Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Outside View: Russia Back In Iraq

Igor Ivanov

Moscow (UPI) Nov 23, 2005
Igor Ivanov, Secretary of the Russian Security Council, made a surprise visit to Baghdad earlier this month. It was the first visit by a high-ranking Russian official to Iraq since the downfall of Saddam Hussein. Before that, only delegates from the countries whose troops were stationed in Iraq visited the country.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said that Ivanov's visit "opened up a new perspective" in bilateral relations. The Iraqi authorities will have no reason to complain now that Russian politicians have no interest in seeing what is happening in Iraq with their own eyes. Igor Ivanov wanted to see for himself, and he did -- his press conference in Baghdad coincided with a terrorist attack. In fact, the main issue on his agenda was the problem of terrorism.

"We support Iraq's efforts against terrorism and it can relyon our assistance," Ivanov said.

Russian government sources told RIA Novosti that Moscow differentiates terrorists from the fighters against occupation in Iraq. However, a clear line that could be drawn between them in the past became almost undistinguishable with time. As a result, Iraqi civilians have become the most frequent victims of terrorist attacks, and their relatives do not care who killed them, terrorists or fighters against the occupation.

But sources say that this does not rule out the possibility of negotiating with the so-called national patriotic forces of Iraq, who are fighting against the occupation forces.

"We should not close the door on them. The use of military force alone will not suffice in this case," the sources say. "History knows a number of examples when the past of certain political forces, such as the Palestine Liberation Organization or the Irish Republican Army, was forgotten in the name of stability. At the same time, there can be no negotiations with mercenaries and members of international terrorist organizations."

Russia and the Arab states have long called on the political forces in Iraq to sit down at the negotiation table. One more attempt will be made soon. Early next year, the Arab League is organizing an inter-Iraqi conference on reconciliation. The preliminary meeting took place on Nov. 19 in Cairo, less than a month before the parliamentary election in Iraq. It was attended by delegates from Iraq, the European Union and the United Nations.

Meanwhile Sunnis, the main social base of Iraqi resistance, have advanced several conditions for attending the conference. The key condition is the recognition of the Iraqi resistance to foreign occupation (as distinct from terrorists) and the adoption of a timeframe for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.

RIA Novosti's sources note that the occupation of Iraq is formally over and power in the country has been turned over to the national leadership. But the reality is quite different. It is the multinational forces that regulate Iraqis' daily life, from the routes of their movement to the planning of combat operations, which they often do without coordinating plans with the Iraqi authorities.

In addition, to believe the sources, Americans still use the term "occupation forces" off the record and in semi-official correspondence. This may sound like a linguistic nuance, but such details shape the situation in the country. And one more crucial element is the principle of the distribution of offices in Iraq.

Candidates for the posts are selected not for their skills and talents but for ethnic and confessional reasons. Sources say that this reasoning is the basis of the current state structure, which largely hinders positive efforts.

The idea of an ethnic and confessional parity is not new, and Iraq is not the first country to try to create it. The underlying desire is to restore stability in a multinational and multi-confessional state. But this system is lop-sided in Iraq.

Unlike Kurds and Shias, the Sunni political heavyweights are not in demand. The Sunnis, although officially involved in the political process, do not determine the situation in the government or in the opposition that persists with resistance efforts. The task is to invite the fighters to participate in a dialogue; otherwise stability will never be achieved in Iraq.

International mediation, including by Russia, could play a positive role in this case. An international mechanism on Iraq modeled after the Middle East Quartet of Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations would be much more effective and objective than the mediation of an individual country. But the Iraqi authorities are not eager to create it, and therefore we are yet to see the outcome of another reconciliation attempt.

Marianna Belenkaya is a political commentator for the RIA Novosti news agency. This article is reprinted by permission of RIA Novosti.

Related Links
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

Walker's World: New Crisis For Blair's War
Washington (UPI) Nov 23, 2005
This was not going to be a happy Thanksgiving for President George Bush, but he only had to look across the Atlantic to know it could be worse. His only reliable ally, Britain's Tony Blair, now seems to be facing the full-scale parliamentary inquiry into the Iraq war -- its justification, conduct and aftermath -- that Bush has been able to avoid.

  • India And China Must Avoid Mutual Paranoia: Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew
  • All Is Not Well In Sino-US Ties: Analysts
  • Analysis: American Dynastic Diplomacy
  • Hu Says Stronger China Means Peace, Stability

  • High-Tech Firms/Executives Sentenced In Export Case, Reports US Attorney
  • Consortium To Pull The Plug On New Reactors For North Korea
  • Outside View: Take Iran's Threat Seriously
  • EU Urges Iran To Give Ground On Nuclear Programme, Resume Talks

  • Raytheon's CLAWS Scores Direct Hits During Successful Operational Test
  • US Discussing Missile Defense Site In Europe With Poland
  • Italy, ATK And U.S. Navy Sign MoU For AARGM Missile Development
  • Raytheon Receives $1.3Bn Contract Modification For JLENS Development

  • SBIRS System Upgrades To Newest Version Of Kinesix's Sammi Software
  • Lockheed Martin Team Launches Second Target Missile For AEGIS Test
  • Raytheon Standard Missile-3 Intercepts Ballistic Missile Target
  • Computer Sciences Books Another $243M In Missile Defense IT Support Contracts

  • NGC's E-10A Multi-Sensor Command-And-Control Aircraft Program Concludes Platform Design Review
  • Geneva Aerospace Extends Its Flight Tech To Raspet's Ultra-Light Glider
  • New Wind Tunnel Aimed At Making Airplanes Quieter To Those On Ground
  • L-3 Communications' SPAR Aerospace Launches Herc 2020

  • NRL Demonstrates Fuel Cell-Powered Unmanned Aerial System
  • RAFAEL Presents New Mini-UAV: Skylite B
  • USF Mini-Helicopters Return To Katrina
  • A Successful First Flight With FILUR UAV

  • Outside View: Russia Back In Iraq
  • Walker's World: New Crisis For Blair's War
  • Iraq Troop Withdrawals Driven By Politics
  • US Senator Offers Plan For Gradual Withdrawal Of Troops From Iraq

  • NGC Gets Another $558 Million Dollars For Next Aircraft Carrier Design
  • Raytheon To Reduce Cost Of Fratricide Avoidance System
  • France, Italy Sign Multi-Billion-Euro Frigate Deal
  • EADS To Supply Digital Map Generators For Eurofighter And Tornado

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement