Russia and the Middle East
Sun, 24 march 2019Sun
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On September, 7, there was held a round table session in the Upper Chamber of the Russian parliament with the main theme as Russia and Iraq: cooperation prospects. It brought together a number of Russian politicians, businessmen and experts as well to discuss with the new Iraqs representatives the possibilities to reactivate interaction and even to enlarge the former cooperation frameworks between two our countries.

This event is to be considered as innovation in deed. Until now there have been only contacts established in the highest level between Moscow and post-Saddam Baghdad which gave a green light to renew the cooperation in the political as well as economic fields between two countries. But it seems unlikely that many actors accepted the good signal to implement their projects. And that for many reasons: due to the lack of security in Iraq, the lack of clarity with a number of Russian contracts signed under the previous regime, due to a kind of syndrome likely to have struck the Russian elites meant to postpone the cooperation with Iraq till the better times come. How otherwise might be explained the fact that since the power change in Baghdad no one Russian high-ranking official (especially ministers) has not paid visit to this country in context of numerious trips of Arab and Western ministers to Iraq.

The task to overcome such a syndrome assumed leaders of the recently (in March, 2005) created public organization called Russian Islamic Heritage (RIH). Two brothers Umar and Hussain Jabrailov as well as Shamil Beno, supported by a number of militants of realistic and pragmatic minded part of the Russias Muslim community, devoted themselves to set about bringing together influential people from two our countries. Invited by Umar Jabrailov, one of the RIH founder and deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the parliaments Upper Chamber, Jalal al-Mashta, Iraqi Presidents councellor, made a long speech before the audience. He spoke in Russian, because he had lived in Russia for about 30 years.

The main point of Mr. Mashtas speech was to invite Russians to come back to Iraq even slowly, step by step. The security situation, he stressed, is not improving as fast as we would wish, but the Iraqi law-enforcement forces are getting growing experience to bring the country into normal while terrorists trying to do their mortal job every day. What is really needed for Russians is to understand the nature of such a terror activity. To stress that it is mainly targeting the civil Iraqis striving to start rebuilding their country. Such a terror is inspired from outside of Iraq.

In this case theres no talking about a kind of insurgensy of Iraqis against the newly elected power. It should be talking about the devoted terrorists tied to Al-Quaida. Thats why the officials in Baghdad were really surprised by the recently published on the RIA Novosti site interview with one of such terrorists, the killer of civil people in Iraq including children. Such criminals are not insurgents, but terrorists. Thats why Iraq and Russia are in the same position in fighting against terrorists trying to use Islam. We have to speed up the coordination in this fight. The experiment to build new Iraq cannot and should not fail.

To note that the RIH is becoming nowadays an important framework for cooperation of political and especially business bodies of Iraq and Russia. RIH is not only known for realistic thinking of its fellow Musulman members, but for this bodys maintaining contacts with numerious influential groupings in the Arab World, namely in Iraq, with responsible people sharing the decision-making and capable to defend those decisions before their fellow citizens. Important to note that it is wrong to think as if every countable decision is taken in Iraq by the occupying forces. The time has come to deal with Iraqis themselves.

The participants at the Moscows discussions agreed to contribute to make the current round table a permanently functionning body completed by the same body on Iraqi side.
Alexander IVANOV