s party is more clearly opposed to Iranian-style rule of
the jurisprudent and he is more attractive to the Sunni population.

Chalabi possessed all of Mahdi’s disadvantages, and more. Chalabi’s
national opposition was 56-13%, comparable to Saddam Hussein’s 71-17%.
Unlike Mahdi, Chalabi was well-known and well-disliked: opposed 65-4% in
Sunni areas, 60-5% in Kirkuk and Mosul, and 44-11% in Kurdistan. His
election would have been a devastating blow to the prospects of Sunni-Shia
reconciliation, given his staunch opposition to any reversal of de-Baathification.
On top of this, Chalabi is widely regarded in Iraq as a tool of either the
Americans or Iranians, or possibly both. His role in promoting the 2003
invasion is well-known; after his party offices were raided in May 2004 he
moved from a moderate, near-secular platform to an association with Sadr and
frequent communication with Iran. His political credibility was somewhat
rehabilitated by his work to bring the UIA together, but this comeback did not
extend to the average Iraqi. After the election, he became one of the more
vocal opponents of U.S. occupation, calling for the release of detainees and


more restrictions on American activities.49 On 22 February, Chalabi withdrew
his bid within the UIA in favor of Ja’afari.50

Interim Prime Minister Ayad Alawi did not concede leadership to the
more religious Shia, however. On 21 February he announced his intention to
try to form his own majority, composed of his own party, the Kurds and the
remaining more moderate parties. While this would only yield 48% of the
seats, a 2/3 majority could be achieved if he were able to entice a third of the
UIA members to defect from the list.51 More likely, his bloc could prevent
Jaafari’s election, perhaps then throwing the job to Chalabi as the candidate
most acceptable to both blocs despite the long-running feud between Chalabi
and Alawi himself. This leaves the KA in a position to bargain hard with both
sides, giving it even more leverage with the UIA to gain concessions on
autonomy and Kirkuk.

Alawi’s re-election as prime minister might have seemed good, since
his religious moderation makes him more acceptable to some Sunni and puts
him more in tune with Western views on family and social law. He would
present several problems for Iraq, however. First, it would mean that the more
religious and radical elements of the Shia population were excluded from
government. These groups, including followers of Sadr, would be more likely
to take up arms, eliminating any benefit gained in Sunni areas – and spreading
the insurgency geographically. Second, his re-election would cause many Iraqis
to question the purpose of the election. While constituents in a mature

Patrick J. McDonnell, “Chalabi Savors Status Gained Outfoxing U.S.,” Los Angeles Times, 20
February 2005.
John Daniszewski, “Islamist Is Nominated as Iraqi Premier,” Los Angeles Times, 23 February
John F. Burns And Dexter Filkins, “Shiite Alliance in Iraq Wants Islamist as the Prime
Minister,” The New York Times, 23 February 2005.

Thomas S. MOWLE

European parliamentary democracy understand the maneuvering of cabinet
formation, to Iraqis it will appear that after an election for which they risked
their lives, the same man is in power despite winning only 14% of the vote –
the same man installed by the American occupiers. Third, the “moderate
coalition” would be more unstable. Alawi promotes national unity over
federalism and advocates rehabilitation of many former Ba’athists.52 These
views place him at odds with the Kurds and many Shia leaders, making it more
likely that his coalition would fracture and pass a no-confidence resolution.
Fourth, while Alawi may be more secular than Ja’afari, his liberal credentials are
no better – as a former Ba’athist who broke with Saddam Hussein many years
ago, his preference for central control may well veil a preference for absolute
control. His incorporation of the National Guard into the Army in January,
while beneficial militarily, undoes one of the checks on power instituted under
the occupation.53

The Transitional National Assembly (TNA) will act as the legislative
authority for Iraq until a constitution is approved by the people and new
government is elected under that constitution. It is not a traditional
Westminster-style parliament, since the prime minister and members of the
council of ministers do not sit in the TNA.54 One of the first acts of the TNA is
to make provisions for filling vacancies, including those created by the selection
of members to the executive authority.55 Given the UIA’s slim majority, this is
particularly important – it could lose its majority if it selects more of its

Anthony Shadid, “Iraq Must Unify Or Face 'Disaster,' Premier Warns,” Washington Post, 18
February 2005.
Eric Schmitt, “Iraqi Army Adds National Guard to Its Ranks,” The New York Times, 24
February 2005.
TAL, Article 28A.
TAL, Article 31A.


representatives than those of other parties, causing it to quickly become a
minority government, and one in which the remaining members (Kurds,
smaller minorities, and centrists) could easily find common ground.

The division of power between the PC, CM, and TNA is complex.
The PC may veto legislation, acting unanimously and subject to a 2/3 TNA
override, while the CM cannot block TNA actions.56 Both the Council of
Ministers (by a majority vote of its members) and individual assembly members
may propose legislation.57 The budget can only be proposed by the CM, but in
the absence of meaningful party discipline, especially within the UIA, it may
have difficulty passing it.58 The TNA can reduce or reallocate funding; a
proposal to increase the national budget would need to return to the CM for
approval.59 The PC is the ceremonial military commander in chief, with
command authority flowing from the PM to the Minister of Defense.60 The
CM appoints the director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) and
general officers, with the TNA’s ratification.61 The PC, on the other hand,
appoints members of the Federal Supreme Court from a list recommended by
the Higher Judicial Council, which will also appoint the members of lesser
courts.62 These appointments are not subject to further review. The TNA
would ratify international agreements, after the PC unanimously recommends

TAL Article 37.
TAL Articles 33D, 42.
TAL Article 33C.
TAL Article 33C.
TAL Article 39B.
TAL Article 39D.
TAL Articles 44E, 46A.

Thomas S. MOWLE

their approval – the CM, subject to PC approval, appoints the negotiators of
such agreements.63

Both the PC and CM are subject to legislative oversight. A member of
the PC may be removed by a ¾ vote of the TNA, and a new member selected
by a 2/3 vote.64 Only a 50% vote is required to remove either a minister or the
entire CM with the PM, however.65 The CM would then enter caretaker status
until a new PM is chosen unanimously by the PC and he or she and the new
CM is approved by the TNA. These provisions carry the seeds of severe
instability in the government, similar to the German Weimar Republic or the
French Fourth Republic. Not only is a constructive vote of no confidence not
required, it is much easier to dismiss a PM and CM than it is to select a new one
–since the PC probably remains intact in this scenario, one of its members may
well be opposed to the dismissal of the former PM. If the PC cannot agree on
a PM, the TNA may name one, but this would require a 2/3 vote.66 The PM
also does not have the power to dismiss ministers at will – TNA approval is
required; the PC may dismiss ministers after following provisions of the
Commission on Public Integrity.67 The PC must ratify, again unanimously,
deputy ministers and ambassadors proposed by the CM.68

TAL Articles 33F, 39A.
TAL Article 36A.
TAL Article 40.
TAL Article 38.
TAL Article 41.
TAL Article 42.


With the ITG selected and in office, the primary official task before
the TNA is to draft a constitution in consultation with the people of Iraq.69
The constitution is to be drafted by 15 August 2005, but the TNA can vote
itself a single 6-month extension if it is unable to complete it on time. While
much of the TAL is designed to force supermajorities, passage of the draft
constitution would be by a simple majority vote.70 Supermajorities return in the
ratification process. Two months after the constitution is drafted, it is to go
before the Iraqi people in a national referendum. The constitution passes if it
receives a majority of the vote, and if at least 33% of the vote in 16 of 18
provinces is in favor.71 To state that last provision more clearly: if 2/3 of the
voters in 3 provinces vote no, the Constitution fails. When written into the
TAL, this provision was called the “Kurdish veto,” since there are three
overwhelmingly Kurdish provinces – Sulamaniyah, Irbil, and Dahuk. In
principle, however, it could be any three provinces, voting against it for reasons
of ethno-religious identity or more local concerns. If the referendum fails, the
TNA is disbanded and new elections held, restarting the process.72

With the low Sunni turnout in the election, and the concentration of
violence in Sunni areas – now an insurgency against a popularly-elected
government as well as a resistance to the American occupation – speculation
has centered on the possibility that the Sunni could veto the Constitution.
While possible, this seems unlikely. Anbar (Ramadi and Fallujah, and points
west) clearly has a 2/3 Sunni majority. In the absence of census data that
reveals the demographics of each governorate, it is difficult to tell if there are

TAL Article 60.
TAL Articles 61A, 61F.
TAL Articles 61B, 61C.
TAL Article 61E.

Thomas S. MOWLE

two more provinces that could give the Sunni their veto. The best available
demographic breakdown we have is from two polls taken in Baghdad in
September and November 2004, which averaged 54.5% Shia, 29% Sunni, 13%
“Muslim,” and just under 4% “other.”73

There are two proxies for Shia percentage. One is Sistani’s popularity.
In a November survey,74 93% of Basra residents and 96% of those in Kut (both
cities are Shia-dominated) said they were confident in Sistani’s ability to
“improve the situation in Iraq.” 25% in Sunni Tikrit agreed, as did 35% in
mixed-population Kirkuk. 70% in Baghdad supported Sistani, a bit higher than
the number of Shia identified in the polls, but reflecting the Tikriti results that
some Sunni respect the man. In Bacquba, capital of Diyala province, 69%
supported Sistani, suggesting a majority Shia population there as well. Earlier
polls showed him with 30% support in Mosul, capital of Nineweh province.75

The other demographic proxy is electoral turnout. Turnout in the 9
provinces that are almost purely Shia averaged 67% (even Babil, with a
significant Sunni population that supports the insurgency, achieved a 71%
turnout). One could assume that level of turnout for Shia in other provinces as
well. Likewise, the turnout in Kurdistan averaged 83%. One could again
assume like numbers throughout the country. The polling results and Sistani’s
popularity suggest that Baghdad is 63% Shia and 33% Sunni, assuming that
Shia and Sunni are equally likely to call themselves just “Muslim.” Some of the
Sunni are Kurds, not Arabs (as are a much smaller number of the Shia). With
the Baghdad popularity of leading Kurdish politicians equal to about ¾ of their
nationwide popularity, let us assume that 15% of the Baghdad population is

Baghdad Polls, 16 September 2004 and 8 November 2004.
Department of State Office of Research, 24 November 2004.
Department of State Office of Research, 16 September 2004.


Kurdish. Thus Baghdad may be 63% Shia, 19% Kurds and religious minorities,
and 18% Sunni, similar to the country as a whole. With Baghdad’s overall
turnout 83% of the national turnout, if we assume the depressed turnout is
spread across all groups equally, we find that Baghdad’s Sunni turned out at
levels similar to Anbar’s 2%.

If these proportions held, Salah ad-Din’s 29% turnout would
correspond to a population 60% Sunni and 40% Shia, the latter mostly
concentrated in Samarra and the Tigris valley. Diyala’s 34% turnout would
correspond to a population 49% Shia and 51% Sunni, in line with Sistani’s 69%
populatity in the capital. Nineweh’s 17% turnout in a province divided among
Sunnis and Kurds and Turkomen would suggest a population that is 81% Sunni
and 19% others. There are so many assumptions buried in this that these
numbers should not be taken as definitive – but the larger point is that the
Sunni may not have a 2/3 majority of the population in two provinces besides
Anbar. Nineweh appears to pass that threshold, although electoral irregularities
in Nineweh may have reduced the ability of non-Arabs to vote, so their
numbers may be higher than indicated here.76 Since Diyala and Salah ad-Din
may have had higher Sunni turnout than other areas, since they were somewhat
more secure than Baghdad or Anbar, both those provinces may be closer to
67% Sunni than it appears. Further complicating the chances of a Sunni veto is
that opponents would need to encourage a high turnout in the referendum,
completely changing course from the boycott so-successfully urged in the 30
January election.

Election day reporting suggested that turnout in Mosul was high among Kurds, Turkomen,
and Shia. See Mohammed Alban, “Mosul Poll Optimism,” Iraqi Crisis Report 106, 30 January
2005. For discussion of ballot problems that may have depressed Kurd, Turkomen, and
Assyrian voting, see Yaseen al-Rubai, “Ballot Problems in Ninewa,” Iraqi Crisis Report 112, 14
February 2005.

Thomas S. MOWLE

The probable six-month delay in the constitution, made more likely by
the late election date and the difficulty of organizing the ITG, affects the UN
mandate for Iraq. While UNSCR 1546 does not explicitly mention the TAL, it
“endorses” the TAL timetable that would hold Constitutional elections in mid-
December 2005 and seat a new Constitutional government by 31 December.77
The resolution further states that “this mandate shall expire upon the
completion of the political process set out in paragraph four above.”78 The
resolution does not mention the provisions for a 6-month delay in that election,
since its endorsement is most directly for the election of the TNA “which will,
inter alia, have responsibility for” completing that process. Nevertheless,
maintenance of the mandate through a six month-delay driven by the terms of
Iraqi politics seems automatic. The resolution will be reviewed on 8 June 2005,
the first anniversary of its passage.79 In any case, termination of the mandate at
that point would require the support of the United States, which is unlikely to
be forthcoming. The mandate also automatically expires “if requested by the
Government of Iraq;”80 this currently seems unlikely during the constitution-
writing process.

The extension of the mandate for six months appears to be a
legal/political technicality, but it has profound military significance. Support
for the Iraqi mission is declining in all members of the multi-national force,
despite the successful election, and it may be politically very difficult for them
to leave forces in Iraq for an extra six months. There has been little open
discussion of this prospect, nor of the truly catastrophic outcome if the

UNSCR 1546, paragraph 4c.
UNSCR 1546, paragraph 12.
UNSCR 1546, paragraph 12.
UNSCR 1546, paragraph 12.


constitution is not drafted or is defeated. If the TNA is dissolved, new
elections would occur under the same TAL provisions that ended up
deadlocked the first time around, perhaps following the same CPA orders as
well – if the TNA or Iraqis cannot agree on a Constitution, they probably
would not be able to muster the ¾ vote required to amend the TAL.81 The
UNSCR mandate would seem to continue, since this scenario still operates
under the “political process” alluded to in paragraph 4. It is unclear, however,
what countries would continue to provide troops in Iraq for another year
beyond this political crisis.

Assuming all goes well in Iraq, UNSCR 1546 terminates by mid-2006 –
and any future foreign troop presence in Iraq will be at the invitation of the
sovereign Iraqi government. American force planning seems to assume that
this invitation will be forthcoming, leaving over 100,000 troops in Iraq through
2006.82 While this can be overstated – it is wise for the Pentagon to plan for a
maximal troop presence, plans that could always be cut back, as opposed to
being surprised by a need for the troops – the reality that the coalition mission
must end at that point is again often overlooked in American discussions. An
extension of the UNSC mandate beyond the Constitutional election seems
unlikely, since there would be no need for such a mandate if the sovereign
elected Iraqi government wants to invite troops in and it is unlikely that the
UNSC would impose a force on such a government. While the United States
may be eager to provide troops in 2006 if asked, it seems very unlikely that
many other states would continue to provide troops once the democratic
process has reached its successful conclusion.

TAL Article 3A.
Bradley Graham, “Army Plans To Keep Iraq Troop Level Through '06,” Washington Post, 25
January 2005.

Thomas S. MOWLE


Successful conclusion of the democratic process entails the selection of
an ITG that will remain stable in office through the writing and ratification of a
new Iraqi constitution. While many issues will be relevant to that constitution,
the most significant will center on the Kurdish-Shia relationship: what will be
the status of Kirkuk, how much autonomy will Kurdistan have, how will
authority be distributed between federal and provincial levels, and what will be
the relationship between Islam and governance. In addition, the ITG’s
legitimacy will affect its ability to improve security and get national support for
a constitution. With a constitution ratified and campaigning beginning for the
first elections under Iraqi rules, the final contentious issue will be the continued
role for the United States and any other foreign forces willing to stay past
UNSCR 1546’s expiration.

Kirkuk, capital of Tamim province and host to the second-largest oil
fields in Iraq, is contested territory. Both Kurds and Turkomen claim the city
as their historic center; Arabs claim it in the name of Iraqi unity and as the
result of Saddam’s Arabization campaign. Historical census data is disputed,
conflicting, and ultimately irrelevant – no numbers will convince any of these
groups to give up their claims.83 Under the TAL, Kirkuk and Baghdad are not
permitted to join a larger “region,” such as the Kurdistan Regional
Government, nor may the boundaries of any province be changed.84
Furthermore, the “permanent resolution of disputed territories, including

An excellent discussion of Kirkuk and its politics is Nir Rosen, “In the Balance,” The New York
Times Magazine, 20 February 2005. See also Nermeen al-Mufti, “Turkomans under Threat,”
Iraqi Crisis Report 24, 25 June 2003; Sirwan Gharib, “Kirkuk’s Displaced Still Homeless,” Iraqi
Crisis Report 68, 14 June 2004; Twana Osman, “Comment: A Kurdish Jerusalem,” Iraqi Crisis
Report 84, 11 October 2004; and Soran Dawoodi, “Kurd Demos Spark Ethnic Conflict
Concerns,” Iraqi Crisis Report 84, 11 October 2004.
TAL Article 53A, B, and C.


Kirkuk,” is to wait until after the ratification of the new constitution, a census
has been taken, and investigation of the Ba’athist regime’s demographic
manipulations is complete.85 The major part of this investigation will be
undertaken by the Iraqi Property Claims Commission (IPCC), which is looking
at forced migrations in and out of Kirkuk and the forced alteration of citizens’
ethnic affiliation. Migrants are to be returned or compensated.86 The
Presidency Council or an arbitrator appointed at its request is also supposed to
recommend changes to political boundaries, possibly correcting Saddam’s
movement of Kurdish areas into Arab provinces.87

The Kurdish leadership, however, is not eager to wait for these steps to
be complete before establishing Kirkuk as part of – probably the capital of –
Kurdistan. Throughout 2004, thousands of Kurds moved into Kirkuk, first in
an attempt to beat the planned (and cancelled) census, then in an attempt to
influence the provincial elections. Initially, these new residents were not going
to be able to vote, but after the main Kurdish parties threatened to boycott
provincial elections, the IECI ruled in mid-January that an estimated 72,000
Kurds could vote. The PUK and KDP quickly assembled a Kirkuk
Brotherhood List, which included Arabs and Turkomen, to compete in these
elections.88 This list won 26 of 41 seats on the provincial council.89

TAL Article 58C.
TAL Article 58A
TAL Article 58B
Ommar Gharib, “Kirkuk Parties Upset at Kurdish Returnee Vote,” Iraqi Crisis Report 99, 25
January 2005; Ommar Ghardib, “Kurdish Parties Team Up in Kirkuk,” Iraqi Crisis Report 102,
26 January 2005.
Talar Nadir and Zaineb Naji, “Kurds Set Out Their Demands,” Iraqi Crisis Report 113, 18
February 2005. Their numbers are at odds with the official IECI results, provided in the text.

Thomas S. MOWLE

Assurance that Kirkuk will become a Kurdish city is likely to be a key
element in any deal between the KA and UIA over forming an ITG. The UIA
may be more willing to deal with the Kurds on this issue than the more
moderate parties that emphasize Iraqi unity. The open question for the
constitution is whether the Kurds would insist on the formal transfer of Kirkuk
as a provision, or if they would accept a referendum on final status that would
be conducted on favorable terms. In other words – would the Kurds reject a
constitution that did not give them Kirkuk outright? This seems unlikely, if
their other conditions are granted, if only because a formal transfer of Kirkuk
might lead to a large negative Sunni vote in the constitutional referendum.

The status of Kurdistan itself is closely tied to the status of Kirkuk.
The TAL designates the Kurdish regions, above a “green line” that includes
Dohuk, Irbil, and Sulaimaniya provinces, as well as parts of Tamim, Diyala, and
Nineveh provinces, as the Kurdistan region.90 These areas have been
essentially autonomous since the end of the first U.S.-Iraq war in 1991. The
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which includes only the first three
provinces, is allowed to control its police and internal security and impose
taxes.91 Furthermore, the KRG may amend or nullify federal laws except for
the establishment of federal courts and areas under the exclusive competency
of the federal government.92 The latter include citizenship, economic policy,
national security policy, foreign policy, and management of natural resources.93

It is extremely unlikely that the Kurds would accept any diminution of
this level of autonomy, as both Talabani and Barzani noted in a letter to Bush

TAL Article 53A
TAL Article 54A
TAL Article 54B
TAL Article 25


in June 2004. They said they were “bitterly disappointed” that both the prime
minister and president would be Arabs. Further, they said, “If the TAL is
abrogated, the KRG will have no choice but to refrain from participating in the
central government and its institutions… and to bar representatives of the
central government from Kurdistan.”94 In an unofficial parallel referendum, a
majority of Kurds voted for independence in January.95 In addition, the Kurds
would like to gain control of revenue from the Kirkuk oil fields.96 Once again,
the KA is more likely to be accommodated on this issue by the UIA than by the
moderate parties that want a more centralized state. Both the Shia and Kurds
have an interest in taking control of oil revenues;97 the Sunni would likely reject
such a measure since few natural resources exist in their areas, other than the
headwaters of the two rivers.

Kurdish autonomy is more palatable to Arabs if it is in context with
federalism in general. The TAL is designed to promote local authority rather
than have power centrally aggregated, and the powers not exclusively under the
federal government – including most areas of legislation – may be exercised at
the provincial or regional level.98 Any group of three or more governorates –
except Tamim and Baghdad – may form a regional government like

Eric Watkins, “Iraqi Kurds Hint at Independence,” Iraqi Crisis Report 66, 7 June 2004.
Talar Nadir, “Kurds Stage Unofficial Independence Vote,” Iraqi Crisis Report 107, 31 January
2005; Jeffrey Fleishman, “Iraqi Kurds See Chance to Press for Statehood,” Los Angeles
Times, 1 Feburary 2005, reports that 1.7 million Kurds, or 45% of the population, signed an
independence petition.
Edward Wong, “Iraqi Kurds Detail Demands for a Degree of Autonomy,” The New York
Times, 18 February 2005.
Talar Nadir and Zaineb Naji, “Kurds Set Out Their Demands,” Iraqi Crisis Report 113, 18
February 2005.
TAL Articles 4, 52, 57A

Thomas S. MOWLE

Kurdistan’s.99 Proposals have been mooted for a southern region around the
Basra oilfields and for a mid-Euphrates region;100 the Sunni could also form a
region to increase the power of the areas in which they have a majority. The
UIA seems more supportive of this federal project than the moderate parties,
which also creates room for accommodation of Sunni concerns.

The final major constitutional issue will be the role of Islam in
government.101 Islam is recognized in the TAL as “the official religion of the
State and…a source of legislation.”102 Iraqis differ, however, with respect to
how deeply Islam should influence governance. Most members of the UIA,
including Ja’afari, would like Islam to define laws on many social and family
issues;103 most Kurds and members of moderate parties would like Islam
confined to a narrower range of policies. While the Sunni are divided on this
issue just like the Shia, Sunni and Shia religious leaders do not find common
ground regarding the interpretation of Islamic law. This issue, and the three-
province veto over the constitution, provoked a short-lived refusal by several
Shia leaders, including Ja’afari, to sign the TAL in March 2004.104

Federalism provides a way out of this potential deadlock. Islam has
relatively little to say about the Article 25 areas of exclusive central competence.

TAL Article 53C
Al-Taakhi, reprinted in Iraqi Press Monitor 205, 7 December 2004.
The fate of party-linked militias will likely be resolved by folding them into security forces –
since the largest such militias are the Kurds’ peshmerga and SCIRI’s Badr Organization.
Neither the Kurds nor the Shia are going to take much action to reverse the de-
Ba’athification order, CPA Order 1, 16 May 03.
TAL Article 7A.
John Daniszewski, “Acting as an Iraqi First, a Shiite Second,” Los Angeles Times, 20 February
“Constitution Blow,” Iraqi Crisis Report 51, 5 March 2004; Dhiya Rasan, Wiam al-Jaf, and Ali
al-Naji, “Leaders Sign Up to New Constitution,” Iraqi Crisis Report 52, 8 March 2004.


If social policies are left largely to the provinces, different policies could apply
in different areas. This could be the final building block in a grand compromise
among Kurd and Shia leaders: the Shia would retain the ability to impose
Islamic laws where they dominated, while the Kurds would be free to be
exempt from such legislation. This compromise might be acceptable to the
more cosmopolitan Baghdad residents, as well as to the Sunni provinces. The
Kurds have indicated they would be willing to take Kirkuk while leaving the oil
revenue nationally shared, which might appease the Arabs (this is an easier
concession for the Kurds than it might seem, since the oil pipelines from
Kirkuk run southwest through majority Arab areas). They might be willing to
accept the oil revenue and defer Kirkuk, which also might appease some Arabs.
The main opposition to this compromise would be the moderate Arab leaders,
whose lack of national popularity has already been demonstrated.

While this compromise would seem, on the surface, to lay the
foundation for a ratifiable constitution in Iraq, there is an additional factor: the
success of the ITG in providing security. Constitutional referenda are votes of
confidence in the incumbent government as much as they are votes on the
substance of the issue. If the insurgency retains its hold on parts of Iraq, and
especially if it spreads to relatively-peaceful Kurdistan or the Shia south, people
may reject any document put forth by the ITG. Continued violence would
undermine economic progress, which will matter more to most voters than the
abstract principles in the constitution. Nevertheless, any document approved
by Sistani is likely to win the votes of almost all Iraqi Shia, and the drafters
would be foolish to put forth a document likely to provoke a Kurdish veto.
Unless there is a complete collapse of the security situation in Iraq, the only real
barrier to ratification would be the Sunni 3-province veto, which may not even
be possible. As long as the Sunni participate in the drafting, enough of them
are likely to see the advantages of a federal Iraq to allow the document to come
into effect in late 2005 or, more likely, mid 2006.

Thomas S. MOWLE

This paper makes no projection as to the structure of the future Iraqi
government, or whether it will be a parliamentary, presidential, or mixed
system. It is likely, or at least to be hoped, that some provision will be made to
prevent full control of central power from falling into the hands of one Iraqi
group; divisions among the Shia would make it difficult for them to gain an
absolute majority if all Iraqis vote in similar proportions. At the least, however,
the possible outcomes of the election will be more transparent to voters than
the TNA elections were – Aziz al-Hakim, first on the UIA ballot, apparently
was not even considered for prime minister; Talabani was not supported by ¾
of the voters. Candidates in December 2005 (or summer 2006) will be able to
run more explicitly for President or Prime Minister than they were this time.

For such candidates, running in the twilight of UNSCR 1546, a leading
campaign issue will be the tenure of American forces in Iraq. Reduction or full
withdrawal of such forces seems certain to be a winning campaign platform;
even candidates who prefer a prolonged American security presence will feel
pressured by their opponents to promise to send the Americans home. Even if
some reduced force posture is considered wise as the counter-insurgency
operations continue – a force posture that would be a fraction of the current
levels, and probably devoted to training and advising more than combat –
permanent American bases in Iraq would seem to be out of the question for
any popular Iraqi nationalist. Al-Hakim laughed at the notion in March, saying
“No one in Iraq desires the establishment of permanent foreign bases on our
land. The UNSC resolutions are clear: it will be up to the elected Iraqi
government, when the time comes, to give those forces a specific departure
date. As soon as possible.”105

Patrice Claude, “’Foreign Forces Must Leave Iraq as Soon as Possible,’ Declares the Head of
the Shiite Alliance,” Le Monde, 8 March 2005.



The preceding predicts that by mid 2006, Iraq will have an elected
government based on a federal system, a minimal American troop presence,
and substantial Kurdish autonomy and influence over Kirkuk. The insurgency
will continue, but with a reduced appeal as Iraqi security forces become more
competent and as Sunni leaders’ fear of Shia domination are eased by
constitutional provisions. Reduction of American forces will also reduce the
insurgents’ appeal; given that the constitutional government will ask the
Americans to leave, it might help the Iraqi government if the United States
announced an intention to do so. A more peaceful Iraq has the human and
natural resources to make economic and social progress, returning to its historic
position as a significant regional power.

Turkey would then find that it has a regional partner that it can work
with, based on some common ideology and a good fit in international trade.
Kurdish autonomy in Iraq will not be much different than Kurdish autonomy
under the no-fly zones, and a prosperous Kurdistan could be an economic
boon for southeastern Turkey. The Iraqi Kurds have historically not offered
much support for violence among Kurds in Turkey (they have even cooperated
with the Turkish army in its efforts against the PKK), and this is unlikely to
change in the future. Kurdish autonomy in Iraq would probably increase
Kurdish pressure within Turkey; the form this takes will be up to the Ankara
government. The most bitter pill for Turkey would be the loss of Turkomen
control of Kirkuk. One would expect, however, that Turkish aspirations for
membership in the European Union will quell any coercion from Turkey, as
long as those aspirations continue to seem viable. The same aspirations will
also produce pressure on Ankara to continue accommodating the interests of

Thomas S. MOWLE

Kurds in Turkey.106 In February, the Turkish government announced “we will
not object if the majority of Iraqis demand federalism,” and a delegate meeting
with Talabani asked him merely to “avoid sudden movements on Kirkuk.”107

While Iranian support for the Iraqi Shia cannot be denied, the Iranian
government will find any dreams of influence quickly dashed. The Arab-
Persian divide runs much deeper than Shia commonality. Allegations of ties to
Iran are almost as devastating to an Iraqi politician as are ties to the United
States. Iraqi Shia will be careful to set their own course, and may raise
questions about the Arab minority in Iran. Iraqi Kurds may raise similar
questions about their brethren in Iran. A democratic Shia-ruled state in Iraq is
likely to inspire calls for reform among already disillusioned Iranians. Many
factors interact here, including popular Iranian reaction to international
pressure over nuclear weapons, so it is unwise to predict an Iranian counter-
revolution. The Iranian regime will, however, have to spend more time being
concerned with its own tenure than with trying to influence Baghdad.

Syria would also face pressure, although its government does not face
nearly the level of opposition that the Iranian does. Syria is responding to
international pressure over its presence in Lebanon, and popular reaction to the
assassination of Rafik Hariri suggests that Lebanon may be the next Arab state
to establish a sovereign democracy. The Ba’ath regime in Syria seems to be in
little danger, but its support for the insurgency will not win it friends in
Baghdad. A growing Iraq will mean that any Syrian hopes for regional pre-
eminence will once again be frustrated.

For further discussion of Turkey and Iraqi Kurds, see Bill Park, “Iraq’s Kurds and Turkey:
Challenges for US Policy,” Parameters, Autumn 2004, pp. 18-30.
Salih Boztas, “Turkey Accepts a Federal Structure in Iraq,” Zaman, 27 February 2005.


Other Arab states, in the Gulf and beyond, would need to confront the
implications of a mostly successful, mostly liberal Iraq. Jordan, the most liberal
of these, would benefit from trade, and would be likely to continue to open its
society. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, with their large Shia populations, especially
will feel popular pressure. The more important variable here, and the limiting
factor on the spread of democracy, will be an Arab-Israeli settlement.
Discussion of the latter falls far outside the scope of this paper, but the
combination of peace in Iraq and in Israel would be truly revolutionary. It
remains to be seen if all parties will seize the current opportunity, or let it slide
away again.

For the United States, the projected outcome doesn’t fully fit its
aspirations, but the end result may actually be better. The United States would
not have permanent bases in Iraq, but those bases would have become lasting
targets for Iraqi and Islamic agitators. The Iraqi government will not be as
liberal as it would have been under someone like Pachachi, and it will be
strongly influenced by Islamic law – but the Iraqi government will also reflect
the preferences of the Iraqi people. Neither a Ja’afari government nor its likely
successors would be considered American puppets, so they could work with
the United States on matters of common interests. Resentment towards the
United States would linger under a more moderate leader. More importantly,
this Iraq would become strong enough to repel terrorism, and will be genuine
enough to inspire liberal reforms elsewhere in the Arab and Islamic worlds.
Under this outcome, despite the mistakes, American policy will seem to have
been vindicated. The difficulty of achieving the outcome may, however,
discourage the United States from attempting a similar mission elsewhere.


While this is an optimistic scenario, it is by no means certain to
happen. The Iraqi election, and subsequent formation of a Transitional

Thomas S. MOWLE

Government, are but the first steps across the tightrope to a liberal and
prosperous Iraq. The grand federal compromise among Shia and Kurds
requires both to give up some of their political goals, and asserts that the Sunni
will accept a federal system with central distribution of oil revenue in exchange
for the loss of Kirkuk to an enlarged Kurdistan. On the other hand, politics
cannot succeed without such a vision – and all the elements are in place for it.
The federal solution would also help reduce the prospects that a future Iraqi
leader disbands democracy.

Democracy can thus succeed in Iraq. The 30 January elections
demonstrated the dedication of the average Iraqi; the Sunni boycott was not a
rejection of democracy but rather a rejection of the American occupation
mixed with a justified fear of the armed rebellion. If, as 2005 progresses,
American forces are clearly headed toward a drawdown and constitutional
measures are in place that ensure Sunni rights in a Shia-majority state, the MUC
will not advocate a boycott of the ensuing elections. While the Sunni can never
win a majority of seats in a national parliament, the UIA is also unlikely to
remain intact as effectively the sole voice of the Shia. The Sunni, along with
the Kurds, will be able to find suitable political partners in future governments.

As the decade progresses, one can expect Iraq to become more
prosperous and independent. Iraqis do not share the goals of global terrorism,
and as an independent and liberal state they would try to exclude such
movements from their country, just as the Turks do. Prosperity under a federal
system would siphon away insurgent support by providing alternative
employment to former Ba’athists and military members. The departure of
American forces from Iraq will also strike a blow against insurgent recruiting, as
long as that departure occurs after the election of a legitimate constitutional
government with the security forces to protect the population from attack. In
2006, American or coalition forces may remain for training, and perhaps also in


some ready location in case the insurgency flares up. It is difficult to imagine,
however, that Iraq would accept permanent American bases – staging rights
such as those offered by neutral Ireland through Shannon airport might be
possible. This combination of factors, especially if joined by a turn to
independent democracy in Lebanon and progress on the Palestinian problem,
would create the conditions for a more peaceful Middle East and enhance
Turkey’s role as a bridge between the Arab and European worlds.

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul


Kamran TAREMI*

I would like to start by thanking the organizers of this conference for
giving me the opportunity to address to this gathering.

The topic I would like to talk about is Iranian foreign policy towards
post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. In that context, I will discuss the Iranian
perceptions of the United States’ invasion of Iraq, as well as the policies that
stem from these perceptions. I will argue that the US invasion transformed
Iranian-Iraqi relations into an extension of Iranian-American relations.

Further, I will contend that, in the two years since the invasion, the
Iranian government has pursued two goals in Iraq. The first has been to ensure
that the US invasion of Iraq will not be followed by an attack on Iran. And the
second has been to facilitate the holding of elections in Iraq which were
expected to produce two desirable results: a government dominated by the
Shiites and the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq at the earliest possible
time. The achievement of these goals translated into a cautious policy, itself,
(how should I put it?) … a cautious policy that sought to restore order and
stability to Iraq.

Dr.; Tehran University/ Iran.

I will further contend that by and large Iran was successful in achieving
its goals in Iraq due to a combination of factors, namely the US’s initial
miscalculations about the situation in the ground in Iraq, the increasing
resistance to the Iraqi occupation and Iran’s long-term investment in Iraqi
opposition groups.

Now, let us see what factors have shaped the Iranian policy towards
the US-occupied Iraq. Traditionally, a combination of international, regional
and domestic factors combined to shape Iranian policy towards our neighbor.
But the US invasion of Iraq has completely changed that situation. With the
United States now practically running Iraq for the past few years, the
international factors have assumed an overwhelming importance suppressing
the role of regional and domestic factors in shaping Iranian policy towards Iraq.
In other words, whilst in the past Iran relations with Iraq, with the United
States superpower, were only one of the factors that influenced Iran’s policy
towards Iraq, after the invasion, the international factors, that is Iran’s relations
with the United States, have emerged as almost the sole factor shaping the
Iranian ties with Iraq.

Now, I would first of all like to explain how the Iran-US relationship
influenced Iran’s stance on the US decision to invade Iraq. That mean, 2002,
the Kurds’ signs emerged of a US mobilization for the invasion, the Iran
government lost no time in opposing the use of force against Iraq. From
Tehran’s point of view, the US decision to invade Iraq was part and parcel of a
larger scheme that was aimed to eliminating all challenges to the US hegemony
in the Middle East. The leadership in Iran was confident that once the United
States has dealt with the Saddam Hussein, it would unleash its military machine
against the Islamic Republic of Iran. But it is clear from the Iranian government
pronouncements that even if the US invasion of Iraq would not be followed by
an attack on Iran, it still opposed the invasion. The chief reason for that was


the Iranian government feared once the Americans came and defeated and
overthrown the Baath regime, they would install their client state which would
pose a host of threats to the security of the Islamic Republic. There was this
clear preference for the survival of Saddam Hussein in comparison with a
government placed in power in Iraq by the Americans.

Now, Iran responded in three ways to the US decision to, US
mobilization for the invasion. Diplomatically, the Republic… Diplomatically,
Iran… The first instrument was diplomacy. Iran actually, in that context, Iran
called on Iraq to comply fully with all UN Resolutions so as to deprive the
United States of an excuse for the invasion. It also tried to rally Russia, China,
the Europeans, as well the regional countries against the war. But of course, all
of these efforts came to nothing.

In parallel, the Iranian government took steps to actually consolidate
its position in Iraq for the post-invasion [indistinct word] and the real jostling
for power begin. So, in the few years before the invasion begun to systemically
infiltrate the forces of the Shiite elements, Iraqi Shiite opposition groups
backed their country where they had already established a large network of
resistance cells. Now, these forces were not expected to put up any resistance
to the invasion. They were just supposed to stay ready for any post-war

The third response from Iran was of course to put on a show of
military muscle, tell the Americans that they were ready to defend the country if
need be. So what we can see as the invasion neared, the Iranian government put
its armed forces on alert, it stationed troops alongside the common borders
with Iraq. It also began holding a series of very large-scale military exercises.
Finally, it announced the deployment of a strategic missile site without
elaborating exactly what was meant, but analysts interpreted that would mean
that this missile was armed with biological or chemical warheads.


Now, of course, what we had was that in March of 2003 the United
States actually invaded Iraq. Let us see how Iran responded to the invasion and
outbreak of war in its neighboring country. The official position of the Iranian
government was that Iran was neutral, meaning it would not side with either
belligerent during the course of hostilities. However, the Iranian government’s
pronouncements and the way that the news of the war was reported in the
Iranian media made it clear that Iran preferred the survival of Saddam Hussein
and wished for an ignominious defeat for the United States. So, listening to the
government-owned media, the war was depicted as one between David and
Goliath, on the one side were the Americans who were bombarding the Iraqis,
Iraqi women and children day and night; and on the other side were the Muslim
people of Iraq resisting the invasion of the infidels.

The prevailing view amongst the Iranian military commanders and
high-ranking Iranian officials was that the war would be a drawn out affair and,
in the course, the United States would sustain heavy casualties. So, when after
three weeks of fighting the Iraqi army and with it the Baath regime collapsed,
there was a great deal of fear and anxiety in Tehran.

Let us see now how Iran reacted to… what kind of policies Iran has
actually adopted towards US-occupied Iraq. The invasion and fall of Saddam
Hussein’s regime presented Iran with a completely new situation on its western
borders. But it did not take the Iranian government long to adapt to the new
situation in Iraq, and adapt a more balanced view of the developments in that
country. For instance, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, the head of the Iranian Expediency
Council, argued that the US invasion of Iraq per se was neither good nor bad.
What was important was what would happen after the invasion. He held that, if
the United States was successful in imposing a client state in Iraq, then that
would certainly be detrimental to Iranian interests. On the other hand, if
democratic elections were held in Iraq and a representative government


emerged in that country, that would be in Iranian interests because any such
government would be dominated by the Shiites, and of course, the Shiites
would allying themselves with their Iranian co-religionists. These perceptions
formed the background to Iranian policy towards Iraq as it emerged after the

The first goal of this policy was to prevent a US attack on Iran. So
what the government, what the Iranian government tried to do was to show the
international community that it was playing a constructive role in post-Saddam
Hussein Iraq as it has indeed been doing post-Taliban Afghanistan.

Now, what that translated into was that the Iranian government
supported the participation of the Iraqi Shiite political organizations and parties
in the political process that was sponsored by the United States. So, with the
support of the Iranian government, these Shiite groups actually first joined the
Governing Council set up by the CPA. So you have… what you have… what
you can see is that the Deputy Head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic
Revolution in Iraq joined the CPA, at the same time the Head of the Islamic
Dawa Party, Mr. Al Jaffary, also became a member. And they went beyond that.
They called on the international community to support the Governing Council
in Iraq.

Similarly, when in June of last year the CPA was dissolved and gave
way to the Interim Government, again the Shiites actively participated in the
Interim Government either as, you know, Vice Presidents or ministers or vice

At the same time, of course, Iran made sure that the armed wings of
these Shiite parties would not engaged the US forces in Iraq.

The second goal of the Iranian government, as I mentioned before,
was to facilitate the holding of elections in Iraq because it was believed that the


holding of elections would put an end to the American military presence in Iraq
and it would also bring in a Shiite-dominated government. However, for the
elections to be held in Iraq it was necessary to create a calm atmosphere and
hence the Iranian government concentrated its efforts in restoring security to
Iraq. In that context, it took a number of steps. It… for instance it… invited
Muqtada Sadr to Tehran in June 2003. While Muqtada Sadr was in Tehran, he
was strongly advised against resorting to force against the coalition. He was told
explicitly that the resort to force would not be in the interest of the Shiite
community. But Iran went beyond advising, trying to calm the situation in Iraq.
When the first round of fighting began between Muqtada Sadr and the coalition
in April of 2003, the Iranian government immediately intervened and tried to
use its political influence to convince Sadr to desist from use of force against
the coalition. Similarly, in August of 2004, when the second round of fighting
broke out, again Iran used its influence in Iraq to try to contain the fighting and
convince Mr. Sadr to set aside arms and join the political process. Iran even
went further than that and expressed its unhappiness for the first time of the
course taken by Muqtada Sadr. As a sign of that Ayatollah Ha’ari, a prominent
Merciat Al Taklid, a source of emulation in Iraq, who had earlier appointed
Muqtada Al Sadr as his representative in Iraq, removed Sadr from this position.
In explaining why he had done it, he said that Mr. Sadr formed an army without
his permission and had engaged the coalition forces without his approval. This
was certainly done with, you know, with the consent and with the support of
Iranian government.

More interestingly at this juncture, that is in June 2003, the Iranian
government began to completely reassess the situation in Iraq with respect to
consequences of invasion. Let us see why…what factors brought in… resulted
in… or caused this reassessment. There was a host of factors. First of all, there
was the increasing resistance to the US invasion in Iraq. And there was also this
perception in Tehran that given the fact that the United States not managed to


produce any evidence concerning Iraq’s position of weapons of mass
destruction, so there was no support inside the United States, there was no
public support for, you know, taking further military action against other
countries. And the Iranian government basically believes that the Congress
would not support another round of fighting with another regional country. So,
basically,…there was also this issue that the United States was… had its forces
overstretched and it was not capable of launching military… another invasion
against Iran. These perceptions of the situation on the ground convinced the
Iranian government to completely reassess the situation in Iraq. They came to
see the invasion as a godsend, as a blessing, and this resulted in a more assertive
and confident policy on the part of Iranian government in Iraq.

Thank you very much for listening.

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul


Mahir NAKIP*

Thank you very much Chairman. Actually, I selected this subject
because I believe that Kirkuk is the biggest struggle between Kurds from one
side and Arabs and Turcoman from the other side. I divided the paper into
three parts: historical identity, cultural identity, and political identity. Finally, I
will try to make a conclusion in the end of the paper.

First of all, let me talk a little bit about the historical identity of the city.
It is possible to say that Turks started to settle down in Kirkuk after 834-35.
Tugrul Bey, the ruler of the Seljuks, entered Iraq in 1055 with his army that was
composed of mostly Oguz Turks. Aslantash’s son, Kipchak, took the control of
Kirkuk in 1130. The most famous member of this dynasty was Muzaffer Ed-
Din Gokboru, who lived between 1154 and 1232. This Turkish hero had a lot
of artworks built most of which have survived. Therefore, we can say that
Kirkuk and Erbil were turkified in the middle of 14th century. Turkish started
to be used as an official language in Iraq. It is known that Timur visited the
Kirkuk castle in 1393. The Black Sheep State captured the castle eighteen years
later. Today the White Sheep (Akkoyunlu) and the Black Sheep (Karakoyunlu)

Prof. Dr. ; Erciyes University / Turkey.

are the surnames of two well-known Turcoman families who live in Kirkuk and

The Safawid became a Shia Turcoman state in 1508, and they governed
Iraq until 1534, when Suleyman the Magnificent went to Iraq for Iraqi
campaign in 1534. Turkish poet Fuzuli, who was from Kirkuk and a member of
Bayat tribe, presented the famous Baghdad Qasideh to the Sultan. Murat the
Fourth has started his Baghdad campaign in 1638. Baghdad was taken from the
Safawid state and Kirkuk became a city of the Ottoman Empire again. The
Ottoman Empire dominated Kirkuk until 1918.

As you understand from this review, Kirkuk embraced the Turkish
culture ten centuries ago. Batatu, who is originally an Arabian writer, accepted
that Kirkuk is a Turcoman settlement. Edmonds is another researcher who
studied the ethnic structure of the region. This author, whose book entitled
“Kurds, Turks and Arabs”, states that the population of Kirkuk was about
twenty five thousand and most of them were Turcoman in 1922.

England aimed to control oil reserves in Kirkuk by entering Iraq at the
beginning of 20th century. They fought against the Ottoman army until they
captured Kirkuk. The government in Baghdad accepted the existence of
Turcoman. The Education and Health Ministries were consigned to İzzet
Pasha, who is a Turcoman from Kirkuk. In the cabinet that was assembled by
Abd ur-Rahman Geylani in 1920, the settlers of Kirkuk refused the Kingship of
Prince Faysal in the referendum that was held in July 1921. They showed clearly
that they were against the British regime. [They] Put forward four conditions
for supporting the British regime: first, not to interfere in the government
formation process after the elections; second, to protect the Turkish identity in
the local government in Kirkuk; three, to accept Turkish as an official language
in Kirkuk; four, to give responsibility to the Turcoman in all the cabinets that
would be assembled in Baghdad.


Iraq Prime Minister Abd Al-Muhseen Al Sadud responded to these
conditions with a letter written in Turkish in 1923 and informed there that the
second and third conditions were accepted. The first conflict between the
Turcoman and British government in Kirkuk occurred in 1924. A lot of
Turcoman died in the fight between the Teyyarîs [Assyrian solders and levies in
the service of the British occupation during 4 May 1924 attacks in Kirkuk], the
supporters of the British regime, and the Kirkuk’s big market tradesmen. The
names and professions of one hundred ninety nine people who suffered from
the fight were published in the newspaper Nejme and they were all Turcoman.

The Gavurbagi Massacre took place in 1946. The Iraqi police fired on
workers who started a protest march from an oil company.

Abd al-Kerim Qasim’s coup of July 1958 eliminated the Kingdom in
Iraq. The Turcomans were pleased of declaration of a republic. However, the
Turcoman in Kirkuk were worried about the Communist Party’s activities for
coming to power. Especially, Kurdish leader Mullah Mustafa Barzani’s attempt
to make Kirkuk a city of Kurdistan and his cooperation with the Communist
Party disquieted the citizens in the city.

General Nazim Tabakchali, the Commander of the Second Division,
sent a secret report to Qasim in September 1958. In this report he said,
“Although the citizens of Kirkuk are not Kurdish, there is the intention to
include Kirkuk in Kurdistan. The purpose here is to dominate petroleum which
is the national wealth of all Iraqis.” Tabakchali sent another report in January
1959 and revealed the secret activities of Kurdish officers in the army. He
telegraphed in 1958 and said, “Please pay attention to the report that we
previously sent to you. Otherwise, the Kurds will include Kirkuk in Kurdistan
even if the majority of the citizens in Kirkuk are Turcoman. This conflicts with
the national interest of the newly established Republic of Iraq.”


Tabakchali was discharged because of his reports against the
Communist Party and Kurds. Maaruf Berzendji, who is a Kurd originally, was
appointed as the mayor of Kirkuk in July 1959. During the celebration of the
first anniversary of the Republic, some unpleasant incidents occurred and many
Turcoman were arrested. Twenty-five Turcoman citizens were brutally killed
and many Turcoman houses and shops were looted and destroyed.

The Baath Party came into power in 1968 and tried to change the
identity of Kirkuk in the seventies. Saddam, who became the Vice President in
1974, took some Turcoman cities such as Tuz Hurmati and Kifri back from
Kirkuk and joined them with Arabian cities. He forbad Turcoman to buy any
properties in the city. He also sentenced a lot of Turcoman to death in Kirkuk.

While investigating the identity of any city, it is not enough to take into
consideration only the demographic or the ethnic structure of the city. What is
important is the value that the community of that city contributes to its cultural
heritage. The Kirkuk Massacre in 1959 led the migration of many Turcoman
families to Baghdad, though Kirkuk continued to be a Turcoman city until the
beginning the sixties. There have been considerable political interferences in the
ethnic structure of the city. During the rein of Saddam the city was tried to be
Arabized, yet after the war in 2003, excessive Kurdification activities began with
the support of United States army.

Apart from the Turcoman population, another thing that continues to
maintain the city’s Turcoman [character] is the cultural structure. The old
historical works of art – mosques, inns, public baths, bazaars, bridges, home
architecture, press and publications, music and literature in the city – are the
significant indicators that reveal the identity of the city.

The first newspaper published in Kirkuk was journal of Havadis.
Ahmed Medeni Kutsizade was the owner and editor of this newspaper. This


Turkish newspaper was published in February 1911 for the first time and closed
by the English in 1918.

The first Turkish magazine was called Maarif. It was published in April
1913. All the writers of mentioned publications were consisted of Turcomans.
The first newspaper published in Kirkuk after the start of English occupation
was Necme. This newspaper was also published in Turkish and its publication
continued between 1918 and 1926.

In 1926, after Necme newspaper was closed, Kerkük newspaper began
to be published in Turkish. The first weekly newspaper in the Republic period
was Beşhir. It was published in both Turkish and Arabic in July 1957. Yet, after
this date, we do not see any autonomous Turkish newspaper or magazines as a
result of political pressure.

Until the beginning of seventies, there was not any autonomous
Kurdish newspaper or magazine published in Kirkuk. The only Kurdish
magazine published for a short time in 1972 was known as Al Buzuh. Moreover
the first magazine published in Arabic Kurdish was entitled Al Shafaq. Azadi
newspaper in 1959 and Al Taali newspaper in 1960, both of which were
published in Arabic Kurdish, were short-lived newspaper.

It is possible to draw four important conclusions from this short
review actually: the newspapers published in Kirkuk until the mid of forties
were all in Turkish; two, all the staff of those newspapers consisted of
Turcomans; three, Kurdish publication in Kirkuk started only after the
declaration of the Republic; four, in general Kurdish publications were short-

Now let me talk a little bit about the cultural structure of the city. A
considerable number of Turkish art works exist in Kirkuk. Yet Baghdad
government and Saddam demolished most of them. A number of palaces


during the rein of Ottoman Empire and the stone bridge of Kirkuk are among
the demolished works of art. The Kirkuk Castle, which has became the symbol
of Kirkuk, safeguards the oldest historical works of art, ramparts. The Daniel
Peygamber Mosque, considered holy by Turcomans, was originally a Jewish
temple and the Great Mosque was originally a Christian church. Moreover, the
Turcoman showed their respect and affection to the Christianity by calling this
place of worship as Virgin Mary Mosque.

Another Turkish work of art which survived until today is the Blue
Vault (Gök Kümbet). Its construction occurred during the rein of Ilhanid in
1361. Either pashas or Turcoman built all of the art works located in the outer
part of Kirkuk Castle’s during the Ottoman rein, Naqishli Minaret Mosque,
Covered Bazaar, Hajji Numan Mosque, Kirdarlar Mosque, Neftchizadeh
Ibrahim Bey Mosque, Indjili Mosque, and etc.

And an old and original Turcoman civil architecture in Kirkuk attracts
attention. Especially a small part of houses located in the Castle that belongs to
the well-known Turcoman families has survived. Among these are Siddiq Alaf
House, Ali Otrakchi House, and etc.

Not only the owners but also the creators of this civil architecture were
also Turcomans. The first districts of Kirkuk were established in the interior
part of the Castle. Because of the population increase, they began to constitute
new districts around the Castle. The Turcomans, however, populated all of
these districts. The districts where constituted naturally without any
administrative interferences. If we investigate linguistically, we realize that the
names of the majority of these districts are Turkish names. For example, Sari
Kahiya, Avdjilar, Kara Kahiya, Gedikler, Karakachlar and Beyler are not only
the names of the districts but of Turcoman families who lived in the city. These
families have maintained their existence until today.


One of the most considerable thing that reveal a city’s identity and the
cultural heritage over the historical course is the poets, writers and authors who
lived in that city. Imad Ad-Din Nesimi is the oldest poet of Iraqi Turcomans.
Nesimi is the pioneer of the Turkish Sufism, lived between 1370 and 1417. His
fame spread to Balkans, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. A splendid statue of
Nesimi was erected in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan by the Soviet

Another poet who might be only compared to Nesimi was Fuzuli. He
was, arguably, born in Kirkuk. He died in 1556. A house and a mosque are
registered in his name in the records of the Kirkuk Castle. Undoubtedly, he is
the greatest poet of Oguz Turk literature. Also an excellent statue was erected
in Baku. Moreover, one of the biggest squares in Baku is named after Fuzuli.
Moreover, the poems of forty-four Turcoman poets are included in Iraqi
contemporary Turks poets’ anthology, which was prepared by Suphi Saatçi and
Ziyat Akkoyunlu and published by the Turkish Ministry of Culture. The
observation of these poets reveals that thirty-seven out of forty-four poets are
from Kirkuk. When we classify the poems of these poets we can observe that
thirty-one out of these forty-four poets wrote at least one poem on Kirkuk.

Also there are a lot of Turcoman researchers who studied Kirkuk
culture. Ata Terzibaşı is the most prominent of them. Terzibaşı wrote two
hundred seventy-six essays and twenty-six books. All of the books and seventy-
seven per cent of the essays are on Kirkuk Turcoman culture. It is important to
note that in Iraq there has been no other person or institution that wrote such
many works of art on a city.

Let us make a conclusion of the subject. As it should be clear from this
review Kirkuk has culturally been a Turkish city for a long time. Also, the
majority of its citizens have always been Turcomans within the natural progress
of the city. After the twenties, the political interferences in the identity of the


city started. After the sixties, these interferences increased and, after the
seventies, it became serious. Cultural erosion in Kirkuk became more intense
and a planned activity of the government during the rein of Saddam.

Saddam’s fall, unfortunately, did not solve the problems. On the
contrary, the erosion continued in a different style. Only the actors have
changed. Arabization ended and the time of a fast Kurdization activity began.
Saddam tried to Arabize the city by changing its name as Al-Tamin. And now
the Kurdish political leaders announce that they regard the city as the heart of
Kurdistan and that they will fight for the city if necessary.

A question that comes to mind is in which century[…] Suleymanieh.
The answer is very clear, because Kirkuk is an oil city. And now, why do
Kurdish leaders proclaim not Dahuk but Kirkuk as the heart of the so-called
Kurdistan? The reasons for English occupation in Kirkuk and Saddam’s desire
to Arabize the city today are all the same. The struggle is not for Kirkuk or
Kirkuk’s inhabitants, but for Kirkuk’s oil.

Turcoman politicians always ask some questions. Turcomans have
contributed the values mentioned above to the cultural heritage of Kirkuk for
centuries. But the Kurdish people occupied the city in 1991 and, in 2003, they
looted the shops and stores, lit the official title deeds and the population
registers. If Kirkuk is really a Kurdish city, why did they lit and loot title deed
and official vital records? Have those who are claiming that Kirkuk is a Kurdish
city and the heart of so-called Kurdistan been able to contribute any thing to
the culture of this city throughout history? Let us know the values, if any, they
contributed to the city. How many newspapers and journals have they been
able to publish up to now in this city? We know tens of Kurdish writers, tens of
Kurdish artists and musicians from North of Iraq. How many of them were
born in Kirkuk? Also, how many mosques, covered bazaars, barracks, stone
bridges and palaces did they build in this city?


Final conclusion; Despite all these facts the Turcomans are not saying
that Kirkuk is the heart of Turkmenistan, but insisting that Kirkuk is a city that
belongs to all Iraqi people and the oil income of the city should be fairly
distributed among the Iraqi people.

On the other side, the Kurdish political groups have dared to claim
that Kirkuk is situated in so-called Kurdistan and they should exclusively have
the oil income. The problem exists partly because of the fact that the United
States has followed wrong policies in the region. No doubt that the Iraqi
people, including Turcoman, are grateful to the American people due to the
fact that they saved them from Saddam. However, not only that the Iraqi
people did not received the justice, democracy, freedom and welfare promised
by the United States government, but also the previous order, though it was a
bad one, disappeared with the arrival of the American soldiers. The United
States has not been able to create a new order yet. Moreover, it has ignored the
injustices and wrongful behavior in the region.

All of these indicate that the case of Kirkuk should be internationally
debated and certain parameters, such as cultural contribution, should be
determined. This would be the most appropriate way to reach a lasting solution
to the question. Natural sources of this city should be under the control of
central government in Baghdad, not under the control of any single ethnic

Kirkuk should have a special status that would give Turcomans, Arabs
and Kurds equal representative rights and ensure that no group will be in a
position to dominate other groups. The real owners of Kirkuk have done their
best for the city. Today, without a just arbiter, Kirkuk cannot find its real
owner. Kirkuk should be the heart of Turcoman, Arab and Kurdish peoples’
brotherhood, not the heart of the so-called Kurdistan. Without abandoning a


fanatic approach, it is impossible to establish peace in Iraq. The cultural
heritage of Kirkuk should be survived.

Thank you very much.

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul

The New Iraq
March 22nd, 2005 İstanbul

Questions & Answers from the Morning Session

Chair: Özdem Sanberk, Ambassador (rtd.), Turkey.

Question: Is there really a concern about a possible Shia and through
Shias an Iranian influence in the area and the actions of the Gulf countries?

Chair: Thank you. The floor is yours Mr. Rantavi.

Mr. Al-Rantavi’s reply: I think the concerns about the so-called Shia
crescent dominated by Iran is not a Jordanian concern. It is also there in the
Gulf States. But Jordan, I think, is worried too much by this dominating
presence in many aspects. This process, for example, the lasted for few years
and months we find many parties in this crescent involved in acts to give
[inaudible] peace process in the Middle East. They are not encouraging this
process. They are putting obstacles and difficulties on the path of this process.
In the manner of, for example, Hizbullah [inaudible] … joint ventures by Syria
and Iran [inaudible]. In the last few weeks only Hizbullah encouraging some
extremists in the Palestinian communities to permit and to incite attacks to
complicate the whole business of the [Mahmoud Abbas] Abu Mazen
government. This world is for us a source of concern. But we are aware about
the road map on relationship between Iran and some other Arab countries.
There is a mutual need for this improvement of relationship when it comes to
security, when it comes to oil, when it comes to counter terrorism, in many
fields. But this doesn’t diminish the concern in all these countries when it

comes to the Shiites all in Iraq and the area. You are aware, surely aware that
the majority of the Bahrain people, for example, are Shiites. The majority of the
eastern part of Saudi Arabia is Shiites. And the debate there was accelerated and
they were transformed into more hot debates in the last few months.
Therefore, I think the concern is there despite all these improvement in the
relationship between those countries and Iran.

Chair: Thank you Mr. Rantavi.

Question: My question is to Mr. Mehdi and I apologize that I cannot
speak Arabic. [Rest of the question is in Turkish with Arabic interpretation –

Chair: [Thanks for question in Turkish]. Dr. Mehdi, the floor is yours.
And the other distinguished panelists also if they want to add.

Dr. Mehdi’s reply: [Reply in Arabic with Turkish interpretation –

Chair: Thank you. Would you like to add anything Mr. Rantavi?

Mr. Al-Rantavi: I am sorry to express my disagreement with my
colleague Dr. Razi concerning this issue. I do believe that this option for Iraq
and the Iraqis is to create a secular state, not to depend on Sheria and
implementing Sheria in the Constitution. Which version of Islam we will take
from when it comes to drafting the Constitution – the Shiite version or the
Sunni version? The God willing is not enough when it comes to the division,
the sectarian division in Iraq. There is a Shiite and there is a Sunni. Within the
Sunnis themselves, there are more than three, four, five, six, I don’t know how
many, versions of Islam. The fundamentalists, the Wahhabism, the Salafia or
Salafism – I don’t know how to translate it into English – and there is also
moderate Islam. There are many readings to Islam within the Sunni community
itself. Implementing Sheria in the case of Iraq, this pluralistic country with Iraqi


diversity that Dr. Abdussalam has explained, I think it is a problematic issue.
The less we refer to Sheria and to religions or to Islam or any other religion in
Iraq, I think it is for the better of the Iraqi future. It is for the best of the future
of Iraq. This is my only comment on this issue.

And I also want to express my disagreement also in another issue. The
federation in Iraq: it is not a disaster to have Iraq built on a federal basis. Why
not? Decentralization, it is not enough maybe. There is a demand for some
Iraqi group. We have to include them, we have to secure that they will be a part
of this united, unified Iraq. Why we did not deal with a federal form for the
future of Iraq? This issue, I want to endorse what Dr. Dina Shehata said that a
form of federalism would be implemented. It is not negotiable nowadays in
Iraq to have a federal or not to have a federal. What kind of federal system we
will have, to what levels we will go ahead with this, with the implementation of
this form of federalism? Thank you.

Chair: Thank you Dr. Al-Rantavi. The panel has a rather pluralistic
stance on this crucial issue. Let us see, other distinguished panelists will think
on this issue. Dr. Abdussalam do you have an idea?

Prof. Dr. Abdussalam: I will go back to my geography. You know
that the geographical environment is very important on these questions. You
can be a Muslim, a Shia, Sunni, Christian, Jewish. If you live in one
geographical site or environment, this environment will effect every movement
of these people who are living together but they differ in their thinking, for
example; economically and socially they must cooperate. Iraq is divided into
two big geographical environments: Mountains and low lands. OK. And these
two big, vast regions have many sub-regions. But there is no obstacle to
cooperate between the mountaineers in the north with the lowland population
economically and socially and culturally. Maybe dialects will be different, maybe


the modes of thinking are also different, but they are completing each other. So
I am optimist in the future of Iraq.

About the federation / confederation: I mentioned something about
this question. I am not the specialist in Kanun, or law, but, in my opinion, it is
very important to have a united Iraq. It is very important. But with the
identities of these national groups and also sectarian groups. You know I
mentioned that the Mandaean Sabians. Before three or four days, they
celebrated their five rite days. And that was, I think, for the first time, for the
first time since I don’t know remember when, and that is a very good sign for
tolerance between these groups in the future. And in my opinion Iraq will be a
united nation, a united country with a democratic constitution, regardless what
my colleagues mentioned now. But we need time and patience. Thank you very

Chair: Thank you very much. Dr. Shehata.

Dr. Shehata’s reply: I just also want to endorse what Mr. Rantavi said
about federalism not being the opposite of unity. There are many successful
democratic, united federal countries, many examples across the world,
especially in countries that have the consociational system where you have
countries like Belgium and India has a federal system and the United States has
a federal system, Switzerland has a federal system. Many, many united, strong
democracies are also federals. So I think we need to get over the negative
associations that come with federalism and our understanding of the concept.

Chair: Thank you so much. Other questions? Yes. I see one. Please
also introduce yourself.

Özgür Mumcu’s question: Özgür Mumcu, University of Galatasaray,
Department International and Public Law. I would like to address my question


to Mr. Mehdi. So I guess I will be speaking in Turkish. [Question in Turkish
with Arabic interpretation – NOT TRANSCRIBED]

Dr. Mehdi’s reply: [Reply in Arabic with Turkish interpretation –

Chair: Thank you for this comprehensive answer.

Hüseyin Beyazıt, Strategic Research Center: During the course of
my education in the United States – it took almost ten years – Iraq, Syria and
Jordan were shown as the states which are going forward in terms of
modernization process, and state-binding process and also nation-making
process. Syria and Iraq were the most important two cases that I studied. And
always shown as very good two Muslim nations that are going to modernization
and, in the long run, will be integrated into the Western world. For Dr. Shehata,
what happened then? Is all these Western – I am talking … I got education in
the United States, myself and Ayvilik Ishmak [?] – but it was this what I was
taught. And then what happened now? Iraq is no longer a state. It is not
modern. Syria, that is what the Western political scientists describe Syria and
Iraq. Even more then Egypt, two most important states in terms of
modernization and also nation-building and also state-making. So then what
happened, what failed? I am confused what happened. And then all this
Western forecasting and us are failed? Also the politics of Iraq and Syria in the
region has been internationalized. … When you go through democracy theories
in political science, in order to have a federal system, you really have to have
very strong nation-binding and national identity and strong state. For this
reason, I mean, if in the past, all these nations, Syria and Iraq were failed,
according to now Western theories, then what your proposition will be for
creating an inclusive political system, not only in Iraq but also in Syria and also
in Jordan? Thank you so much. Maybe other distinguished scholars can
contribute that. Thank you.


Dr. Shehata’s Reply: I think perhaps you were in the States at a time
when modernization theory was, you know, after… [Intervention from floor].
Yes. No, but I mean there was a time when military regimes that were seen as
progressive, as promoting secular values, as women’s rights as Abdel Nasser’s
regime in Egypt and even Saddam Hussein in the 70s. They were seen as taking
their societies perhaps forcefully away from a traditional model to a modern
industrialized model. [Intervention from floor] Well, up until 90s they were
praised as modern. I don’t know but at least, I know at least, there was a time
when military… if you remember the book by Huntingdon, Political Order and
Changing Societies, that was the book that blessed those types of regimes and
these were the right policies to pursue at that stage of their development, and
that they were not mature enough for democracy because there was a high level
of political mobilization that would lead to chaos if you opened up democratic
channels of participation. [Intervention from floor] Yes, yes. I think military
regimes and revolution from above, there was a time when these were seen as a
model, especially during the Cold War perhaps, when there as a fear of leftist
trends in many of these countries. But I think, you know, that proved to be
wrong as we now see. They have not succeeded in building modern nation-
states and even the process of nation building doesn’t seem to have succeeded.

Also the point you made about federalism, being based on a strong
sense of national identity: there is also another opinion that you find in the
literature on consociational democracy that federalism is actually the result of
conflict. When, you know, the members or the different groups of a certain
country have to trade between seceding or trying to find as an alternative
agreement, they go for federalism. It allows for unity while maintaining
diversity. So, there are different opinions about this. I don’t know if this
answers your questions.


Chair: Thank you very much. Dr. Abdusselam would you like to add

Prof. Dr. Abdusselam: Maybe only one thing to add. In Europe
democracy needed not only ten years; years and years. We are going to change
everything in two years in the area. It is impossible. So a kind of economic
confederation our union, it is the first step. You know, Europe had lived too
much wars in two hundred years until they became a democracy. So, in this area
we need time. We need time, patience and work. OK. You mentioned that
democratization and everything in the area. It is going on, but in my opinion
step by step and slowly. So I mentioned that I am optimist not only for Iraq. I
am optimist for the whole area. In the eastern countries of the Mediterranean
Sea, Egypt, you know there are now movements. In Turkey, you see also some
changes. In Iraq, it is changing. In Syria, they are also changing. But we must
wait. We need time. Thank you.

Chair: Thank you very much. Dr. Rantavi, would you like to

Mr. Al-Rantavi: I want to point out one or two points only. In Jordan
we used to compare ourselves with Syria and Iraq to prove that we are in a very
good situation concerning modernization, democratization, human rights. We
used to compare ourselves with the situation in Syria and Iraq. This has been
taking by our governments as a pretext to avoid the pressure from inside for
democratization and reforms in our country. Therefore, I don’t think those
regimes ever been a modal for modernization and progress in our country. I
think the Baathist regime both in Syria and Iraq are committed very serious
problems and obstacles towards democratization and modernization in our
country, not only in Syria and Iraq, but in the whole region. It is a typical
totalitarian regime. They destroy the civil society, the partisanship life, the
political life in the last four or five decades. For the first time in our history, a


president delivered the power, handover the power to his son. It is another
typical…, a new kind of…, a typical of monarchy emerging in Syria, for
example. In Iraq we were in the middle of that process before the war. [If]
There were no war, we [would be] waiting the day when Uday or Kusay to be
successor of his father. This type of totalitarian regime, I think, they never be a
model; they never be identified as a model, at least from a Middle East point of
view, from my point of view as a man whom identifies himself as a democrat
and a liberal, and committed to democratization, to liberalization of our society.
Both regimes are supposed to be pan-Arab nationalist regimes. But they failed
to keep the unity of their own small countries because they are sectarian
regimes in general. The Baathist regime in general depended on the Arab
sovereignty, especially in certain areas such as Tikrit. They summarized the class
and with the party; the party with the family; the family with the father and his
sons. These are the ruling families there, not more. In Syria, I am sorry to say, it
is also a minority ruling regime. The Alewite minority ruling regime in Syria.
And they are threatening the unity of the Syrian people also. They are failed in
solving the minority problem in their own territories. This is our reality. We are
not here to talk some diplomatic words. I am not a diplomat; I have never been
a diplomat anyway. Therefore, this is the reality; we have to take into
consideration if you want to address our serious problems. They failed to keep
the unity of their people, own people. Therefore, I disagree with my colleague
from Iraq about [the allegation that] the sectarian division, this nationalist
division, this ethnic division created by the foreigners. No, it is not true. It has
not emerging in the last two years only. It has roots in the history of the
Baathist regime, in totalitarian [?] regime in Iraq. But they have now after the
war, they have the ability to express themselves. This is the difference between
both Saddam Hussein era and the era during his influence and ruling regime in
Iraq. People nowadays can express themselves, before they cannot. This is the
only difference, but the roots of these problems are there. For us in Jordan, for


example, yes, we started such a democratization process fifteen years ago. We
need time, I agree, for democratization. But fifteen years is enough for Eastern
Europe to meet the Copenhagen standards to be members in the EU. In our
country fifteen years are not enough, forty years are not enough. We suffered
forty, fifty, sixty years of stalemate, no progress on democratization process at
all. This is reality also. We have to take it into consideration, if you want to talk
frankly and to the point on the many problems. Even in Jordan, which is not a
totalitarian regime, we started the democratization …[End of cassette 2 side A]

Mr. Rantavi continues: … nowadays and compare the situation there
with the situation in my country. It is completely different. We are moving
around ourselves. We did not achieve a serious program. We need really to
accelerate such a process but it has serious obstacles to face. Thank you.

Chair: Thank you Mr. Al-Rantavi for the poignant plea for democracy
in the region, but I am sure Dr. Mehdi would like to make same comments, but
I wonder if he was able to follow what you said because you have spoken in
English. Maybe you can resume in Arabic in order to allow Dr. Mehdi to

Dr. Mehdi: [In Arabic with Turkish interpretation – NOT

Chair: Thank you very much Dr. Mehdi. This concludes our session,
the morning session. We thank all the distinguished participants, they and I
think need an applause from all of us.

Questions & Answers from the Afternoon Session

Chair: Prof. Dr. Kemal Kirişçi, Boğaziçi University, Turkey.

Hüseyin Beyazit: My question is for Prof. Thomas Mowle. According
to the official reasons to get into Iraq for the United States government were
weapons of destruction and bringing democracy into the country. You can


hear? [Interjection in Turkish regarding increasing the volume of sound system]
But most of the countries and even the allies don’t think that the reason was
the oil. Now, I wrote it in Turkish so I will translate. Most of the countries in
the region, when they attempt to define their policies, their foreign policies
towards Iraq, they try to figure out how the United States will make Iraq pay
the bill. And, that is the question: How the United States government as like in
Kuwait – and it is, I think going to give the clue for most of the countries in the
region – to define and their standing according to the rules of the payment. My
question is clear Thomas? OK. Thank you. [Interjection in Turkish from the
floor: Who will pay the bill?] Yes, you know, in Kuwait the Sheikh had to pay
the bill, because they had to get rid of the Iraqi army from the region. Now
there is a bill like that and a lot of American soldiers are being killed. And there
is also physical and psychological burden imposed on the American
government. I think, that is one of the reasons the countries and policymakers
are trying to see. Thank you.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mowle: I suppose, well, it is an interesting question.
I have not thought about that but as far as I can tell, I don’t think – to give my
personal view on this – I don’t think the United States is going be trying to get
Iraq paying the bill whatsoever. There may have been an interest in that. I know
that Deputy Secretary [of Defense] Wolfowitz was originally predicted that Iraq
oil exports would pay for the entire thing. But, at this point, I think we are
looking for two hundred billion dollars or something like that, and frankly, I am
going to be paying that bill, my children are going to be paying that bill and
their children are going to be paying that bill. No, I don’t think there is any way
or any intention to make Iraq pay the bill for the occupation.

Mr. Al-Rantavi [interjects]: May I add something? I think the world is
paying this bill – not the United States – because what is the formulation of the
price of oil in the world? Isn’t that the result of the war?


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mowle: Well, it is partially result of the war, partially
result of the increased demand in China and unrest in Venezuela. I think that
the Iraqi oil exports are greater now than they were before the war and yet the
price of oil has gone way up. In fact one of the… about the only people happy
with the price of oil going up are people who are hoping to fund Iraqi
reconstruction, because Iraq is making twice as much money off of oil exports
now than it was at the beginning of the war. So, that at least helps Iraq; it
doesn’t help anybody else. The war in Iraq, if anything, increased oil production
by itself. Maybe I should point out before I have to be in a position of
defending too much here, it’s my own personal opinion, I did not think that the
war was a very good idea, especially the way it was done, and I still don’t think
so. But, again, no one asked me in the American government what I think and
no one is going to now. I don’t want to be in the position of … justify why the
American government did this. That’s not my job and it is also not my personal
view necessarily. Thank you.

Chair’s remarks: Well there is a vacant position at Bogazici
University, if you… my university, if you...

Şinasi Demir: I am very sorry that I was unable to attend to this
morning’s sessions because of the unfortunate schedule of the mine. But these
sessions: I would like to congratulate all of the speakers that the… they were
very great sessions and they were very beneficial. On my behalf, I would like to
thank all of you. I have three questions; two of them for Thomas; the other one
is for our Russian friends. The first: a couple of weeks ago I was in Europe for
another meeting – of course over Iraq. There were some speculations there. I
do not intend to provoke the meeting, but these are really very important
speculations. This is not the other identities’ speculations, but the native Iraqis’
speculations, that during the coalition forces’ operations just after the military
operations, nine billion dollars were lost - I mean the petroleum money is lost –


and nobody knows where it is. That was the first one. The second: yes, in your
presentation, that the you just pressed on that the United States of the America
doesn’t intend to have any permanent bases, but we know of another
speculation, let’s say, that twelve permanent bases maybe in the future would be
built – some of them in the Northern part and some of them in the western
and some of them in the Southern part of Iraq. Is that so? For my Russian
colleague: you know that this is Iraq, but the Iran also is very important for
Iraq. Maybe this is not the platform to ask this question but [it is] up to you to
answer. Russia, this is very clear, that Russia exported some nuclear technology
to Iraq. This is quite clear and many many … I mean that academic and the
other persons accept overtly. But how about the nuclear energy? I mean that,
how does it look from Russia’s standpoint? Does Iran have a right to improve,
develop some type of nuclear energy for peace purposes? Thank you very

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mowle: I guess I should answer the second question
first. Certainly, there are those within the United States that would like to have
permanent bases in Iraq. I am simply saying those bases can actually exist with
the permission of the Iraqi government and my personal opinion is that no
Iraqi government will authorize those bases to be used that way. … That’s
really about all I should say about that. I think that there are people who would
like to have such bases but I don’t think the Iraqis do and, ultimately, the Iraqi
government’s position will have to define that. No country can have bases on
its territory without accepting them unless they are at war with that other
country or something along those lines. As for the rumor about missing money:
rumors in Baghdad are very interesting. [interjection from the floor] I don’t
have it personally… But it is not quite enough money. My favorite rumor is
that Zarkawi is actually a Kurd who is a Mossad agent, and that is pretty
interesting. I had no idea… There are a lot of rumors in Baghdad that there is a


lot of money is missing. I haven’t heard that particular one but I… I don’t
know. What can I say?

Chair: Prof. Nikitin?

Prof. Dr. Nikitin: In fact in the time when in the sixties and seventies
many developing countries were becoming independent and entering the
United Nations, the United States or Soviet Union as a gift was given normally
nuclear reactor, research reactor and promises that they would help with
nuclear technologies. But what is interesting is just several weeks ago President
Bush and President Putin in Bratislava, they concluded two important joint
statements that till the year 2008 both America and Russia are responsible to
return back from all countries the nuclear fuel which they gave many many
years ago, so to say as a gift for research reactors. And now there is a lot of
joint control between the United States, Russia and the IAEA (International
Atomic Energy Agency) regarding all kinds of nuclear exports. That is one
hundred percent sure that current Russian assistance to Iran limits very much
to the peaceful purposes reactor in Bushehr, the nuclear power plant which is
purely for producing electricity. And in fact there is a lot of political pressure of
Washington over Moscow to stop even that cooperation. But Moscow is trying
to draw a clear line between what is legally allowed (and legally it is allowed to
provide assistance in peaceful nuclear energy) and what is not allowed (and not
allowed is any kind of support in military programs) and Moscow definitely is
not interested to see nuclear powers in North Korea, or say Iran or Syria
converting to military nuclear efforts by no means. Moscow is very much
interested to keep to the traditional nuclear club and even is interested to
continue negotiation on the first nuclear disarmament. Those in MINATOM
(Ministry of Atomic Energy) of Russia theoretically, because of commercial
considerations, would be interested to sell to Iranians and even more, maybe
another one or two reactors. But the political conditions now such difficulty


even for the first Bushehr reactor that I think it would be the first and the last
deal between Russia and Iran regarding nuclear support.

Chair: Thank you. No reflections on the nine billion dollars that might
have ended up in Moscow or somewhere?

Salim Dervişoğlu: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I am Salim Dervişoğlu,
retired admiral, and former chief of the Turkish Navy. I have two questions if
you allow me. First is for Prof. Nikitin and the second one is for Prof. Mowle.
My first question is: I was very much impressed by your presentation and
stressing upon the new, relatively new or recent means and reasoning of
international interference of one country to another country like pre-emptive
action, I think against terrorism or weapons of mass destructions, etc.
However, I must say I was a little bit surprised that talking about Iraqi affairs,
oil reserves have not been mentioned at all for having an impact or a reasoning
for interference in Iraq on the US side. How do you see the situation from
Russia? The reason that I asked this question, it is not to talk about the past,
but if – given that the oil reserves and control over it, continuity of its flow,
peaceful flow, etc. – if it is an important factor in the past for interference of
America, then definitely for the future of Iraq, it will continue to have an effect,
at least for the American presence in one way or other, and… or the duration
of it, and also the Iraqi regime and its formation. What do you think about that
from Moscow? That was my first question. And my second question is for Mr.
Mowle, that in Turkey we have been grateful to the United States that for years,
even decades, they always consistently identified PKK as a terrorist
organization. And I must also say that we were sometimes quite disappointed
by different attitudes of some of our allies in Europe in that context. However,
PKK has some groups in Northern Iraq now and the United States has
declared a kind of war, a global war against terrorism. So, in Turkey we have
difficulty in understanding about the reasoning behind the United States’


attitude towards the existence of PKK in Northern Iraq, where they co-exist. It
is a terrorist organization, United States declares, recognized as such, and
continues to do so, as a global war declared against terrorism and they are there
co-existing. We have a difficulty in understanding that. Maybe you can tell me
about something, some reasoning that I don’t know. Thank you very much.

Chair: Thank you admiral. Prof. Nikitin.

Prof. Dr. Nikitin: Thank you very much for the first question which I
consider to be a kind of Marxist interpretation of international relations,
[laughter] because it gave me a hint that there is some economic reason behind
the political behavior of the States. Yes, of course, there is some important role
of oil in all this politics, but I should not over-estimate it. I mean that
explanations that everything was done because of the old imperialistic
motivations, because of getting oil money through the lives of solders lost in
Iraq, that is too simple. I don’t buy such explanation. I see a certain sector of
economic interest in this war. But it is much more then economy is on the
stake. It is about politics, it is about culture, it is about democratization and I
sincerely believe that for many countries, including Americans, then your
democratization of Iraq really was one of the serious and sincere reasons of the
war. I don’t think that all this play of words around the removing dictator and
democratization was only a cover operation for getting, grabbing the Iraqi oil.
But Russia what could be like interest in is benefiting a little bit from the high
prices of oil because Russia itself is an oil selling country. So following this logic
you may even say that Russia was also interested in the war in the region,
because as a result of the Russian oil assets become a little bit more valuable.
But I don’t think so, I mean such considerations are... they may influence your
decision if decision is already here, but they will not the major consideration of
the Russia behavior towards this conflict. And finally, Russian oil companies
are practically interested to participate in tender for future restoration of oil


infrastructure of Iraq, but chances are very bad. I mean, Russian oil companies
as well as French oil companies would be definitely overwhelmed by American
oil companies who will be distributing the wealth. But, after all, let me say that I
do think that … like explanation of all Iraqi affairs through the oil would be
rooted back in the nineteenth century. The politics in the twenty-first century is
much more multi-dimensional.

Chair: Thank you professor. Prof. Mowle?

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mowle: Can I take his question instead? I liked it
better. I should start out by saying that I don’t really know exactly what our
current policy is in respect to PKK or the Kongra-Gel or KADEK or whatever
they are calling themselves these days. But my understanding is… I may be
wrong about this, my understanding is that a bit of ceasefire is going on
between the PKK and Turkish government and it has been relatively… on the
PKK side is relatively inactive of late and if I were to speculate, I will say that it
is a matter of resources as much as anything else. The United States forces in
the moment in Iraq are stretched fairly, I think I can fairly say that they
stretched fairly thin, and to start an offensive against the PKK at this point
could be seen as just simply something a little bit too difficult to do right now.
But I don’t know if that is the reason, I could not say what the intentions are
for the long term, once the Sunni triangle is more pacified… I just don’t know
what the policy would be. I am sorry.

Chair: If you allow me, I wouldn’t like to let you of the hook easily. I
am very curious to know whether in the US when this issue is kind of thrown
upon US officials, and they are, whether there are those who recognize that,
from the Turkish perspective, there is this discomfort when they hear US
officials talk about, as my admiral mentioned, the war on terrorism, and that
there is an organization that is present there that is a major source of


discomfort. I share your view that maybe the threat has diminished seriously. Is
there a recognition of that? And maybe an awareness or talk about it?

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mowle: I am not entirely sure what recognition there
is. I think there is a certain extent, at some levels a distinction is made between,
I guess, what is regarded as more localized terrorist groups versus ones that are
striking internationally and globally. Because there are relatively few of those
former groups which are far more localized terrorist groups than there are the
globalized terrorist groups… Now I’ve lost the train of thought... Basically I
think there is a recognition… there is a recognition, I know that there is a
certain amount of disconnect between saying a global war on terrorism and yet
there are certain terrorist groups that are not being targeted. And the rational
behind that, I suppose, is primarily one of resources and the nature of the
immediate threat to the United States. But, again, that’s just my opinion. I am
not an expert on Turkey by any means.

Chair: Thank you. … Maybe students could start to formulate one or
two questions too, huh?

Question: A very simple question to Prof. Nikitin which will reveal my
ignorance, but never mind. How does he explain the difference between pre-
emptive intervention and preventive intervention? And to Prof. Mowle: he said
that of course the Americans will not be able to continue to maintain basis in
Iraq because no Iraqi government would accept that. But certainly the US
would try to maintain some presence in the Middle East, in the Arab countries.
Doesn’t he think so?

Prof. Dr. Nikitin: Prevention is some action you undertake against
somebody’s other action – an action which is visible, which is here, you just
need to do something to stop it. Pre-emption is something which you
undertake when there is no action yet. There is intention, there is some trend.
You don’t know yet whether it will be realized, but you still you do your action


because you are afraid that the tendency will become a reality. This is how
Americans explain the difference between the prevention and pre-emption.
And the problem is that while with prevention the international law, United
Nations can look and say, OK, here was the action and here is counter-action.
Action was serious, danger was here, present and clear danger, please act. In
case of pre-emption things are much more depended on interpretation. You
may say that maybe Saddam Hussein in the future will support some structures
which will create some international terrorist network, maybe they will create
weapons of mass destruction, maybe not, you are acting just in case. And here,
of course, it is much more amorphous and much more dependent upon your
political values, your permissiveness, whether you are a strong nation or big
nation, and, by the way, very much dependent upon the unity in the
international community.

Chair: It sounds like you shoot first than ask questions in the case

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mowle: The question as I understand it is the United
States likely to try to maintain bases somewhere in the Middle East. And how
many, and for how long, and exactly where?.. I would suppose it is likely that
the United States will retain an interest in having basing rights in some places in
Middle East. There is some countries seem to welcome an American presence.
The current rights for example in Bahrain and Qatar are likely to remain just as
the United States has some basing rights in almost every region of the world.
However again like everything else that is depending upon those countries
interest in doing so. If the government of Bahrain or Qatar [interjection from
the floor] or Jordan… Jordan, is there bases in Jordan? No, I didn’t think so.
No, I don’t know where all of our bases are so maybe you know. But they are
all dependent on…

Prof. Dr. Nikitin: In fact we know! [laughter]


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mowle: Yes. [laughter and Chair’s intervention]

Question: Thank you to all of the speakers. I would like to address my
question to Mr. Kamran Taremi. About the new situation, the new policy of
Iran towards the post-conflict, post the international or the American
intervention in both Afghanistan and Iraq. OK, now one conflict is over and
the other conflict, internal conflict inside these two countries are going on
between the modernists or pro-Western liberals on one hand, and pro-Islamic,
pro-Sheriat groups on the other. In both of these countries, we have people
supporting both of them very strongly. And regarding to this new international
existence in these two countries, of course, we see at least now that the winners
are these pro-Western liberals. It is just very easy to understand if we compare,
for example, the new childish democracy of Afghanistan with its traditional
democracy and so. The constitution… if we compare this constitution with the
Iranian constitution having long history of elections and so, and you would see
that, OK, there is a very clear difference. One is more liberal, more democratic,
if you want. And I think the same thing is going also in Iraq. But how the
Iranian foreign policy would be influenced by its ideology? Of course, pro-
Sheriat ideology in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Would it be a new sphere of
conflict between the Americans and the Iranians inside those countries
supporting different poles? Different ideological poles in the same conflict?
Thank you.

Dr. Kamran Taremi: One of the most important for the moment for
the Iranian government is not how the constitution of Afghanistan or the
constitution of Iraq is different from Iran’s and what forces are fighting over
power in these two countries. The most important thing for Iran at the
moment is to see sort of stability emerging in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Once
the situation has become stable, once foreign forces have left those two


countries, once you got a stable government there, than secondary concerns
might gradually emerge.

Mr. Al-Rantavi: My comment or question is addressed to Mr Kamran
Taremi also. For many observers in the Middle East, in particular they
described the Iranian Middle East policy as a double-faced one. In Iraq, for
example, it is a smooth policy and compatible with the political process
sponsored by the United States while in Lebanon for example it is a very hard
approach supporting Hizbullah in confronting approach with the United States.
Is the reason behind that that being smooth with the United States in Iraq is
the shortcut to empower the Iraqi Shiites to reach, to gain the power, while
confrontation with the United States or Israel or the process in Lebanon is also
keeping the upper hand for the Shiites represented by Hizbullah in Lebanon? Is
the goal by these two conflicting approaches to keep the Shiites in the upper
hand or in the power but by using different means and methods? This double-
faced or double game led by Iran has really worried many of the Arab
observers. How can you comment on that please?

Dr. Kamran Taremi: I think it will be a bit too hard to describe
Iranian policy in the Middle East as double-faced. You’ve got to realize that the
situation in Iraq is completely different from that in Lebanon. Hence, because
the situation is different, it has led to, it has prompted a totally different
response. As I said in Iraq the primary Iranian concern is to make… is to
ensure that there are no grounds, no pretexts for the United States to follow
the attack on Iraq by an invasion of Iran. So that has led to a very cautious
policy that seeks to go along with the United States and with the Western world
in Iraq to show that Iran is a responsible member of the international
community that deserves a better deal from the West than the resort to force.
But on the Arab-Israeli front, and particularly in Lebanon, there are no
immediate reasons for worry. Iran is not scared that its opposition to the Arab-


Israeli peace process or its involvement with the Hizbullah might cause…
might lead to a military action by the United States. So there the policies are
more daring, there the policies are more challenging of Western interests.

Chair: Before we close, we may be one last question.

Mustafa Tapık: Mustafa Tapık, Yıldız Technical University, Political
Science and International Relations Master’s student. My question will be Ms.
Altunışık. As you know before Iraq war was started in Turkish public there was
many hard discussions about Turkish foreign policy towards Iraq and we have
red lines about Northern Iraq. Now, as your presentation, you showed that
there is shifting from more realistic or, I think, more pragmatic policy. My
question is: what is the change in Turkish politicians’ minds or what factors
affected, pushed Turkish politicians to this end? Thank you.

Dr. Altunışık: OK, thank you. Yes, I would agree with you that there
is a shift towards more pragmatism. And, as you know, it is generally joked that
red-line have turned into pink. Although I would say that the basic… the most
important aspect of that policy has not been challenged yet so it is still bit early,
I think, to say that. But there is clearly some change and I think there are
different reasons for it. The first reason is that, particularly after the Turkish
parliament’s rejection of the bill, Turkey’s options in Iraq have become much
more limited. You may discuss whether it was good or bad that the bill did not
pass, but at least militarily it limited Turkey’s options and also, in terms of its
political aspect, it limited Turkey’s options in Iraq. In addition to that, I would
say that there has been a change in general in Turkish foreign policy,
particularly with the Helsinki decision of the EU, and also with Öcalan’s trial
and the ceasefire with the PKK. Turkish policy in general, but as regards to Iraq
as well, became based much more on confidence than it was before. In the
nineteen nineties when you looked at it there was a lot of apprehension,
feelings of encirclement, that somehow there were serious challenges to Turkey.


That atmosphere has changed a bit. But with the situation in Iraq turning
against Turkey’s interest or with relations with the EU again turning… turn out
in a bad way, there is still a potential, I think, and we can see that with the rise
of ultra nationalism in Turkey, that things may change. But I think there was
that kind of window of opportunity in that respect.

Chair: Before we close, if panel and participants will allow me your
remark about red lines reminded me of story that was told by a Greek
American professor about Greek foreign policy in the early nineteen nineties
towards Macedonia, when they were very upset about Macedonia calling itself
Macedonia and in Greece there were many talking about red lines and even
arguing a physical intervention. And the Greek American professor to my
surprise talked about Nasreddin Hodja who goes to the supermarket with his
donkey and parks the donkey there, goes in, he does his shopping and when he
comes out, the donkey has gone. And he is very upset, and the Mukhtar is his
good friend, he goes to the Mukhtar, bring all the village folk there, and
Nasreddin Hodja begins to threaten them with talks about red-lines. This is it,
if the donkey is not brought back, I will raise hell in the village. And then he
says, now I am going in to drink a cappuccino and by the time I come out I
want to see the donkey here. So he goes in, he has his cappuccino, he comes
out, and fair enough, the donkey is there. So he hops on it, going back to his
home, and then suddenly Christiane Amanpoor turns up with a microphone
and says, “But Hodja, what would you have done, if the donkey hadn’t been
turned in?” And he says, “Nothing, I just would have walked home!”

With those remarks, I would like to bring the panel to an end. I would
like to thank every and each of the panelists for sharing their views with us.
And also for your questions and patience for sitting out through the panel this
afternoon. Thank you very much.