by Sadeq Khanafer, Hussein Mallah, source
Almost a year after the American withdrawal from Iraq, several political and security crises took place. Perhaps the most dangerous are those currently taking place in both the Western and Northern provinces. The troubles are being more sectarian, which threaten re-pushing the country toward riot and divisions, and aim at suppressing the emerging Iraqi power both at political and social levels.
To shed light on the secret plans prepared for Iraq and later to other regional countries, we display -in a three-part report- this plan from A to Z.
The Role and Position of Iraq
The Republic of Iraq is one of the West Asian countries overlooking the Gulf area. Its borders distribute as follows: Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the South, Turkey to the North, Syria and Jordan to the West, and Iran to the East. Its total area is 438317 squared kilometers.
Iraq’s position has so long been strategic. Before 22 centuries, Alexander’s the Great army had crossed its land on its way to India. Iraq was also targeted by the Mongols, which, throughout its invasion, continued to the other Levant countries. Iraq has also been a commercial intersection point between the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, and India. Moreover, it was a center for exchanging ideas and cultures between the East and the West.
The importance of Iraq’s strategic position in the modern history is represented by being an overland route between the former Soviet Union and the open seas. Also it is the aerial link between Europe and Asia. All the land routes, linking southeast Europe and the eastern part of the Mediterranean with the southern Gulf Region, as well as Iran, Pakistan, and India to the east, pass through Iraq. Moreover, Iraq links the three Islamic worlds: the Arab, the Persian, and the Turkish. The Iraqi land spreads from Turkey to the Gulf, in which it represents the eastern gate of the Arab World.
The geographical position of any country might be a factor either of its power or its weakness. It might also make it an object of other countries’ greed mostly on the level of its strategic regional importance, which makes it present among the world strategies and in the “Grand” countries’ accounts. This is what is happening in Iraq, which was, and still, of critical position in the Middle East for it is in its center and affects it on various levels.
Iraq is among the regions, where, along their very old history, different policies, various ideologies, and struggling powers had met. They wanted, at a time or another, to magnetize the countries of the region and take control over a part of them. Many experts asserted that Iraq’s importance lies behind being a part of the Gulf, the geographic center of the Middle East, its magic gate, and charming treasure.
Thus, Iraq became a vital target for western strategies via regional alliances. It climbed to the top of international interests due to several factors, among which is its richness in petroleum, its special strategic position. Not to mention the successive regional events that took place in the last decades such as the Arab-Israeli wars, the “Iraqi-Iranian War”, the Second Gulf War, the American Occupation, and the so-called “Arab Spring.”
For this reason, controlling Iraq and attempting to divide it became a strategic goal of the US and Western policies, who dream of the Empire since the downfall of Iraq links Turkish western-controlled zones with the Gulf, isolates Syria and Iran from each other, thus mixing everything up in the region.
Petrol… a Blessing and Curse at a Time
What made it worse on Iraq was its huge oil wealth in which the accurate reserves hit 143.10 billion barrels. This classify it the second known oil reservoir in the world after the Saudi Arabia. Its daily exporting potential is 3 million barrels. Not to mention, Iraq was in 2012 the second country in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It is supposed to increase its production to 5 million barrels per day by 2014. Definite gas reserves are 3158 billion squared meters. This amount prompted Iraq to be the tenth worldwide to have pure gas reserves.
It is noteworthy that Iraq was not supplied with the advanced techniques of oil drilling used in other countries. Those techniques would improve the rates of exploring oil from the newly discovered areas, and estimate the expected extractable quantities with more than 360 billion barrels, which would be sufficient to go on producing the available energy for three and a half centuries.
Iraq holds unexpected oil reserves. Among its 74 explored oil fields, only 15 fields were invested, according to oil experts. The first pillar of Iraqi economy is that of oil. However, unlike other Gulf countries, oil isn’t its only resource. Iraq is one of the founding countries of OPEC, its oil business started in 1925.
According to strategic experts in the Pentagon and the US National Security Council, “Iraq is the pumping heart of the Arab-Asian region. Controlling Iraq equals controlling oil, as well as strategic lines of transportation.”
One Federal, Independent, Sovereign State
According to the current constitution, Iraq is a federal independent sovereign country. Its regime is parliamentary democratic. The federal government is composed of Executive Authority, Legislative Authority and Judicial Authority, besides several independent committees. According to the constitution, Iraq is composed of 18 governorates, including one district known as Iraqi Kurdistan, which in turn includes the governorates of Irbil, Dohuk and Sulaymaniyah. Iraqi Kurdistan is the only legally identified zone inside Iraq. It has its own government and its own official forces.
In 2011, the estimated population of Iraq was 32,665,000 persons. Iraq comprises a variety of nationalities, ethnics and religions. Most of the Iraqi residents are Arabs, besides a good many Kurds, Turkmen come after, Assyrians, Shabak, as well Armenians, Charkas and other nationalities. Several foreign communities in Iraq estimated to be tens of thousands.
What is going on in Iraq?
Perhaps those proceedings would explain some of which is going on inside Iraq, especially the protests ignited in western and northern governorates (Al-Anbar, Saladin, Ninawa, Kirkuk, and Diyala), but especially in Al-Anbar. It might also explain the tension between the central government and the Iraqi Kurdistan, in addition to terrorist explosions killing hundreds of innocent civilians in many Iraqi regions from time to time.
Before the protests took place in Al-Anbar and other regions, tension dominated the political atmosphere starting with the Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi’s terrorism case, judicial sentences and refuge to Turkey, and not ending with the big problems between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan, continuous discord between the Republic of Iraq Coalition led by the Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and the Iraqi National List led by Ayad Allawi.
West Iraq protests were caused by arresting the Protection Commander of the Minister of Finance Rafea Al-Issawi, member of the “Iraqi List”, due to “terror” accusations. But this showed the issue as sectarian more than political.
Although some local and regional sides hurried to exploit the events and ignite sectarianism, unveiling devil intents for partition, as well as settling old political accounts with Al-Maliki, and perhaps with the whole Iraq; some Iraqi sides worked hard to save unity and get rid of riot, emphasizing on the necessity not to sectarianize the crisis, but rather to limit it with the political and judicial side. This is due to how critical the situation in Iraqi and Arab world is.
Until now, things seem to be escalating according to the Iraqi and regional data. This is clear under the attempts to link the unsound situation in Iraq with the exploding crisis in Syria, especially that some protest leaders are pointing at adopting division in Iraq, and flaming fires that would not only burn Iraq, but would also affect its neighboring countries.
Unstable Governorates, Geographically, Demographically
Located to the west of Iraq; it is the largest province with an area of 138.000 kilometers squared. Its estimated population is more than 3.46 million persons. Before 1961, it was known as Dulaim.
Located north Iraq; its center is Mosul, the second of great Iraqi cities. Its area is 32.308 kilometers squared. Its estimated population is 3.5 million persons.
It is one of the central Iraqi provinces. It was founded in the 1970s upon cutting wide areas from Baghdad and Kirkuk. Its area is 24.363 kilometers squared, and its population is around 1.34 million persons.
Its center is the city of Baaquba, to the northeast of Iraq. Its area is 17.685 kilometers squared. As for its population, it hits 1.40 million persons.
It is located in the center of northern Iraq, spreads over 9.679 kilometers squared, and is populated by more than 1.32 million persons who vary between Arabs, Turkmen, Kurds, and Assyrians. It is known for oil production in which six oil fields exist, the hugest is in the city of Kirkuk. Oil reserves are approximately 13 billion barrels.
Iraqi Kurdistan Governorate:
It is a federal entity, or a self-governed region north Iraq. Its capital is Irbil Province. It is bounded by Iran to the east, Turkey to the north, Syria to the west, and other Iraqi regions to the south. It is composed of three provinces: Dohuk, Sulaymaniyah, and Irbil. Its total area is 83.643 kilometers squared, and its population is more than 5 million people.
Translated by: Zeinab Abdallah