The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Iraqi Gov’t Plans A New Regional Framework

Last updated: 07/31/2020 08:00 | 12/09/2008 11:23
Dexter Cooke

As I mentioned earlier, Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman for the Iraqi government, spoke to reporters and think-tank folk this afternoon about an “official vision of the Iraqi government” for a new regional security and economic framework modeled on the European Union.

Dabbagh was short on specifics, but he told an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace about creating a “long term” contact group for Iraq’s neighbors to explore joint infrastructure projects; energy cooperation — including “shared oil fields” with Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Syria — and “sharing nuclear power projects;” “limiting separatist trends” like the Kurdish terrorist group known as the PKK; expanding trade from Europe to the Gulf; and the creation of “common markets.”

Creating such a group would balm Iraq’s sectarian fissures, he contended, allowing the Sunnis not to feel like a minority, and assuring Shiites that they’re part of a regional structure. “This formula will take away distrust [and ideology,” he said, contending that Turkey, Kuwait and Syria have already been approached by Iraqi figures for such a plan.

Naturally, in the midst of a global financial crisis, much of this seems fanciful. But Dabbagh said that the Iraqi government wasn’t thinking of this as a “short term” solution, but rather as a strategic goal to reach for the long-term prosperity of Iraq and the region.

What was the missing piece here? The United States. Dabbagh barely made mention of the U.S. in his presentation — a clear indication that the Iraqi government wants the page turned away from the occupation as much as the American people do.

Dexter Cooke | He is an orthopedic surgeon who insists that a physician's first priority should be patient care. He specializes in minimally invasive complete knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures that reduce pain and recovery time. He graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina with a medical degree and a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine.


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