AFTER ISIS, Iraq Needs to Start Over from the “National Constants”

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By Hussein. H. Al Sarhan & Hussain. B. Abdul-Ameer

As the Iraqi army and its joint forces are writing the end of ISIS existence on the Iraqi soil, concerns are growing over the prospects of the country. The reasons that led to the rise of a vicious entity such as ISIS still need to be addressed, and an assessment of the root-causes should help avoid repeating the same mistakes in the coming future. As well,  the need to assess Iraqi political performance over the past decade, and highlight the reasons and roots that led to tumble of all the Iraqi political parties – despite of their ethnic and intellectual diversity – which pushed them to fail on create a stable and prosperous country. The failure of the political parties over the past decade was so shocking in the same way that the Iraqis has shocked while they watch the boldness of extremist groups are raising their state black flags and dredging of the “Iraqi / Syrian” national borders.

In this context, the absence of “national constants” stands out as main reason that prevented the Iraqi political parties from coming together to advance the strength, stability and prosperity of their country. As it is indicated of the Iraqi political parties that they didn’t – over a decade – reach to understanding and conviction together, to adopted and determined “national constants” to be the referent key in the decision-making process and a guide for the Iraqi political performance. Especially at the foreign level, and to draw the geopolitical role for Iraq among its regional environment.

Today, the regional environment is boiling, where the political units of this region has slipped concurrently with the beginning of the “Arab spring” period in a “zero game” and “Severe security competition”, in which most of these units seek to maximize their power at the expense of each of them, and to maintenance of their interests and national security, which has become Intersecting to somewhat extant. Therefore, Iraq needs to draw and determine its geopolitical role in this hot region, based on the national interest and national security.

Thus, with the absence of “national constants” and “strategic doctrine” that reflects the nation identity of Iraqi society, which clearly defines its interests, then, it’s been resorted to the moods and categorical interpretations during the past decade, and to enhance parties benefits upon the national interest by all Iraqi political forces despite their diversity. Which has prevented most Iraqi society groups and members to achieve the conviction and support of the decision-making and political orientation!! This is what we are witnessing today as a real and historical crisis that has exposed and continues to expose the social cohesion to crumble and disintegration. And then the possibility of continuing drowning in the tribulations and tragedies are there!!

Today, all Iraqis are in a date with an inevitable destiny of restoring the unity of their land and defeating the terrorists who seek to break their brotherhood. So, we find the necessity of emphasize all Iraqi parties (political parties, religious institutions, academics, Non – Governmental Organizations NGOs, and tribal figures …etc.) , after the liberation of Nineveh and defeat ISIS, to put in their mind focus on the identification of ” Iraqi national constants ”  which representing all Iraqi people to be referent key in resolving any dispute related with the decision-making process  in the future instead of the tensions, sectarian and political disputes that we have seen it’s disasters which are still existing. The mission is difficult because the enemies of the unity and stability of Iraq are present. But the success of all Iraqi political parties are depends on their ability to creating a “common foundation” for all Iraqi, which will make Iraqi people are ready to defend it country. And this “common foundation” will only be the “national constants”.

National Constants are gathering people despite their diversity of the opinions, ideas, affiliations and origins. National constants are traditions, values and convictions that derive its legitimacy from the existence in the culture and heritage of society. It is express the aspiration of individuals in how to achieve justice and equality. As well as it is express regular interaction between people and political regime. Then, national constants will determine the affiliation to the homeland. Thus, the national constants who are authorized to put and develop the framework for both “national identity”, “strategic doctrine” and “humanitarian contribution” for Iraqi community.

After defeat ISIS and liberation of Nineveh, the individuals believes with these national constants and continuously reproduce it became more urgent necessity than before. ISIS rise was not an external threat and a serious challenge for Iraqi forces that could not eliminate in the beginning only, but also highlighted that the Iraqi political parties was engaged within the competitive relationship among them at the expanse of national interest and national security, which led to fragile foundation encouraged the extremist, armed and terrorist groups to posed an existential threat for that foundation. So, the reform of competitive relationship among all Iraqi parties requires determination the common national constants.


Dr. Hussein Al Sarhan and Lecturer. Hussein Abdul Ameer serve as Senior Researchers and political analysts with CSS Center for Strategic Studies, Political Studies Department, University of Karbala, Iraq.