Friday, June 27, 2014

Authoritarianism's Damage to Iraq

Nuri al-Maliki and his general staff
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham’s successes in northern Iraq have been blamed on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s sectarian, autocratic and exclusionary rule.  However, Iraq’s problems go beyond the struggles in Baghdad’s corridors of power.  

Replacing Maliki without addressing two fundamental problems will do little to help Iraq confront terrorism and achieve political stability. Iraq’s leaders need to reverse Nuri al-Maliki’s authoritarian rule by establishing a political process based on power sharing and meaningful federalism that includes all Iraq’s ethnoconfessional groups.  
ISIS forces

Equally important, the new Iraqi government that will be formed this summer needs to create a political system that fosters opportunities for its citizens to participate in national reconciliation and building a stable and prosperous Iraq. 

Unfortunately, Nuri al-Maliki and his political allies have failed to harness the potential of Iraqi society, which is not only rich in oil wealth but in human capital as well.  Maliki has squandered the country’s most important resources for building a democratic and prosperous society, namely its educated middle classes, youth and women.  

Keen to take advantage of the personal freedoms and political, educational and economic opportunities available after the US toppled Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime in 2003, these segments of Iraqi society have become despondent as their hopes and aspirations have been quashed by Maliki’s authoritarian rule.
Transparency International corruption index

Absorbing 80% of Iraq’s budget, corruption has degraded public services. Workers in the bloated state bureaucracy are hired along party lines resulting in incompetent performance.  Professionals are marginalized by a social order based on patronage and political loyalties rather than merit.  Would be entrepreneurs are stymied at every turn by government bureaucracy and corruption.  Political discourse is increasingly stifled.  In 2010, Maliki created a Court of the Publishing and Media that can fine and imprison journalists, television commentators or authors considered to have “insulted” the government.

Maliki has refused to implement economic reforms.  This spring, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani criticized his state budget for its excessive dependence on oil revenues.  He asked why the budget failed to encourage investment and development of the private sector, especially when Iraqis are known for their entrepreneurial skills.

In addition to dysfunctional and corrupt governance, Maliki has sapped the enthusiasm and energy of Iraq’s youth, who constitute70% of the population under the age of 30.  Youth play a central role is Iraq’s 6000 officially registered civil society organizations.  Yet Maliki has circumscribed their activities, frustrating efforts of youth to promote a wide variety of national reconciliation projects.  An indicator of the untapped potential of Iraqi youth is their strong desire for education that has required doubling the number of Iraqi universities since 2003. 

In focus groups I conducted with 600 Arab and Kurdish Iraqi youth ages 12 to 30, their alienation was evident in 89% responding that they would never join a political party.  When asked about role models, not one respondent mentioned admiring an Iraqi political leader.
The Maliki government’s treatment of women reflects another impediment to Iraq’s development. Women constitute well over 60% of Iraq’s population due to the deaths of large numbers of males in the Iran-Iraq and Gulf wars, the large 1991 uprising following the Gulf War, and the 2003-2008 sectarian violence.  

Women made significant gains in Iraq in the 1970s (they were a majority of Baghdad’s physicians when I first visited Iraq in 1980).  However, these gains were taken away by Saddam during the UN sanctions regime of the 1990s and women’s conditions have further deteriorated since 2003.  The only woman in Maliki’s cabinet is the Minister of Women’s Affairs, a ministry that receives almost no government funding.

Women protest the Ja'fari law: "We mourn Iraqi women on International Day of Women"
In early 2014, the Maliki government approved a law that would apply to Shiite women and nullify Iraq’s 1959 personal status law, one of the most supportive of women’s rights in the Arab world.  Intended to attract votes for Maliki in last April’s parliamentary elections from poor and uneducated Shiite males, the law allows child marriage as early as 9 years of age, legitimizes martial rape and eliminates a woman’s right to divorce and travel, making her the virtual property of her husband and male members of her family.  

As the UN Woman agency has noted, the status of women is a more significant predictor of stability in a society than its level of democratization or GDP.  Failure to provide women a meaningful role in post-Baathist Iraq has prevented 3/5 of Iraq’s population from contributing to its development. 

As an example of Iraq’s great potential for positive change, I recently attended two important conferences, one in the Arab south and the other in the Kurdish north.  Compared to my first trip to Iraq in 1980, two things were striking. In 1980, Iraqis borrowed banned books from my hotel room at great peril to themselves, underscoring the well-known saying that the Egyptians write, the Lebanese publish and the Iraqis read.  

In 2014, that same spirit of inquiry was alive at the Najaf conference on Religious Pluralism and Tolerance in the Dialogue of Civilizations, and at the Dohuk University conference on Education and Peace Building in Iraq.  The former conference is part of the University of Kufa’s competition for a UNESCO Chair in Religious Dialogue, while the Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies at Dohuk University seeks to spread peace and conflict resolution curricula throughout Iraqi schools and universities. In 2014, as in 1980, Iraqis demonstrated why they are held in such high intellectual esteem throughout the Arab world.

At these conferences, Iraqi academics, peace and democracy activists, and clerics of all sects and ethnicities delivered insightful lectures and engaged in spirited and respectful debate.  The conferences highlighted that Iraqis reject sectarianism, one indicator of which is the high rate of Sunni-Shiite intermarriage. 
Iraqis of all ethnoconfessional groups and social classes view sectarian politics as a recipe for the same disaster that befell Iraq during the 1990s when Saddam sought to create ethnic and confessional divisions to prop up his rule, weakened after the 1991 Gulf War. 

Iraq faces a serious contradiction.  On the one hand, it possesses an educated and politically aware population, large segments of which yearn to build a free, democratic and prosperous society.  On the other hand, it is burdened by a political system in which elite actors pursue their personal interests rather than those of the country as a whole.

As Iraq requests assistance from the US, Western countries and NGOs in confronting ISIS terrorism and in selecting a new prime minster this summer, this assistance should be conditioned on fundamental reforms in Iraq’s political system that will make it more participatory, transparent and supportive of the rights of youth and women.  

If Iraq’s leaders would opt for a more inclusive politics, including confronting sectarianism and corruption, Iraq has the potential to become the South Korea or Taiwan of the Middle East

Iraqis have suffered under oppressive and authoritarian rule for far too long.  They deserve to have leaders who will allow them to unleash their potential to develop a society that benefits all its members.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Should the Kurds Remain in a Federal Iraq?

Masoud Barzani & Jalal Talabani
This is the first in a series of posts on challenges facing Iraq, including authoritarian rule, youth and terrorism, women's rights, sectarian identities, building civil society and conservation of cultural heritage, among others.

What do the ISIS attacks and occupation of northwestern Iraq mean for the territorial integrity of Iraq?  The Iraqi army’s collapse in Mosul, Tikrit and al-Anbar Province has provided the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) with the opportunity to occupy much of the so-called “disputed lands” that it has been contesting with the central government in Baghdad. Of the areas claimed by both the KRG and the central government in Baghdad, the oil rich city of Kirkuk is the most significant.  

With the chaos in the Arab northwest, many Kurds have been expressing a desire for the KRG to declare independence from Iraq.  Should the KRG become an independent state or remain within a federal Iraq?  What would be the consequences if the Kurds would take such a step?

Iraq’s Kurds’ desire for an independent state is understandable.  The Kurds suffered brutal treatment under Saddam Husayn’s Ba’thist regime during the notorious Anfal campaign of the late 1980s that destroyed hundreds of Kurdish villages and the Kurdish agricultural sector and killed hundreds of Kurdish men between the ages of 15 and 55. The bombing of the Kurdish city of Halabja in 1988 with chemical weapons was the most egregious of Saddam’s attacks.

Under the current Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Kurds have not been treated with respect.  Maliki’s rhetoric has indicated a lack of desire to negotiate with the KRG. Instead, he has tried to coerce and intimidate them to act in the way that he wants through bluster and even sending Iraqi army units to towns such as Khanaqin near the so-called Green Line that separates the KRG from Arab Iraq.  

While Baghdad has struggled with developing its oil sector, the Kurds have sought to modernize their facilities working with assistance from foreign firms.  In both cases, there has been major corruption, but the KRG has been more effective in attracting and working with foreign investment.  One of the main points of contention between Arbil and Baghdad has been the Kurds’ desire to upgrade their oil industry without bureaucratic impediments from the central government.

Nevertheless, I would argue that there are many reasons why an Iraqi Kurdistan that enjoys significant autonomy in a truly federal state should remain within Iraq.  The reasons I discuss below are are strategic, political, economic and cultural.

Strategic considerations
When ISIS attacked Mosul and large numbers of Iraqi troop abandoned their positions, Kurdish Peshmerga forces rushed to fill the vacuum, occupying considerable amounts of land below the so-Green Line.  Cries for the KRG to declare independence began to be heard.  However, as the extent of ISIS victories, the amount of weapons at its disposal and its brutal treatment of Iraqi army forces became known, many Kurds now seem less enthusiastic about leaving Iraq (

As ISIS has advanced and seized more towns in the Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, Peshmerga forces have begun noting the difficulty of defending a 1000 km (600 mile border), the inferiority of their weaponry compared to ISIS, and the fanaticism of ISIS fighters who were not afraid to die in battle to achieve “martyrdom.”  As long gas lines have appeared in Arbil and other Kurdish cities and towns, the fact that the KRG possesses no refinery and is dependent for gasoline on external entities, especially Arab Iraq, began to sink in.  The large number of Arab refugees that the KRG allowed to enter its territory has become a serious economic burden.

Beyond the traditional antipathy of Turkey and Iran to an independent Kurdish state in Iraq, and of course the hostility of Arab Iraq to this idea, the KRG leadership seems to have realized that declaring outright independence might entail too many costs. The US is likewise against the KRG becoming an independent state.  During their June 24th meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry asked KRG President Masoud Barzani not to pursue independence.  Were the KRG to declare independence, the US would no doubt be less inclined to supply the KRG with advanced weaponry.
KRG Peshmerga forces
Political considerations  
If the KRG were to declare independence, there would be a number of political costs.  First, the new Kurdish state would become a dependency of Turkey.  During a recent trip to Arbil and Dohuk, I was struck by the extent to which Turkey dominates the KRG economy, from consumer goods to large scale construction projects.  As Turkey, under Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan’s AK Party, becomes more authoritarian, and corruption scandals rock his government, do the Kurds really want to tie their fate to Turkey?

Turkey’s Kurdish population is rapidly expanding (with a much higher birth rate than the Turkish population) and demanding greater economic investment in eastern Turkey and more political rights.  Turkey still faces a powerful challenge from the Turkish Worker’s Party (PKK) that uses the KRG as a refuge from the Turkish army.  There is also turmoil in northeastern Syria where Kurds have broken away from Damascus’ control and are fighting ISIS and other extremist groups.
 PKK women commanders & fighters

The KRG can more effectively negotiate solutions to these problems if it remains part of Iraq and continues to maintain strong international support, than as a vulnerable land-locked nation with hostile neighbors.
Kurds themselves still face tensions between the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and between the two major parties, the KDP and PUK, and the upstart Gorran (Change) Movement that has strong support among the educated middle classes, as well as the Kurdistan Islamic Union.  

Closer to Iran, the PUK has been more keen to fight ISIS than the KDP.  We should not forget that the tensions that still exist led to a civil war between the KDP and PUK from 1994 to 1998, with the Iranians providing military aid to the PUK and Saddam Husayn’s army preventing a KDP defeat by coming to its defense in 1996.
Lt. Gen. Babakir Zebari
Finally, the Kurds would lose their control of important political leadership positions in the Iraqi government.  Despite being very ill, Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, is a Kurd.  Hoshyar Zebari, its foreign minister, is a Kurd.  Even though he has been ignored and marginalized by Nuri al-Maliki, Lt. Gen. Babakir Zebari, the commander of the Iraqi army and an officer with considerable military experience, is a Kurd.  Iraq's ambassador to Washington, Lukman Faily, a member of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Islamic Call Party (Hizb al-Da'wa al-Islamiya), is also a Kurd

I would argue that the KRG can achieve more of its goals if it continues to have strong political influence in Baghdad, influence it would lose through declaring an independent state. 

Economic considerations
While many argue that the KRG’s oil and natural gas reserves provide the basis for a stable, independent economy, this argument has flaws.  Visiting the KRG this past May, I was told that the figures I cited of 40% of Iraq’s oil being in the Kurdish majority provinces of Dohuk, Arbil and Sulaimaniya were actually exaggerated and the figure is closer to 10%.  (Other oil analysts say the KRG has reserves of 45 billion representing 25% of Iraq’s total).  It is true that the Kurds now control the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, but they certainly won’t be able to control Kirkuk’s oil production without cooperation from the large non-Kurdish population and the central government in Baghdad.

Further, the KRG still lacks significant human resources that it needs to develop its economy and society.  Declaring independence will make it much more difficult to attract professionals and engineers from the Arab world.  While there is a strong desire for higher education in the KRG, Kurdish universities still do not have the science, technology and professional academic units that they need to train young Kurds.  In fact, many Kurds still attend Arab Iraqi universities, e.g., many Kurds are graduates of Mosul and Baghdad universities.

SCF Altai oil tanker
Despite shipping a tanker full of oil from the KRG from the port of Ceyhan in Turkey in May, the KRG encountered resistance in selling it.  First, Morocco refused to allow the offloading of the oil as the Iraqi federal government threatened international legal action against any state that purchased the oil.  Finally, the SCF Altai was able to deliver the oil to Israeli port of Ashkelon.  The key question remains: will the KRG be able to sell its oil without constant threats and legal challenges?

Cultural considerations
Although it may not seem relevant to cite the long relationship that exists between the Kurds and the rest of Iraq’s ethnic and confessional groups, these relationships are, I would argue, very important, especially in terms of historical cultural bonds.  These bonds can be used by political leaders who believe in Iraq’s need to develop a political culture based on pluralism and tolerance.  Put differently, there are a wide range of cultural bonds between Arab and Kurdish Iraqis that would be disrupted by a declaration of independence.

The term Kurd probably finds it origins in the Sumerian, “Qardu.”  Tablets from 3000 BCE refer to a people known who lived in the “Land of the Kar-da.”  Thus Kurds have as many cultural connections to ancient Mesopotamia – the Land between the Two Rivers – as do Iraq’s Arabs or any other ethnic or confessional group in Iraq.

Moving to the modern period, we find Kurds playing a central role in Iraq’s nationalist movement and government and in its economic and cultural life.  The Guardians of Independence (Haras al-Istiqlal) was a key player in the June-October 192o Revolution that erupted after Britain reneged on its promise to give Iraq complete independence (al-istiqlal al-tamm) when it occupied the country in 1917.  Jamal Baban, a Kurd, was a member of the Guardians’ board of directors and worked with other ethnic and confessional groups – Shi’a, Sunni Arabs, Jews and Christians – to pressure the British to keep their promise.

The commander-in-chief of the Iraqi Army in the mid-1930s was Bakr Sidqi al-Askari, a Kurd who was related to the highly popular military commander and Defense Minister Ja’far al-‘Askari.  Lionized for putting down a purported uprising by Iraq’s Assyrian community in 1933, one in which many Assyrians were killed, Sidqi used his popularity to engineer the first military coup in the Arab world in 1936. 

Kurds played an important role in all ministries under the Hashimite monarchy (1921-1958).  Many Kurds served as ministers, especially as Minister of Interior.  In the last elected government that as overthrown by the 1958 Revolution, the prime minister Ahmad Baban was a Kurd as was the Interior Minister, Sayyid Qazzaz.

Kurds have played a central role in what was, historically, Iraq’s most powerful political party, the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP).  Widely popular, not because of its Marxist origins, but because it emphasized social justice and was anti-sectarian, the party attracted member from all sectors of Iraqi society, including the Kurds.  Time and time again, the ICP stressed the unity of Iraqis and the political irrelevance of their ethnic or confessional backgrounds.  Kurds, such as Baha al-Din Nuri, headed the party and were consistently represented in the party’s leadership.

Kurds joined Arabs, Jews, Christians, Turkmen and others in the large number of strikes beginning in the 1930s -  in the oil industry, oil pipeline construction and the Iraqi national railways - to the 1958 Revolution to increase wages and improve labor conditions during the nationalist struggle against the British (See my, "History for the Many or History for the Few: The Historiography of the Iraqi Working Class Kurds have contributed to Iraq’s cultural life through art, poetry and literature.   

Kurds continue to contribute to the media.  For example, Iraq’s best newspaper, al-Mada, and its Mada Publishing House, have contributed enormously to Iraq’s cultural life, and to the promotion of democracy, under its Kurdish owner and editor-in chief, Fakhri Karim. Both the KDP and PUK print daily Arabic editions of the newspapers, al-Ta'akhi and al-Ittihad, respectively.

Perhaps the strongest feelings of national unity were expressed during the Asia Cup match between Saudi Arabia and Iraq in 2007.  Iraq won an unexpected victory with 3 goals being scored by the team's Kurdish striker, and one each by a Shi'i and a Sunni player, an outcome of which Iraqis were very proud.  Shi'a, Sunnis and Kurds celebrated together in Baghdad as football (soccer) brought the entire country together.

The point to be made is that Iraq’s Kurds and Arabs have a much longer history of ties with one another than Kurds do with its other neighbors such as Turkey, Iran or Syria.  This doesn’t insure smooth relations but it does call attention to the problems as being more at the level of competing political elites than at the level of people. 
Kurds and Arabs constantly tell me that they have no problem interacting with each other.  When I conducted research in the KRG in 2007 and 2008, I learned some Kurdish (which I’m still studying) so I could apologize that I wasn’t able to hold a serious conversation in the local Sorani dialect.  

Instead, we spoke in Arabic as Kurds indicated that it didn’t matter to them whether we spoke Arabic or Kurdish.  Indeed, I noticed many Arabic terms in the Sorani dialect (as we see Persian influences on Iraq’s Arabic dialect).

There is a parallel to be made between the KRG and Quebec.  Many Québécois have sought to develop an independent state for over two centuries.  Nevertheless, in referendum after referendum, they have decided that the economic and political costs out way independence. Instead, Québec’s citizens have opted for a robust federalism that has given them equal rights with English speaking Canadians. The same narrative can be applied to the Scots and Welsh in the United Kingdom where economic imperatives continue to dampen enthusiasm for independence.

In short, the Kurds are in a strong position to pressure the central government in Baghdad to institutionalize a truly federal system in which Kurds play a key decision-making role and in which a new unity government begins to promote policies that will help bring Kurds and Arabs closer together.  
Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim in his physician's garb
In the areas that the KRG Peshmerga forces have seized, especially in Kirkuk, the Kurds should follow a tolerant policy and one that shares oil production in the city and its environs.  The Governor of Kirkuk, Dr. Najmaldin Karim, an accomplished neurosurgeon, has already won much support from the Arab, Turkmen and Christian populations.  Indeed, the Kurds won 8 of the provinces 12 seats in last April's parliamentary elections (

 Speaking to Kirkuk residents in May, many said that Arabs and other had voted for Najmaldin Karim because he had dramatically improved city services and cut corruption.  Indeed, Kirkuk might become like Trieste after WWI, a city and governorate shared by both the KRG and Arab Iraq.

An understanding that Kurds and Arabs have not been engaged in continuous conflict based on so-called ‘ancient hatreds” is especially important for the new generation since 70% of Iraq’s population is under the age of 30.   

School curriculum, religious education by Kurdish and Arab clerics and priests working together to promote a curriculum of  tolerance, greater ties between Kurdish and Arab democratic forces and civil society organizations, e.g., women’s rights organizations, and summer camps that bring Kurdish and Arab youth together are just of the policies that could promote a new spirit of national reconciliation, especially among Iraqi youth, Iraq’s “generation in waiting” and future leaders.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Petititon of The Initiative of Iraqi Intellectuals for the Unity of Iraq

 Please sign the petition below:

A possible "silver lining" to the crisis caused by ISIS' seizure of large parts of north western Iraq, with help of former regime members in the so-called Naqshibandi Army, is that it may cause Iraq's dysfunctional political elite to put aside their divisions and desires for personal gain.

The existential threat facing Iraq could then lead not only to a new government that is more  pluralistic and inclusive, but one that gives more authority to the provinces, thereby creating a more  participatory, democratic and efficient political system.  If that were to occur, Sunni Arabs and the Kurds would no doubt be more supportive of a unified Iraq because they would feel that their concerns are being addressed by the central government.

Obviously, the anger Sunnis and Kurds, and the Shi'i majority provinces of the south, feel towards Nuri al-Maliki's government, constitutes one of the key causes for the crisis and the possibility that Iraq may collapse as a nation-state.  Such an outcome would be a disaster of the greatest magnitude, not just for Iraqis but for the entire Middle East.  It would constitute a victory for extremism and encourage more such movements to form throughout the region.

Therefore, all democratically minded global citizens need to support Iraq in its time of need and not act as if terrorism is a spectator sport.  We all need to stay informed and pressure policy-makers, both inside and outside Iraq, to enact policies that keep Iraq unified, and based on a democratic system of governance, and on a political culture comprised of the norms of pluralism, tolerance, negotiation and compromise, and social justice.

Friday, June 20, 2014

مبادرة مثقفات ومثقفون من أجل وحدة العراق

Baghdad's famous al-Mutanabbi book market
This initiative, and the signatories to it below, were sent to me by Dr. Faris Kamal Nadhmi, formerly of Baghdad University, who currently teaches social psychology at Salahiddin University, in Arbil.  This is a very exciting initiative that demonstrates that the spirit of a nationalist,pluralist and tolerant Iraq is still very much alive. ED

مثقفات ومثقفون من أجل وحدة العراق

في لحظة مصيرية عصيبة، وأمام تحديات جسيمة تواجه العراق شعباً وأرضاً وتأريخاً وحضارة، وتهدد وحدته وأمنه ومستقبله، وفي ظل التداعيات الخطيرة التي ترتبت وسوف تترتب على الهجمات الإرهابية على الموصل ومدن عراقية أخرى، وفي نطاق قناعتنا بحجم الأخطاء والسياسات الملتبسة التي ساهمت بتمكين الإرهاب من مدن العراق وأهله، يقف المثقف العراقي مسؤولاً أمام شعبه وأمام الاجيال القادمة، للتحذير من فداحة ما يواجهه الوطن، ومطالبة كل الأطراف حسب مسؤوليتها بمعالجة الشروخ الوطنية، وحفظ أمن البلاد وسلامتها. وعلى ذلك نطالب بالآتي:

1-  اننا اذ نشجب ممارسات الحكومة والقوى السياسية المتصدية ونحمّلها مسؤولية الخراب والتدهور الأمني الحاصل في العراق، نطالب بانعقاد مؤتمر عام للمصالحة الوطنية فوراً على أن يكون تحت خيمة الامم المتحدة، ويضم تلك القوى السياسية مع كافة التيارات الفاعلة في المجتمع العراقي. ونؤكد على ضرورة إجراء مراجعة شاملة للعملية السياسية وتعديل الدستور وتحقيق اصلاحات جوهرية بإرادة عراقية بحتة من أجل طي صفحة الخلافات وبناء مؤسسات ديمقراطية متينة.

2-  ندعم الجهود الأمنية التي تبذلها الدولة لإعادة بسط نفوذها على المدن والاقضية التي جرى احتلالها من جماعات مسلحة خارج إطار الدولة، بما يضمن انسجام هذه الجهود مع الدستور العراقي وشرعة حقوق الإنسان والقانون الدولي أثناء العمليات الحربية. كما ندعم حصر السلاح بيد الدولة وعدم السماح لأي تشكيلات أو جماعات أو ميليشيات باستثمار الفرصة لتحقيق مكاسب طائفية على حساب الهوية الوطنية العراقية الواحدة.

3- حث الحكومة العراقية وكافة التيارات الوطنية العراقية على الانفتاح على سكان المحافظات التي باتت تحت سيطرة الجماعات المسلحة، بمختلف التيارات السياسية والانتماءات العشائرية لهؤلاء السكان، بهدف التنسيق والتفاعل الايجابي واستعادة الثقة بما يضمن إقناعهم بجدوى العودة الى الكيان الاتحادي للدولة التي يجب ان تقدم ضمانات بأنها تقر بمطالبهم المشروعة وبضرورة رفع المظالم عنهم.

4- ندعو الى تشكيل تحالف سياسي واسع عابر للأديان والأعراق والطوائف، يضم كل القوى الديمقراطية والعقلانية والإصلاحية، ويعمل سلمياً ودستورياً على طرح مشروع جديد لشكل الدولة ونمط السلطة، ويغدو بديلاً عن سلطة الطائفية السياسية التي دفعت البلاد الى الخراب والتفكك.

5- ندعو المرجعيات الدينية بمختلف مذاهبها، إلى إصدار فتاوى صريحة ومباشرة لدعم التعايش السلمي في البلاد وتجريم خطاب الكراهية بين فئات المجتمع العراقي وإدانة الارهاب بكل أشكاله خصوصاً الارهاب التكفيري الذي يتصدره تنظيم داعش. وندين أي فتاوى تدعو لاستخدام السلاح خارج نطاق المؤسسات الأمنية للدولة بما يعمل على تعميق الخنادق الطائفية المتبادلة.  

6- نرفض فرض حالة الطوارئ في البلاد لمنع استثمارها سياسياً بشكل قد يسيء للديمقراطية والتعددية السياسية المنشودة.

7- ندعو لانعقاد مجلس النواب الجديد فوراً بعد المصادقة على نتائج الانتخابات، ونؤكد على ضرورة أن يأخذ مجلس النواب دوره الكامل، وأن تكون كل مؤسسات الدولة خاضعة له وفق أسس النظام النيابي المنصوص عليها في الدستور.

8ـ- رفض التدخلات الإقليمية التي ساهمت في صناعة الخراب في العراق، والتأكيد على ضرورة تحميلها المسؤولية القانونية على تدخلاتها المتعارضة مع القوانين والأعراف الدولية.

9- نحمّل الولايات المتحدة الامريكية بوصفها راعية العملية السياسية، المسؤولية المباشرة فيما وصل إليه حال البلاد اليوم، ونطالبها بتصحيح الأوضاع سياسياً وليس عسكرياً، عبر القنوات الدبلوماسية التي تحفظ استقلال العراق وكرامته السيادية.

10- نطالب أصحاب الشأن بالمحافظة على الآثار التأريخية والبنى والمؤسسات الاجتماعية والثقافية والخدمية في المدن جميعها، خصوصاً تلك التي استباحها الإرهاب، وإعادة إعمار ما تتعرض له الصروح الثقافية والدينية من أضرار بفعل الوضع الأمني المتردي.

11- ندعو النخب الثقافية في كافة المحافظات العراقية الى عقد مؤتمر خاص، وإعلان موقف الثقافة العراقية الرافض لمحاولات تقسيم العراق، مع إدانة صريحة للفشل الحكومي الصارخ في ملفات الخدمات والأمن ومواجهة الإرهاب.

12- على كافة المؤسسات الإعلامية أن تكون بمستوى المسؤولية الوطنية والمهنية، وتبتعد عن إثارة النزعات العنصرية أو التعصبية بما يخدم هذا الطرف السياسي أو ذاك على حساب المصلحة الوطنية العليا.

13- على القوات الأمنية المحافظة على أرواح المدنيين وممتلكتهم أثناء العمليات العسكرية، وتوفير ممرات وملاذات آمنة لهم. وعلى الحكومة تهيئة مستلزمات الغذاء والدواء والسكن للمهجرين من مناطق سكناهم الأصلية بالتعاون مع المنظمات الدولية ذات الاختصاص. وندعو أبناء المحافظات الآمنة الى استقبال النازحين بما ينسجم مع التقاليد العراقية الراسخة والأخلاقيات الإنسانية وروح الوحدة والتآزر التي تميّز بها شعبنا الكريم.

14- ننتظر من كل قوى السلم والتنوير والديمقراطية في دول الجوار والعالم أن تدعم مبادرتنا هذه عبر نشاطها السياسي والجماهيري لممارسة الضغط على حكوماتها بما يضمن أن يحظى العراق بفرصة حقيقية للمصالحة الوطنية وتحقيق شروط السلم الأهلي وامتلاك أدوات فاعلة لإعادة بناء دولته على أسس المواطنة والقانون والعدل الاجتماعي.

إن العراق وطن واحد، يعيش على أرضه شعب واحد بتعدديته وتأريخه العميق وحضارته المشتركة، لذا ندعو الشعب العراقي الى التنبه لما يراد له من تقسيم وشتات وحرب تلبية لأجنداتٍ تسعى لتحقيق مصالح إقليمية أو دولية، وأن لا يُستدرج لما يشاع اليوم من كراهية وشقاق، قبل فوات الأوان.
هذا عراقنا، آخر معاقلنا الروحية في هذه الحياة، نريده وطناً موحداً عزيزاً ممكناً بثرائه التعددي وبعمقه الحضاري وبهيبته الدولتية. نريد أن يبقى الأمل... أن يبقى العراق!

17 / 6 / 2014

الموقعون على المبادرة حسب تسلسل الحروف الهجائية:
1.    إبراهيم الحريري
2.    إبراهيم الخميسي
3.    إحسان الخالدي
4.    د. أحمد الربيعي
5.    أحمد السعداوي
6.    أحمد عباس محمود
7.    أحمد عبد الحسين
8.    د. إخلاص العبيدي
9.    أديب كمال الدين
10.                       د. إرادة الجبوري
11.                       د. أرخوان رؤوف
12.                       أسامة القادري
13.                       د. أسعد ناجي
14.                       د. أسماء جميل رشيد
15.                       اسمهان مناتي
16.                       إشراق سامي
17.                       آمال جواد
18.                       أماني العريبي
19.                       أمير جبار الساعدي
20.                       أمير الحلو
21.                       أمين يونس
22.                       د. الناصر دريد
23.                       إنعام عبد الله حاتم
24.                       د. أنمار عبد الله فاضل
25.                       أنور الموسوي
26.                       إيهاب العبيدي
27.                       بارق شبر
28.                       باسم حجار
29.                       باسم محمد حسين
30.                       بان الشيخلي
31.                       برهان شاوي
32.                       بسام عبد الرزاق
33.                       بولص ريحانه
34.                       تانيا يوسف
35.                       تضامن عبد المحسن
36.                       د. تيسير عبد الجيار الآلوسي
37.                       ثائر الحيالي
38.                       د. ثائر كريم
39.                       ثابت نعمان إسماعيل
40.                       جاسم الحلفي
41.                       جاسم عيدي الساري
42.                       د. جبار سعيد
43.                       جبر علوان
44.                       جلال حسن
45.                       جمال الجواهري
46.                       د. جمانة القروي
47.                       جواد الأسدي
48.                       جواد الحطاب
49.                       جواد الحمداني
50.                       جيهان حلو
51.                       حارث حسن
52.                       حازم كويي
53.                       حبيب عبد الجواد
54.                       د. حسام رشيد
55.                       حسن سكران حسن الشمري
56.                       حسين رشيد
57.                       حسين الموزاني
58.                       د. حسين الهنداوي
59.                       حكمة حسين
60.                       حمودي عبد محسن
61.                       د. حميد الخاقاني
62.                       حميد عبد الحسين
63.                       حنان سبيس
64.                       حنين عباس
65.                       حياة ججو
66.                       د. حيدر سعيد
67.                       حيدر عودة
68.                       د. حيدر كطان
69.                       خالد مطلك
70.                       خالد المطلوب
71.                       خالدة سالم
72.                       خولة السنجري
73.                       دلوفان برواري
74.                       ذكرى سمير ناجي
75.                       رؤى زهير
76.                       د. رامي البازي
77.                       د. رشيد الخيون
78.                       رغيد الخيرو
79.                       رند طلال
80.                       ريا محمود عاصي
81.                       زهراء علي العضاض
82.                       زهير التميمي
83.                       زهير الجزائري
84.                       زهير ضياء الدين
85.                       زكي رضا
86.                       زينب الكعبي
87.                       زينب مسلم
88.                       سامح العبيدي
89.                       سامي جواد كاظم
90.                       سحر الياسري
91.                       سرمد الطائي
92.                       سعاد الجزائري
93.                       سعاد حسن العتابي
94.                       سعاد رشيد
95.                       سعد إبراهيم
96.                       سعد سلوم
97.                       سعد الشديدي
98.                       د. سعد فتح الله
99.                       سعدون محسن ضمد
100.                  سفين رحمن
101.                  سلام خالد
102.                  د. سلام سميسم
103.                  سلام طه
104.                  سلوى زكو
105.                  سليم سوزه
106.                  سميرة المانع
107.                  د. سناء عيسى
108.                  د. سنان أنطون
109.                  سناء الطالقاني
110.                  سهيل نجم
111.                  سوسن البراك
112.                  سيف البهادلي
113.                  سيف وليد
114.                  د. صائب عبد الحميد
115.                  د. صادق البلادي
116.                  د. صادق إطيمش
117.                  صباح قدوري
118.                  شروق العبايجي
119.                  شمخي جبر
120.                  شيراز صديق
121.                  شيماء حسن
122.                  صفاء حسين
123.                  صفاء عبد الواحد عبد الحسين
124.                  صفاء النعيمي
125.                  صلاح النصراوي
126.                  د. صلاح نيازي
127.                  ضرار العبيدي
128.                  ضياء الخالدي
129.                  طارق هاشم
130.                  طالب العواد
131.                  عامر حسن
132.                  د. عامر صالح
133.                  عامر القيسي
134.                  عايدة هيركي
135.                  عباس سميسم
136.                  عبد الاله توفيق
137.                  د. عبد الاله الصائغ
138.                  عبد الحسين رمضان
139.                  عبد الخالق كيطان
140.                  عبد الرزاق علي
141.                  عبير حسن العاني
142.                  عبير عباس
143.                  عدنان البرزنجي
144.                  عدنان حسين
145.                  د. عدنان زوين
146.                  عدنان الطائي
147.                  عذرا البلداوي
148.                  عز الدين أحمد عزيز
149.                  عصام الخميسي
150.                  عفيفة لعيبي
151.                  عقيل السعدي
152.                  د. عقيل الناصري
153.                  علاء مهدي
154.                  د. علي ثويني
155.                  علي جلال
156.                  علي السومري
157.                  علي صاحب
158.                  علي عبد الرحيم صالح
159.                  د. علي عبد اللطيف
160.                  علي الغرباوي
161.                  علي محمد سعيد
162.                  د. علي المعموري
163.                  علي وجيه
164.                  د. عماد عبد اللطيف سالم
165.                  عمار السواد
166.                  عماد جاسم
167.                  عمر عدوان
168.                  عمر كمال نظمي
169.                  د. غالب العاني
170.                  غسان الراضي
171.                  فائز أبو عبد الله
172.                  د. فائق بطي
173.                  د. فاخر جاسم
174.                  فارس عبد الحميد مهدي
175.                  د. فارس كمال نظمي
176.                  فاضل السلطاني
177.                  فاضل النشمي
178.                  د. فالح عبد الجبار
179.                  فرج الحطاب
180.                  فرح سالم
181.                  فضل خلف جبر
182.                  فلاح الآلوسي
183.                  فيان الشيخ علي
184.                  د. قاسم حسين صالح
185.                  قاسم عبد
186.                  قيس حسن
187.                  قيس قاسم العجرش
188.                  د. قيس ياسين
189.                  د. كاظم حبيب
190.                  د. كاترين ميخائيل
191.                  كاظم الدخيل
192.                  د. كامل كاظم العضاض
193.                  كامل زومايا
194.                  كريم رشيد
195.                  كوكب حمزة
196.                  لؤي خزعل جبر
197.                  لطفية الدليمي
198.                  لطيف جاسم
199.                  لمياء هادي
200.                  د. ليث حميد العاني
201.                  ليث عبد الأمير
202.                  مؤيد رحمة
203.                  ماجد الخطيب
204.                  ماجد فيادي
205.                  ماجدة الجبوري
206.                  مازن حميد
207.                  ماهر سلمان
208.                  مبجل بابان
209.                  محسن الذهبي
210.                  محسن حسين
211.                  محمد حسن السلامي
212.                  د. محمد الشطب
213.                  محمد الصوفي
214.                  محمد طارش السعيدي
215.                  محمد عباس الصوفي
216.                  محمد غازي الأخرس
217.                  د. محمد علي زيني
218.                  محمد النقشبندي
219.                  محمود الدليمي
220.                  مروان الدليمي
221.                  مشتاق طالب
222.                  د. مشتاق الحلو
223.                  مشرق عباس
224.                  مكسيم جبار
225.                  ملاك مظلوم
226.                  منتظر حسين
227.                  مصطفى محمد غريب
228.                  د. مها حسن بكر
229.                  مهدي باجلان
230.                  مهدي القريشي
231.                  موفق حسن محمود
232.                  د. ميثم لعيبي
233.                  ناجحة صالح
234.                  نادية البغدادي
235.                  نارين مام كاك
236.                  ناصر الحجاج
237.                  نانسي أوديشو
238.                  ناهدة جابر جاسم
239.                  نبيل تومي
240.                  نبيل نعمة الجابري
241.                  نجاح صالح عبد القادر
242.                  نضال الليثي
243.                  د. نمير الطويل
244.                  نهاد القاضي
245.                  نوال إبراهيم الطائي
246.                  نوال يوسف
247.                  نور القيسي
248.                  هادي الحسيني
249.                  هادي العقيدي
250.                  هدى محمد علي
251.                  همام سعد الشاوي
252.                  هوكر شيرواني
253.                  هيفاء عبد الكريم
254.                  هيفي صديق
255.                  هناء ادور
256.                  هيوا عثمان
257.                  وائل نعمة
258.                  واثق صادق
259.                  وداد صالح عبد القادر
260.                  د. وصال نجيب العزاوي
261.                  وليد يوسف عطو
262.                  وهاب حبيب
263.                  ياسر السالم
264.                  ياسين النصير
265.                  يحيى ذياب
266.                  د. يحيى الشيخ
267.                  يسرى القيسي
268.                  ييلماز جاويد