Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
  Global Views
Reconciliation in Iraq: Singular or Plural
Special Contribution
By Mokhtar Lamani
A map of Iraq

It is inappropriate to consider the question of national reconciliation in Iraq without firstrecognizing the unique nature of the challenge. The best path to redemption in Iraq remains dialogue between those in power, those in opposition, the forces of the occupation, international donors and the many different antagonists.

The problems that have faced Iraqis since 2003, between supporters and adversaries of a political processunder occupation, have merged with other challenges, splintering Iraqi actors and causingan unprecedented fragmentation of Iraqi society. What is needed therefore is not one sole initiative but rather a plethora of Iraqi reconciliations. These reconciliations require theacceptance of an inclusive political process that guarantees the participation of all Iraqisand builds a nation based on the principle of equal citizenship and a guarantee of adiverse and just society for all.The fragmentation of the Iraqi political scene has evolved in a climate of completemistrust and the near-absolute absence of serious dialogue between the different actors.

Further, the regional and international environment is not making the resolution of Iraq'sproblems any easier: The new American administration, while not acknowledging the complete failureof its predecessor in Iraq, is beginning a new, more timid approach that has notyet dared to suggest an alternative strategy for all Iraqis. Iran, which has assured itself of a relatively free hand on the Iraqi chessboard,cannot rest on its laurels; its regional situation remains critical.

The alarming results of the Israeli election and internal Palestinian problemsperpetuate tensions throughout the region, making any resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict unlikely. Reconciliation in Iraq must be a voluntary act and cannot be imposed by any party. It willnot be realized without a decisive and courageous commitment from all parties to movepast hatred and renounce violence in order to recognize each other. All reconciliation conferences that have been organized to date have been little more thanred herrings. Some, such as the one that took place in Helsinki, have final documentssigned only by Iraqi Members of Parliament: was it really necessary to travel all the wayto Helsinki for such a document when the signatories see each other every day in thelegislative assembly in Baghdad? Most of these documents continue to state "the impossibility of reconciling with those whose hands are stained with the blood ofinnocents" but we must ask ourselves: during the last 50 years in Iraq, whose hands aretruly clean?

Political and institutional normalization must first advocate for a real "disarmament of thehearts" that will help Iraqis – all Iraqis – to understand that the stability and sustainabilityof their country must be achieved by their agreement. This type of agreement, in view ofthe complicated regional environment, is the only true guarantee of internal Iraqistability. Successful reconstruction will not be realized through "victor's justice" or a politicalsystem built on ethnic or religious exclusion; it will only be accomplished as a result of apolitical process takes these three factors into account: The effective protection of the civil liberties and political life of all Iraqis and thepreservation of social cohesion while safeguarding fundamental rights andliberties.

All Iraqi people have suffered both before and after 2003, hence the absolute needfor a democratization that brings the population into the decision-making processand fosters a respect for pluralism and difference. It must be assured that abuse, mass graves, massacres and genocide are neverallowed to take place again.Finally, no political effort should try to have the people of Iraq and its beautiful mosaicthink that these reconciliations are about embellishing, or even worse forgetting, the pastor present; rather it is to ensure that these wounds do not remain open and themselvesbecome sources of resentment and waste of the future.

The author, Mr. Mokhtar Lamani, is senior visiting fellow – CIGI – Canada. He is the former ambassador and special envoy of the Arab League to Iraq. He can be contacted at






The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange