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The Expectant Geopolitical Implications

Of the American Withdrawal from Iraq

A postdoctoral Research Submitted to the Institute of International
Relations / University of Warsaw

Dr Diearry Salih Mageed
Working at the University of Karbala / Iraq
((Specialist in Political Geography and Geopolitics))

November 2010


Many think that the Iraqi situation before the last American invasion had
been very good one. They reached the conclusion as they compare the worse
things we had during that time with the worst we have today. Many of them
say that the American invasion to this country has lead to destabilize the
situation on the ground as well as to have many bad consequences than any
one can imagine. This is true absolutely and we agree with it , but the
question we would like to ask here is do we think that the American
departure from Iraq would participate in changing that situation to be better
? . In Iraq , we believe that the invasion was not a simple journey to free
The Iraqi people from that bad oppression we face during the former regime
. The Americans as well as the coalition troops have come to invade this
country as they had some geopolitical objectives they wanted to apply there.
in turn , we welcome the step of withdrawal taken by Obamas
administration . It is really a good step to the Americans as they want to
rethink carefully about their future in Iraq . But what about Iraq ? would it
be a good choice to the Iraqi people to see the American withdrawal ? .
There is a difference between being a person supporting the invasion and the
other who wants to deal with problems created by the invasion . From
pragmatic point of view , I think it is reasonable to say that the USA must
solve all the problem we have in Iraq as a result to the invasion before
leaving it . Otherwise, we would face a real disaster which will affect
negatively all our future nit only in Iraq but also in the whole middle east
region . Last but not least we can ask what would be the results of this
withdrawal in the future from an Iraqi view ?


1- The plan of American withdrawal from Iraq :
In 2009 the American president Barack Obama announced that he would
apply his decision to withdraw the American troops from Iraq within the
timetable discussed with the top military officials in the pentagon. This step
came after a long conflict on the Iraqi terrain either with the rebellion or
jihadist groups as well as the regional states neighboring Iraq. This conflict
has lead to many casualties among the American soldiers and the Iraqi
innocent people too.
In a speech to U.S. Marines at Camp Lejeune on February 27, 2009,
President Obama announced that the Administrations review of U.S.
strategy in Iraq was complete and that the U.S. mission in Iraq would shift
from combat to supporting and training Iraqi security forces, and that U.S.
troops would decline from the February 2009 level of about 140,000 in-
country to 35,000 to 50,000 troops by August 31, 2010.

By January 2010, there were 112,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. By the end of
May 2010, that number had been reduced to 88,000. General Odierno made
the decision in May 2010 that positive developments in the security sector
permitted the drawdown to go forward as planned. The final tranche of the
drawdown to reach the Presidents commitment to end combat operations
began in earnest in June 2010. On August 24, 2010, the number of U.S.
troops in Iraq was reduced to 50,000. On August 31, Operation Iraqi
Freedom ends. The transitional mission will be called Operation New Dawn.

Amy Belasco , Troop Levels in the Afghan and Iraq Wars,FY2001-FY2012: Cost and
Other Potential Issues , (Washington , Congressional Research Service July 2, 2009 ), p.


Consistent with our agreements with the Iraqi government, all U.S. troops
are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

The Iraqi and American side has signed what was called the Iraq Status
of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to be able to agree about the coming step in
the relations between these countries. In that agreement two sides agreed to
apply the withdrawal in a time between 12 and 18 month and at last
departure all the American troops from Iraq by the end of 2011 .
Barack Obama has affirmed many times on the plan of pull the
American soldiers out of Iraq not just as an election slogan but as a new
strategy he wants to see its positive results to come in the future especially
for the American army in Iraq . In the white house in one of his meeting, he
confirmed his own idea concerning the withdrawal by his own words when
he said We will continue with the responsible removal of the United States
forces from Iraq, and by the end of the next year, all U.S. troops will be out
of Iraq.
In this point we would like to indicate to the fact that refers to the notion
of withdrawal is not a new one , and it is not Obamas specifically . The
former president, I mean Bush , had used that idea before his competitor
obam during the election era . As proof to that we want to quote some
words said by Secretary Rumsfeld when he announced On December 23,
2005 that President Bush had approved the withdrawal of an undisclosed
number of U.S. troops in 2006. A reduction to a baseline of 138,000 by
spring 2006, and further reductions in summer 2006 have also been
discussed. Though some have speculated that domestic concerns over the

Washington DC , Center for strategic and international studies, 2010 ) , p. 2 .


2006 U.S. elections may encourage the Bush Administration to speed

Barack Obama hoped that the plan of withdrawal the troops would have
been ended by 2011 , and he indicated that there are many views inside the
American policy maker cycles . Some of whom want to continue staying
in Iraq to do more benefits, but the others do not like to do so, therefore they
are thinking differently. Barack obama expressed this idea by his own
words when he said "There are some Americans who want to stay in Iraq
longer, and some who want to leave faster."

One of those important entities is the general David Petraeus who has all
kind of support by Defense Secretary Robert Gates . He asked Obama that
he had to back down from his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat
troops from Iraq within 16 months at an Oval Office meeting Jan- 21, but
Obama informed Gates, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike
Mullen that he wasn't convinced and that he wanted Gates and the military
leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan.

In this point it is interesting to refer into the point of view expressed by
general Jack Keane

as he was one of the well known American official

Steve Bowman , CRS Report for Congress Iraq: U.S. Military Operations Updated, (
,Congressional research service , 2006) p. 6 .
Karen DeYoung , Obama Sets Timetable for Iraq, Washington Post , February 28,
2009 .
Gareth Porter , Generals Seek To Reverse Obama's Iraq Withdrawal Decision, The
Huffington post , February 2, 2009 .

General Jack Keane served 37 years in the Army, rising to the rank of four-star General.
Most recently, he held the position of the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. During his
four years in this job as Chief Operating Officer of the United States Army, he managed
operations of more than 1.5 million soldiers and civilians in over 120 countries and an
annual budget in excess of $110 billion dollars. Throughout his tenure in this position the
Army has fought and won wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while supporting numerous


working in army. He said that a Democratic president would probably not
take the political risk of rejecting Petraeus's recommendation on the pace of
troop withdrawal from Iraq. He assured his idea towards this plan to Gates,
by these words "Let's assume we have a Democratic administration and they
want to pull this thing out quickly, and now they have to deal with General
Petraeus and General Odierno. There will be a price to be paid to override

Of course the politicians who do not care about the size of consequences
of the war against Iraq are the most defenders on maintaining the American
presence in that country to protect their interests and geopolitical goals they
want to apply in the whole middle east region , but the others do not have the
same sight towards the American situation on the ground there . They want
to change the American strategy applied in Iraq to decrease the number of
causalities among the American troops and reshape their plans o deal with
the real American interests in that region by a way which will preserve the
American prestige especially after the bad effects of former American
politics not only in Iraq but also in all the world, specifically in the middle
east region.
Even though we encourage the American withdrawal from Iraq
territories, we have fears that the wrong decision that president Bush made
when he declared that the operation of freedom Iraq had been finished ,
might be repeated again by his ancestor Barack Obama . when Bush
announced that matter he did not take into account the negative results
which would come to the Iraqi scene after that , so many researchers around

worldwide peace operation, maintaining readiness, and transforming to a faster, more
deployable force . for more details see :
Gareth Porter , Generals Seek To Reverse Obama's Iraq Withdrawal Decision.


the world have the same fear we have . Consequently, we have to ask this
question do we are ready to get into this phrase in Iraq ?,and what are the
expectant results of this withdrawal from geopolitical point of view ? .
The importance of this question may be more explained by the opinion
which was said by the top Iraqi commander Lieutenant General Babakir
Zebari who said At this point, the withdrawal is going well, because they
are still here , but the problem will start after 2011 - the politicians must find
other ways to fill the void after 2011
. it means that the Iraqi side does not
have the real desire to see the American troops in Iraq in the long term , but
it is clear that they have some fears which are not the same as that the
American who want to stay here in Iraq for longer time have , so what will
be the results of that withdrawal ?

RTE News , US sticks to Iraq withdrawal timetable ,August 12,2010


2- Launching the sectarian conflict.
The first thing that we fear from after the Americans departure from
Iraq is the ability of repeating the bloodshed war we faced during the
period 2006-2007 taken into account that there were more troops on the
ground than either we have now or in the future . we know that the Iraqi
soldiers and police have been increased to secure the situation in our
country , but the question we have to focus on is whether those security
forces are able to prevent the ethnic and sectarian war from beginning
again ? . Moreover, this fate in Iraq will depend on many other things in
which the forming a new strong government will be a real step to
consolidate the security situation there.
Even though we had the last elecon before about 6 months, we have
not had a new government till this moment . This means that setting up this
new one will be a real challenge to the Iraqi politicians to assure not only to
the Iraqi people but also to the whole international community that they
want to have an independent and secure country . I am personally prefer
having such a government than facing the opposite scenario , but when we
take into consideration the sectarian base on which the USA supported the
formula of governing in Iraq , we will have many fears playing in our mind .
According to Stephen Biddle The humanitarian consequences, for
example, could be quite severe. US forces in Iraq are insufficient to end the
violence, but they do cap its intensity. If we withdraw them, the violence
will rise accordingly. Most victims of this violence are innocent civilians.


The bitter ethnic and sectarian roots of this conflict give every reason to
suspect that
the scale of killing that could result from US withdrawal could dwarf
todays death toll
. there is another important indicate to the sectarian
conflict in Iraq on the long term which was set by Caitlin Naidoff who said
When sectarian violence was increasing in Iraq, many feared that the
country would, upon American departure, erupt into genocidal civil war. The
leading course of action being considered by the United States Congress,
along with several military officials, was the institution of a partition that
would divide the country into three ethnic regions, dominated by Sunnis,
Shiites and Kurds.
. This vision was built on the experience of civil war
we had 3 years ago and led to suggest the idea of dividing the country into
three regions on the base of sectarian and the ethnicity . Josef Baidin , the
vice American president now , was the well known person talking about
such a scenario. That opinion was opposed hugely in Iraq .
Iraq is a real complex country in its sectarian and ethnicity structure. We
have many ethnic and religious groups such as the Arabs , Kurds , Turkmen
and some other small groups( see map1 ) . In contrast we also have many
religious divisions like Muslims and Christians , and in Islamic religion we
have many sections . In Iraq specially we have shiaa and suni sections . if we
take a look at the map 1, we will find the real picture of what can be called
the geography of religions and sectarians as well as the ethnicity in Iraq .

Stephen Biddle , Evaluating Options for Partial Withdrawals of US Forces from Iraq., ,(
USA , Committee on Armed Services , July 25, 2007 ) . p 3 .
. Caitlin Naidoff , The Danger of Division: A Historical and Statistical Evaluation of
Partition in Iraq , Volume XX ( 2009 ) , P. 143.


The problem we had during the first 5 years of the American invasion of
Iraq was the conflict among all political elements they were , as they alleged
, working on behalf of their own religious , sectarian or ethnic group . Every
grope wanted to devote all the power in his hand and dominate on the others
. This led to a real conflict especially between shite and sunni .
In this case there is an important viewpoint noted by Caitlin Naidoff
who said Upon historical examination, however, it appears that the
conflict between Sunnis and Shiites is not age-old. Ethnic division has not
always plagued Iraq in the way that it does today; rather, it has been


codified and fostered by various interest groups at various times for
political and economic gain. First, division was encouraged by Turkish
interference, then by British colonialism, again under the Baathist regime,
and finally by U.S. intervention .
This clearly means that the Americans
side played a critical role in encouraging that war between these
components . All the invaded experiences around the world refers that the
aggressive state uses the old modern policy depending on the principle
dividing and role . When USA applied this policy in Iraq recently, they
participated in intensifying the civil war there .
The issue of what is likely to happen to the insurgency after US
withdrawal turns on the question of at whom the insurgency has been
directed to this point. As many have noted, the insurgency in Iraq has
actually been several different insurgencies, each with different targets,
though evidence suggests a convergence among some of these different
insurgent groups.
We can divide the Iraqi groups working either against
each other or against the USA into three groups as they classified by some

The Shia today now focus on assuring that Iraqs new government
reflects the will of the majority Shia population, making sure that the
Baathists never regain power.

Ibid , p. 146
David Edelstein ,The Desirability and Downsides of Withdrawal:The Effect of US
Withdrawal on the Insurgency in Iraq,in Ellen Laipson and Maureen S. Steinbruner
Editors , Iraq and America: Choices and Consequences,( Washington DC ,STIMSON
CENTER, 2006 ) , p. 50.
Cited in Anthony H. Cordesman , Iraqs Sectarian and Ethnic Violence and the Evolving
Insurgency , (Washington, DC , Center for Strategic and International Studies , 2006 ) , p.


Sunnis, on the other hand, view the Shia as Iranian controlled and the
current government as predatory or at least many Sunnis do
The Kurds, for their part, want to keep and strengthen the substantial
autonomy theyve exercised for more than a decade.

Therefore we can say the conflict till now has been among the Arabs, but
dose this mean that the Kurdish side is not a part in this huge conflict ? .
Sectarian violence in Iraq and the ensuing displacement are, for the most
part, urban phenomena, because cities are where different communities have
mingled and lived together

It is so important indicate to the geographical
base of conflict in our country , so someone might ask a question which is
where are the conflicts focusing and why , as well as , what is its relation
with the American withdrawal from Iraq ? .
Actually we can confidently say that the conflict has concentrated in the
big cities such as Baghdad, babil , musel , basrah , salah aldin , kiruk and
some other cities . If we take a look at the population number and structure
in these cities ( see table1 - 2 ) , we will find that they have a mixed one
either sectarianly or ethnically .
In this case I will just focus on the capital of Iraq which is Baghdad to
proof that there is a relation between these factors. The civil war in Baghdad
has led to reshape the city . The distribution of people has been changed
because of the war . Every family wanted to find a secure haven to its
individuals to protect them from the sectarian revenge which was conducted
by the militants groups against each other . Therefore we have began to see
some kind of dividing between the places of shiate and sunni that we did not

Ashraf al-Khalid and Victor Tanner , Sectarian Violence: Radical Groups Drive Internal
Displacement in Iraq , ( Washington DC , The Brookings Institution , 2006 ) , p. 16 .


know before . For more details we can show these important maps ( see
maps 2,3,4) to confirm the hypothesis we want to prove here .

Table 1 / Population in Iraq 1977-2007

Name Abbr. Status Capital
C 1977 C 1987 C 1997 E 2007
Al-Anbr {Al-Anbar} ANB Gov Ar-Ramd 138,501 466,100 820,690 1,023,736 1,486,000
Al-Barah [Basra] {Al-
BAS Gov Al-Barah 19,070 1,008,600 872,176 1,556,445 1,912,500
Al-Muthann {Al-
MUT Gov As-Samwah 51,740 215,600 315,815 436,825 615,000
Al-Qdisiyah {Al-
QAD Gov Ad-Dwnyah 8,153 423,000 559,805 751,331 990,500
An-Najaf NAJ Gov An-Najaf 28,824 389,700 590,078 775,042 1,081,200
As-Sulaymnyah {As-
17,023 690,600 951,723 1,362,739 1,893,600
At-Ta'mn (Kirkk)
[Tameen] {At-Tamin}
TAM Gov Kirkk 10,282 495,400 601,219 753,171 902,000
Bbil [Babylon] {Babil} BAB Gov Al-illah 6,468 592,000 1,109,574 1,181,751 1,651,600
Baghdd {Baghdad} BAG Gov Baghdd 734 3,189,700 3,841,268 5,423,964 7,145,500
Dahk [Dohuk] {Dahuk} DAH AReg Dahk 6,553 250,600 293,304 402,970 505,500
Dh Qr [Theqar] {Dhi Qar} DHI Gov An-Niryah 12,900 623,000 921,066 1,184,796 1,616,200
Diyl {Diyala} DIY Gov Ba'qbah 19,076 587,800 961,073 1,135,223 1,560,600
Irbl [Erbil] {Irbil} IRB AReg Irbl 14,471 541,500 770,439 1,095,992 1,542,400
Karbal' [Kerbala] {Karbala} KAR Gov Karbal' 5,034 269,800 469,282 594,235 887,900
Maysn {Maysan} MAY Gov Al-'Amrah 16,072 372,600 487,448 637,126 824,100
Nnaw [Nineveh] {Ninawa} NIN Gov Al-Mawil 37,323 1,105,700 1,479,430 2,042,852 2,811,100
al ad-Dn {Salah ad-Din} SAL Gov Tikrt 24,751 363,800 726,138 904,432 1,191,400
Wasi {Wasit} WAS Gov Al-Kt 17,153 415,100 564,670 783,614 1,065,000
Iraq IRQ Baghdd 434,128 12,000,497 16,335,198 22,046,244 29,682,100

Table 2 / Principal Cities

Name Adm. C UE 2007-07-01
1 Baghdd BAG 6,200,000
2 Al-Mawil NIN 1,400,000
3 Irbl IRB 950,000
4 Al-Barah BAS 900,000
5 As-Sulaymnyah SUL 750,000
6 Kirkk TAM 700,000


Map 2 /Baghdad 2006 map 3/ Baghdad 2007

map4 / Baghdad 2008


That war had many results on the ground . One of these results was the
large number of refugees we have either in Iraq or outside . So some
researchers referred to that catastrophe by saying The fact that almost three
million Iraqis have been internally displaced by the war has a direct
consequence on the Iraqi military and central government. The sectarian
geography of Iraq is changing as a result of the displacement, with likely
long-term consequences for the country
. But unfortunately, it seems that
the American withdrawal from Iraq has not yet dealt successfully with that
problem which means that the USA wants to transfer the ability of solving
this problem , created by its invasion, to the Iraqi side . In return , we can say
that the Iraqi government does not have the ability to solve this complicate
problem itself . It will need a large amount of support to end that crisis.
We can also say that the American side admitted that fear especially
when we quoted Baidens words when he said an interview with ABC News
A collapse by Iraq into civil war once USA troops departure would be a
tragic outcome
. It appears from these words that the American side might
leave Iraq to face its bad fate alone with this expected sectarian war. We
know that Obama has ordered to focus more on Afghanistan rather than Iraq
, but we do not know whether this means relinquishes Iraq to face such a
problem without any help from the American side . However, we can say
that the USA will put all the eggs in the Iraqi basket to put all the blame on it
if it failed dealing with that problem .

Elizabeth G. Ferris , The Looming Crisis: Displacement and Securit in Iraq , Policy
Paper , ( Number 5, August 2008 ) , p. 15.
Biden: U.S. intends to meet Iraq withdrawal timetable July 5th, 2009
withdrawal-timetable/ .


The numbers of American troops in Iraq during the time of sectarian war
were about 150000, despite that they could not stop the brutal operations
against the innocent people. So how the situation will be with just 50000
soldiers? Therefore we heard during that time that the Proponents of
counterinsurgency pushed to increase the number of American troops and
move them into Baghdad neighborhoods. In January 2007 President Bush
announced the decision to send in 20,000 additional troops -- the surge. ,
and these troops built immense concrete walls around certain Baghdad
districts to control the population, conducted a census and worked with local
militias, while providing services to a population exhausted by civil war
That policy then led to decrease the sectarian war . We can now ask about
the coming departure whether it will be suitable in this time while we have
neither a strong government nor active civil societies to deal with this matter
positively. I think that the real challenge we will face is not postpone the
possibility of repeating that bad course in our history in Iraq, but how to
prevent that war for ever . consequently , I believe that this hope will not be
seen without reevaluation the plans of American departure along side with
the ability of having a new and strong government in Iraq , or we will face
the same scary scene we hoped it would be finished and not come back
again .

Nir Rosen , Iraqs Sectarian War Is Over , march 19 , 2010 , Middle East Online .


3- The federal project.
Since the American invasion started, many projects have been suggested
from what was called the Iraqi opposition to the saddams regim . One of
these projects is the federalism as a suitable system to govern the country
which has all these types of diversity in its population structure. This
federalism has been indicated to as an important article in the new Iraqi
constitution approved in 2005 . The article 116 of that constitution refers
The federal system in the Republic of Iraq is made up of a decentralized
capital, regions, and governorates, as well as local administrations
There are many definitions to federalism, even though we will focus on
this one as it seems to be the best. Federalism is a state in which 1. Two
levels of government rule the same land and people 2. Each level has at least
one area of action in which it is autonomous and 3. There is some
constitutional guarantee of the autonomy of each government in its own
There are two basic types of federalism applied in many countries
around the world. The first one can be called territorial or administrative
federalism, and the second one is called the ethnic or plurinational model of
. It is interesting to say that every type has its advantages and


Mikhail filippov and others , Designing Federalism , ( UK , Cambridge university press
, 2004 ) p. 5 .
For more details about these kinds of federalisms and their advantages as well as
disadvantages see : liam Anderson and gareth stansfield , The implications of elections
for federalism in Iraq , publius ,no. 3 , ( summer , 2005 ) , p. 362 364 .


disadvantages which should be taken into account when a country wants to
apply it
Some politicians say that if we want to prevent Iraqi people to face the
same oppression they suffered from during the saddams regime , we should
apply the federal system at least to protect the minorities and prohibit the
central government from conducting its whole control on the power . In
contrast, we find that the American side had another view towards the
federalism. They wanted to deal with that system to prevent the continuous
of the civil war. The American vice president Josef Biden was the most
important official person in the American administration who suggested and
supported such an idea . According to Dawn Brancati, the American side
saw that system as an important idea to be applied. He/She quoted some
American opinions as follow the United States must take a more active
role in advising Iraqi leaders to adopt a federal system of government. Such
a system will help the United States not only to build democracy in Iraq but
also to prevent the emergence of a Shia-dominated government in the
country. Without this form of federalism, an Iraq rife with internal conflict
and dominated by one ethnic or religious group is more likely to emerge,
undermining U.S. efforts toward establishing democracy in Iraq as well as
the as well as the greater Middle East
As we indicated above in item 2 , the Iraqi society is a complex one
ethnically and religiously . So we find that the American view towards the
federalism based on this division in the Iraqi population structure. Some

Dawn Brancati ,Can Federalism Stabilize Iraq? , Washington quarterly , vol.27, no. 2
,(spring, 2004 ) , p. 17 18 .
Ibid , P 8 .


refers to this truth by this idea Iraqi society is made up of three major ethnic
groups. In what is described as the south, there are Shiites, who have
historically been oppressed and who suffered badly during the failed
uprising in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War. In the centre are the Sunnis,
who have always benefited from being the majority sect in Islamic empires
and who in modern times have ruled ruthlessly in order to suppress
everyone else. To the north are the Kurds, who are seen as having been
fiercely independent since time
. Therefore there is an assurance
which refers, the borders of the regional governments in Iraq should be
drawn along ethnic and/or religious lines so that the three major groups in
the country have significant control over their own political, social, and
economic affairs
Now we would like to know some opinions about the ability of ending
the possibility of restarting the sectarian war if we applied this federalism in
Iraq . In this case we can quoted some important thoughts said by some
Due to its misconception of ethnic antagonism as a result of clashing,
ancient or inherent identities, a partition policy would not adequately address
material factors affecting the Sunni-Shiite conflict
. Even the statistical
analysis of the likelihood that partition would mitigate ethnic violence has
weakened the argument of partitions advocates, who carry the burden of

Reidar Visser , Ethnicity, federalism and the idea of sectarian citizenship in
Iraq: a critique , international review of the red cross , Volume 89 Number 868 (
December 2007 ), p. 809-810 .
Dawn Brancati ,Can Federalism Stabilize Iraq? , p . 15.
Caitlin Naidoff , The Danger of Division: A Historical and Statistical Evaluation of
Partition in Iraq p. 145.


. In addition there is an ability to make the situation more complex if
we apply the federalism on the sectarian base .As drawing Iraqs borders
along ethnic and religious lines, however, may promote ethnic conflict by
creating regional minorities within the sub - national governments
Now we want to focus some attention on the Iraqi parties opinion
towards the federalism . In this case we find there are too many
controversies among those parties . It is possible to summarize these
positions as follow
the Arab Sunnis are skeptical about federalism. They think that it is
basically aimed at impoverishing and marginalizing them, given that the oil
fields are located in the Shia and Kurdish areas. This attitude is also
supported, if not dominated, by the prevailing idea that federalism means
partition .
The Shiates, although they are harmonious in their public support for
federalism, are increasingly divided into two camps. The first is led by the
Supreme Islamic Council SIC which prefers, even though non-explicitly,
an ethno sectarian federal system where a Shiate region will be more
autonomous and the centre will be less dominant. However, this attitude has
been faced with suspicion among other Shiate groups, especially Muqtada
Alsadrs movement which considered it an attempt by the SIC to dominate
Shiate politics . The current Prime Minister, Nuri Al-Maliki,successfully
led a new coalition which supports a political system that gives more power
to the central government in order to control resources and security.

Ibid, p. 159 .
Dawn Brancati ,Can Federalism Stabilize Iraq? , p.17 .
For more details see : Harith Al-Qarawee ,Redefining a Nation: The Conflict of
Identity and Federalism in Iraq, Perspectives on Federalism, Vol. 2, issue 1, (
2010),p.37-38 . and Asfia Tareen , Iraqis new reality : the politics of governance ad
federalism , report III ,( USA , Stimson ,2009) , p. 3


the Kurdish side strongly supports the idea of federalism as it exists in the
constitution .
if we take into account the distribution of oil ( see map 5 ) as the most
important natural resources through which the regions can get more fortune ,
then we can imagine that the applying of federalism will bring more benefits
to the shiaat and Kurdish regions than the sunni region . Therefore we fear
that the American withdrawal from Iraq before solving the problem of the
type of govern system , will lead to unleash the conflict among the Iraqi
parties and their military groups to force each other to accept the view they
sees as it is the most suitable and benefitable to them . In such a scenario, I
think that the stronger will be able to force the other to accept his vision and
his system to govern the country . In this scenario we can not leave the
important and critical role of the neighboring states to increase this conflict.
So we need to know if the USA still wants to apply the federalism on the
base of religion or ethnicity?. Or they have changed their mind to apply the
administrative federalism which has been considered better than the
sectarian federalism. it is also not surprising if the USA wants to see a
strong and central government there in Baghdad rather than a federal one ,
but till this moment we have not seen any indication to decrease our fears
from the hurry withdrawal which will complicate the Iraqi future .


Map (5)
The Distribution of Iraqi Oilfields


4- The Disputed Areas (Kirkuk as a Sample).
The disputed area concept has raised in the Iraqi stereoscope since the
American occupation . This term refeers to one of the issues which has not
been solved yet . The American presence in Iraq since 2003 has led to
increase the tensions and the future ability of tensions among the Iraqi
groups in these areas . The disputed areas are defined as the erea covering as
well as the whole of Kirkuk province, large parts of Nineveh - the northern
province, whose capital Mosul is Iraq's second city - as well as two districts
of Diyala province, and one each of Salaheddin and Sulaimaniyah provinces.
(See map 6 )
Map 6/ Disputed areas in Iraq


It includes 15 districts which are Sinjar, Tal Afar, Til Kaef, Sheikhan,
Akre, Hamdaniya, Makhmour, Al Hawija, Dibis, Daquq, Kirkuk, Tuz, Kifri
and Khanaqin, as well as the sub-district of Mandali in Baladruz district .
This strip of districts and cities is so important geopolitically because it
has an important geographical location extending from Syria to Iran as well
as Turkey. In addition it has large amount of oil especially in Kirkuk
province. For this reason it has been included in the new Iraqi constitution
within the article 140

.These areas are characterized by their mixed

population structure . there are living Kurds beside Arabs and Turkmens as
well as Kildu Ashurian people . It is interesting to say that Kirkuk sits at
the center of an Arab-Kurdish territorial dispute that stretches through
northern Iraq
. It is really one of the controversial issues in recent history
of Iraq . It has a complex past and no clear future . This future sometimes
seems to be bloody. So for its unique importance we have preferred to
discuss it detail .
Brigadier General Steve Lanza, the spokesman for US forces asserted
the fears concering the conflict in Kirkuk especially after the American
departure when he saied We assess Arab-Kurd tensions as the number one
driver of instability in Iraq,and we are working very hard to help reduce

This Article says : The responsibility placed upon the executive branch of the Iraqi
Transitional Government stipulated in Article 58 of the Transitional Administrative Law
shall extend and continue to the executive authority elected in accordance with this
Constitution, provided that it accomplishes completely (normalization and census and
concludes with a referendum in Kirkuk and other disputed territories to determine the
will of their citizens), by a date not to exceed the 31st of December 2007.
Sean Kane , Finding Common Ground: Kirkuk as a Special Governorate , peace
brief , no . 31 ,( may 13 , 2010) , p. 1 .


tensions in northern Iraq,"
. For more assertion Gen Odierno however
acknowledged to reporters in Washington at mid-week that despite some
progress, "we have not solved the problems of the disputed areas" of
northern Iraq. That's a problem that has to be dealt with in the future," he
said. "Do I think this will be resolved by the end of 2011? No."
Geographically, the region straddles the strategic trade routes between
Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and beyond. However, it was the discovery of vast
quantities of petroleum deposits in the region that led Great Britain, in 1926,
to append Kirkuk and the former Ottoman Wilayet of Mosul (of which the
Kirkuk region was a part) to the newly created state of Iraq. This new state,
created in 1921, was under the Mandate of Great Britain
. Therefore we
can find that there are many interesting scholars are referring to that
geographical position especially when it tandems with oil factor. Some of
them say that Kirkuk comes secondly in producing the oil in Iraq , and it has
a real a huge amount of oil reserves which have not been exploited yet . (see
table 3 ) .
The oil fields at Kirkuk, Iraq, are the source of a large proportion of
Iraq's oil and have been for decades. Kirkuk oil is heavy crude, and its
quality and the efficiency of the oil fields have deteriorated over years of

Prashant Rao ,US general blames Arab-Kurd tensions on Iraq unrest Middle East
Online , October12, 2009 .
Carlos Hamann , Iraq's volatile north still a powder keg , Middle East Online ,
October12, 2009 . july 25 , 2010

Nouri Talabany , Arabization of the Kirkuk Region , (London , 1995 ) , p. 6.


possibly mismanaged pumping. As of 2010, the future of efficient oil
production at Kirkuk is in doubt

According to the Energy Information Administration, as reported by, Kirkuk oil has an average API gravity of 36, meaning its
density is about 85 percent that of water and it weighs around seven pounds
a gallon. Its sulfur content stands at around 2 percent, although sulfur rose
suddenly to more than 2 percent in the months immediately preceding the
2003 U.S. invasion. Kirkuk oil is thus considered a low-quailty, heavy
crude. Its thickness makes it relatively expensive to pump out of the ground,

Theon Weber,What Type of Crude Is Kirkuk Crude? , July 14, 2010 .


and its yield when converted to gasoline is relatively low
. the most
significant are Kirkuk in the north and Rumaila in the south. There has been
virtually no exploration for many years, suggesting that Iraq may have much
more oil than currently estimated. Iraq also has significant proven natural
gas reserves; virtually all are undeveloped
. Kirkuk productions reach to
(around 550,000-700,000 bbl/d)
. In turn, we have found that there are
many researchers assure that this production might reach 1 mbd in the future
. This, of course, will lead to increase the geopolitical importance of this
province in Iraq, and the struggle on it.
Nowadays we have many indicators on which we can depend to say that
the situation in Kirkuk is going to be worse than it was before . every side in
this city has his special demands , and wants to take over it . every side has
his allegations which are seen as legal allegation by himself . By contrast.
they are seen illegal by the counter parties .
The Kurdish side present its claim to Kirkuk in terms of reversing the
deep historical injustice of Baathist ethnic cleansing in the province. They
emphasize the need to implement Article 140 of the constitution, which sets
out a three-step process of normalizing Kirkuks population, conducting a
census to determine its inhabitants and holding a referendum on its joining
the Kurdistan region. In contrast, Arabs view Kirkuk as a mini-Iraq and any
changes to its status as heralding the partition of the country. When framed
in these competing zero-sum narratives, it is difficult for Arabs and Kurds to

Lawrence Kumins, Iraq Oil: Reserves, Production, and Potential Revenues,
CRS Report for Congress, 2005, p.1 .


make concessions on their preferred resolution to Kirkuks status
. The
former Iraqi government did some bad demographic changes in Kirkuk and
other cites in Iraq as a policy conducted during that time for decreasing the
pressure of the minorities on the central power in Baghdad . It gave all the
incentives to the others living out side Kirkuk to come and stay in this city.
In turn , there were many policies have led to expel the original minorities
living there for long time such as the Kurds . According to Brendan OLeary
The numerical dominance of Kurds in Kirkuk evolved into a tangible
strategic threat to the government after 1961 following the outbreak of
hostilities between Kurdish forces and the Iraqi army. In 1970, the newly
installed Baath regime negotiated an autonomy agreement that would have
allowed the Kurds extensive powers of self government and cultural
autonomy in majority Kurdish areas. The so-called March Agreement was
to have culminated in a census to determine the final boundaries of the
Kurdish autonomous area
. Saddams manipulations of the boundaries
and peoples of Kirkuk, his policies of expulsion, of Arabization, and of
settler-infusion, and his betrayal of his commitments to Mustafa Barzani,
were, of course, shaped by his knowledge of Kirkuks natural resources.
Equally Saddams thief of the black gold of Kirkuk intensified the rage of
Kurds and Turkomen at the Baathist regime

Sean Kane , Finding Common Ground: Kirkuk as a Special Governorate , peace brief
, no . 31 ,( may 13 , 2010 ),p.1.
Liam Anderson , Power-Sharing in Kirkuk: Conflictor Compromise? , Paper
prepared Globalization, Urbanization and Ethnicity Conference(Ottawa, December 3-4,
For more details see : Brendan OLeary , Nationalities, Oil, and Land: Kirkuk and the
Disputed Territories, Paper for the Conference at Chatham House, December 19 2007 ,
December 19 2007 .


The Kurds side confirms this idea by referring into the population
structure in Kirkuk during the 1957 census which is considered the only
census in which there was allowed to mention the ethnicity name. According
to Liam Anderson Kurds comprised over 48 percent of the population,
Arabs, 28 percent, and Turkmens 21 percent
. After that time there were
many chnges in the percentages og kurds and other minorities in the city as
the kurdish side assures .
While Kurds recognize the mixed character of Kirkuk and other areas
they claim (referred to as disputed areas in the new constitution), in their
public discourse they have insisted that Kirkuk is an integral part of
Kurdistan. In so doing, they have resorted to geographic rather than ethnic
criteria: Kirkuk, they say, is not a Kurdish but a Kurdistani town and
region. They routinely deny a primary interest in Kirkuks oil wealth,
emphasizing instead a historical Kurdish presence. Kirkuk, they say, was an
integral part, if not the capital, of the Shahrazour province (vilayet) and,
later, vilayet Mosul during Ottoman times
. Shahrazour province included
these cities Mosul ,Kirkuk , al sulaimaniya , Arbil and Dohok .
The Kurdish leaders insists on their demand in Kirkuk . to confirm that
we can give some examples through the thoughts expressed by those leaders
. Masoud Barzani claimed variously that Kirkuks "Kurdish identity cannot
be changed . It is the heart of Kurdistan, and that, We are ready to fight

Liam Anderson , Power-Sharing in Kirkuk: Conflictor Compromise? , Paper
prepared Globalization, Urbanization and Ethnicity Conference(Ottawa, December 3-4,

international crisis group , Iraq and the Kurds : The Brewing Battle over KIRKUK
, Middle East Report N56 ( 18 July , 2006 ) , p. 3.


and sacrifice our soul to preserve its identity." Talabani, meanwhile, has
maintained that, "Historically and demographically speaking, Kirkuk was
never part of Iraq but part of Kurdistan," and, more controversially, that
"Kirkuk is a sacred city for Kurds as much as Jerusalem is for Muslims and
we have been struggling for it for more than 40 years . while Nechirvan
Barzani who was the president of Kurdistan government , confirmed this
attitude in Kurdish policy by saying In Kirkuk, an integral part of
Kurdistan, historically and geographically, our people were expelled, and the
provincial boundaries manipulated. There must be a timetabled referendum,
on a fair suffrage and with the right boundaries, to enable the Kirkuk
governorate to join the rest of Kurdistan. Critics cynically suggest that our
position is motivated by oil, specifically the oil fields in the city of Kirkuk,
and by a desire for independence. We certainly regard it as an outrage that
one of the worlds largest oil fields sits astride a disgracefully and
deliberately neglected city
Now we like to take a look at the turkuman standpoint towards kirkuk
problem. As we mention above , the turkmans are one of miniroties living
in Iraq. They have their own view to wrds the situation in Kirkuk . this
standpoint has conflicted with the Kurdish one we have talked about .
For Turkmens, Kirkuk is, and always has been, a Turkmen city that
binds together an imagined community of Turkmens in Iraq (the
Turkmeneli) stretching from the Iranian border in the east to the Syrian

Nechirvan Barzani ,Why Kurdistan insists on Kirkuk , financial times , August 15 ,
2005 .


border in the west
. In addition there are many Turkish and turkuman
researchers support the turkuman claims in kuku
. Now we have to about
the Arabic position towards Kirkuk city . As this is so important to draw a
real scene concerning the future conflict about the controlling on this
important city from geopolitical point of view.
According to Harith Al-Qarawee However, the destiny of Kirkuk, the
multiethnic city which comprises 15% of Iraqi oil and which Kurds seek to
annex to their region, will determine the Sunni attitude towards the Kurdish
region. Kirkuk is part of what are now called the disputed areas, which are
mainly the areas where Kurdish communities meet or mix with Sunni and
Turkmen communities. Some Sunni parties, mainly the Al-Nujaifi group in
Mosul, built their political career on the strong rejection of Kurdish
territorial ambitions
As in addition to this firms we can hint to the Arabian tribal role in
Kirkuk.Kirkuks major Arab tribes - the al-Jubbur, Shammar, al-Obeid, al-
Bayati and al-Saadun - staged a march through the streets of Kirkuk in
January, 2004 to protest Kurdish efforts to incorporate Kirkuk. As one of the
organizers explained, "We are here today to say we are against federalism
and that Kirkuk is an Arab town." Much like Kurdish leaders, local Arab
politicians were prone to rhetorical excesses. For example, Atar al-Tawil, an
Arab member of appointed Council, claimed in February 2004, "Arabs -

Liam Anderson , Power-Sharing in Kirkuk: Conflictor Compromise? .
For more details about the turkuman claims in Kirkuk see : Ycel Gl Who Owns
Kirkuk? The Turkoman Case ,Middle East Quarterly , (Winter 2007 ) , p. 79-86
Harith Al-Qarawee, Redefining a Nation: The Conflict of Identity and Federalism in
Iraq , Perspectives on Federalism, Vol. 2, issue 1, ( 2010) , p. 38 .


Sunnis and Shias - aseeking elections to stop ethnic federalism. We won't
allow Kirkuk to become Kurdish if it takes a million martyrs"
These opposed ideas among those components and the political parties
which talk on behalf them will lead to a real bloody stage in Iraqi history
especially if we do not have the mechanisms through which we can control
on this expected conflict . I think that the real problem we have here in this
part of Iraq that we have not only a tension among these groups but we also
have the readiness to fight against each other . we can not here neglect the
absence of the role of central government . this absence will lead to increase
these tensions and might we have a real conflict . this will not be the same as
that sectarian conflict we had between shiaa and suni groups concentrating
in Baghdad . it will be a national conflict which is believed to be worse than
that one .
The American side has recognized this reality since the beginning .
therefore they worked to prevent such a scenario as far as they are there in
Iraq . Since the 2003 invasion, US forces have managed to keep an uneasy
peace in the ethnically diverse area, home to Turkmen, Kurds and Arabs --
including many forced to resettle there under Saddam Hussein's regime , but
this does not solve the proble. It just postpones it to be explosive in the
future . in this case Gen Odierno acknowledged to reporters in Washington
at mid-week that despite some progress, "we have not solved the problems
of the disputed areas" of northern Iraq. "That's a problem that has to be dealt
with in the future," he said. "Do I think this will be resolved by the end of

Cited in Liam Anderson , Power-Sharing in Kirkuk: Conflictor Compromise?


2011? No."
. It is so important admit to explain how bad a situation we will
have there in the may be near future .
The American side worked with Iraqi one to constitute a mixed force
from American and Kurds to protect the disputed areas especially Kirkuk .
Hundreds of Arabs demonstrated in northern Iraq on Saturday against the
prospect of American soldiers teaming up with Iraqi and Kurdish troops to
patrol the region's disputed zones. "No, no to the project to divide Iraq, yes,
yes, one Iraqi Kirkuk," .
To help calm tensions, US troops started joint patrols with Arab and
Kurdish soldiers in disputed zones in January. Gen Odierno wants these
units to be incorporated into the ISF by the time US forces fully withdraw.
Is this realistic? The joint patrols have been successful, but they "are only as
good as the intent of the political leadership in Baghdad and Arbil," said Eric
Davis, an Iraq expert at Rutgers University
. Therefore we found that the
American side has called to take a real role to the United Nations
peacekeepers for protecting this city and preventing any kind of conflicts
among its nationalities. This suggestion has been refused by many.
As evidence of this, the Kurds insist that the issue of Kirkuk be resolved
by the time the U.S. eventually withdraws Kurdish leaders want U.S. troops
to stay longer in Iraq as a sensible way to avoid conflict and tension between

Carlos Hamann , Washington Iraq's volatile north still a powder keg, Middle East
Online , July 25, 2010.
Ibid .


Kurds and Arabs in disputed areas
. Even before the U.S. troops began
withdrawing from Iraq, Kurdish politicians several times called on U.S.
troops to stay in the disputed areas until Article 140 of the Iraq Constitution
is implemented. If not, Kurdish politicians suggest international
peacekeeping forces should be settled in the disputed areas
. The Kurdish
side has fears that the situation will be changed after the American
withdrawal from Iraq , and will to make the Kirkuk problem more difficult .
Therefore there many scholars say As US troops withdraw from Iraq, a
large swath of the oil-rich north remains a powder keg that threatens to
explode in violence
. there are many indicators we have discussed here to
confirm that the American invasion to Iraq has been the basic cause to open
the bandore box for many crises such as this one we have in Kirkuk , so the
american side must solve this problem too before completing the departure
in 2011. Otherwise , we will face a new conflict In Iraq which we will
control on our life viciously . for this we want to repeat what is said by the
Iraqi Kurdish top army official who is Babakir Zebari who warned: The
problem will start after 2011- politicians must find other ways to fill the void
after 2011. If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians:
The U.S Army must stay until the Iraqi Army is fully ready in 2020 .

Aram Rafaat, An Independent Kurdish State: Achievable or Merely a Kurdish
Dream? , The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies Volume 32, Number
3, (Fall 2007) , p.270 .
Qassim Khidhir , Army must stay until the Iraqi Army is fully ready in 2020",
Kurdish glob , 21 September 2010.
Carlos Hamann , Washington Iraq's volatile north still a powder keg .


5- Returning the Activity of Terrorist Groups :
Many groups have been working on the Iraqi ground since the beginning
of American invasion. These groups are having all the types of affect
negatively the Iraqi situation. They have their goals and they do not care
about the Iraqi society at all as far as they can use all Iraqi people as
prisoners or victims to make these goals come true. As a result , we fear that
the American withdrawal will encourage these groups to rework again the
Iraqi benefits . they have fought fiercely against the USA army and have the
desire to do so with the Iraqi new government . they have seen this
government as a pro- American one , and it should be toppled . this will not
be done without killing many innocent people in this unjust conflict .
The issue of what is likely to happen to the insurgency after US
withdrawal turns on the question of at whom the insurgency has been
directed to this point. As many have noted, the insurgency in Iraq has
actually been several different insurgencies, each with different targets
When the American presiden confirmed in 2009 that he wold apply the
plan of departure his troops form Iraq , we found that the warmed groups
tensfied their attacks agaist either the American or Iraqi targets .
According to Gordon Lubold On a Friday in April , two female suicide
bombers blew themselves up near the gates of a Shiite Muslim shrine in
Baghdad, killing 60 people. The attack followed two suicide bombs
Thursday that killed more than 80 people. The wave of violence in recent
weeks, coming as US troops have begun preparing for withdrawal, threatens

Cited in : David Edelstein ,The Desirability and Downsides of Withdrawal: The Effect
of US Withdrawal on the Insurgency in Iraq, p. 50 - 51 .


to bring Iraq back to the front burner
. While the other months of 2010
have faced the same problem . as an example we can refer to this idea by
these words
Insurgents affiliated with Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility on
Saturday for a wave of car bombings, roadside mines and hit-and-run attacks
this week in at least 13 Iraqi cities and towns, a deadly and relentless
campaign whose breadth surprised American military officials and dealt a
blow to Iraqs fledgling security forces
The motivations of these different groups are critical for understanding
their likely development after the United States withdraws. If these groups
have been acting primarily out of unhappiness with the continuing US
presence in Iraq, then presumably a US withdrawal would assuage their
concerns and, thus, alleviate the violence. This is one of the great,
unanswered puzzles of the Iraqi insurgency: just how much of this violence
is motivated by resentment at the US occupation of the country, and just
how much of the violence stems from the tension between the various ethnic
and religious groups within Iraq? What is likely to happen in Iraq after US
withdrawal depends heavily on the answer to this puzzle
.for this reason
we want here to confirm on some thoughts said by many important
American official leaders who warned from the role that may be plaid by

Gordon Lubold, Could Iraq violence affect US withdrawal plan? , Christian Science
Monitor / April 24, 2009
Anthony Shadid, Al Qaeda in Iraq Says It Was Behind Latest Attacks ,new York times,
August 28, 2010,
David Edelstein ,The Desirability and Downsides of Withdrawal:The Effect of US
Withdrawal on the Insurgency in Iraq, p. 51.


these groups un the coming montgs and years . Gen. David Petraeus,
formerly the top US commander in Iraq and who now oversees both the wars
there and in Afghanistan, warned lawmakers Friday that despite "substantial
progress" in Iraq there remain lingering concerns. Al Qaeda in Iraq, as well
as other groups, continue to pose a threat, he said."Numerous challenges still
confront its leaders and its people," General Petraeus told a House panel. He
said an Al Qaeda network that provides foreign fighters from Tunisia
through Syria to Iraq has been "reactivated." Four of the most recent suicides
were carried out by Tunisians, he said
. while US Defence Secretary ,
Robert gates , assures the same idea when he says We are still going to
work with Iraqis on counter-terrorism, we are still doing a lot of training and
advising . America's war in Iraq is over but the outcome will remain
"clouded" by the reason it was waged in the first place
.James F. Jeffrey,
the new American ambassador to Iraq confirms The potential for violence,
what I would characterize now as primarily terrorist acts here, is quite
significant, and the ability of terrorist acts to have an impact on the political
life of this country is still a significant risk, but this does not change our
assessment that the security situation, by every statistic that we have looked
at, is far better than it was a year or two ago. .
After all these confirms , we would like to say that if the American
ivasioan was the main reason for this kind of conflict in Iraq and dispreation
the terrorist groups , would it be supposed to solve such a problem befor
departure from Iraq ? . if they did not do so , it would be a real disaster . they

Gordon Lubold, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / April 24, 2009
Daphne Benoit US Defence Secretary says America still going to work with Iraqis on
'counter-terrorism' , middle east on line , September 1 ,


would this country and its government face such a bad fate thet they could
not afford . now , may be there is somebody who will say the the American
withdrawal will logically lead to decrease and finsh the insurgency in Iraq ,
because all these groups will leave their violence way of dealing with Iraqi
situation whenever the American departures . I think the situation is not so
simple as some persons think . I am sure , as I am an Iraqi researcher , that
those groups will continue work violencely because they wuill fight this time
not agzinst the American invasion but against the Iraqi government . they
want to reach and capture on the power to spread their fundamental thoughts
. it is a struggle on the power not on the freedom Iraq . every group will say
that our followers are who participated and forced the American to take that
decision , so we are the most group who deserves to be in power . they will
continue in such a war way with the events in Iraq in the near future , but the
question we have to ask here is if the USA with all its soldiers could not
stop these groups , will the Iraqi army be able to do so ? .


6- Threat of the small Minorities in Iraq.
As we have indicated above in some previous pages , the Iraqi society
has three main nationalities which are Arab , Kurds and Turkuman . despite
this fact , we have many factions either among those essential group or
outside them . These small minorities have faced a real problem across the
country especially where they are living in a large percentage. They have
been targeted by many militia groups for many reasons. The religious , the
sectarian and the national basses were the real element in the process of
threatening these minorities .They have suffered from killings,
kidnappings, torture, harassment, forced conversions and the destruction of
homes and property
There are many ideas about the meaning of small minorities we have
especially in Iraq , but the majority of scholars prefer talking about the other
minorities apart from the basic three essentially . So there is an important
point of view concerning this idea . It confirms that Kurds and Sunni Arabs
(other than Kurds) each made up around 20 percent of Iraqs population in
2003, thus making them numerical minorities in the country. However, their
situation is considerably different than that of the estimated ( five to )ten
percent of Iraqs population which is made up of smaller minority
communities, including religious minorities such as Armenian, Syriac, and
Chaldo-Assyrian Christians; Bahais; Jews; Mandaeans; and Yazidis as well

Chris Chapman and Preti Taneja , Uncertain Refuge, Dangerous Return: Iraqs
Uprooted Minorities ,( Uk , Minority Rights Group International , 2009) .


as ethnic minorities such as Faili Kurds, Palestinians, Shabaks, and
. See figures bellow
Figure 1 and 2
Iraqi Ethnic Structure

Actually it is no easy to indicate the numbers of those groups perfectly .
there are mant estimated abouth their numbers and percentages. It is found
that the percentage of some of them such as The Jewish , The Christians ,
in the census of 1920 . consequently 2.8% , 1.5% 3.1% , and The other were
The percentages were indicated in the census of 1932 as follow 3.0% , 4% ,
1% . the situation had been changed a little in the census of 1947 with these

Elizabeth Ferris , Minorities, Displacement and Iraqs Future , ( University OF Bern
the Brookings Institution, December 2008 ), p. 8-9 . For more details see this important
report : Mokhtar LAMANI, Minorities in Iraq: The Other Victims, (Canada The centre
for international governance innovation , 2009) , p . 8-12 . and : Helen Chapin Metz, ed.
Iraq: A Country Study.( Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1988) . and
Mumtaz Lalani, Still Targeted: Continued Persecution of Iraqs Minorities ,( UK ,
Minority Rights Group International 2010 ) .


, we found other numbers concerning turn 4% . in 2,6% , 3,1% , percentages
these groups .
Ethnic Assyrians (most of whom are adherents of the Chaldean Catholic
Church, Syriac Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East)
account for most of Iraq's Christian population, along with Armenians.
Estimates for the numbers of Christians suggest a decline from 810% in the
mid-20th century to 5% at the turn of the century, to 3% in 2008. About
600,000 Iraqi Christians have fled to Syria, Jordan or other countries or
relocated to Iraqi Kurdistan. There are also small populations of Mandaeans,
Shabaks, and Yezidis. The Iraqi Jewish community, numbering around
150,000 in 1941, almost entirely left the country
. Concerning the faili
Kurds , who are shiaa Kurds , are living outside the Kurdistan region . they
faced a real problem during sadaam regime . they had been exploded to Iraq
. They were accused that they were from Iranian origin although their name
refers that they are Kurds and they were noted in the Iraqi census for 1947 as
faili Kurds not as Persian shiaa .
According to Elizabeth Campbell who confirmed this problem by here
own words Thirty years ago, in April 1980, between 220,000 and 300,000
Iraqi Faili Kurds were stripped of their Iraqi citizenship. Many were
expelled from their homes and were forced to march across the Iranian
border into decades of exile and statelessness. Others became non-citizens in
their own country. Though important steps have been taken by the



Government of Iraq to restore the citizenship of these people, it is estimated
that roughly 100,000 still lack a nationality
. She added In the mid
1970s Iraq expelled around 40,000 Faili Kurds to Iran, alleging they were
Iranian nationals. In 1980, decree 666 ensured that Faili Kurds were stripped
of Iraqi citizenship. Their properties were seized by the government. Many
of the families that were deported to Iran were highly educated,
economically successful and held ranking positions in the government.
While in Iran, many of these families lived in camps and were denied access
to work, education and travel documents. They were even unable to register
births, deaths and marriages. Some Faili Kurds report that if they sought to
return to Iraq, many would receive a stamp from the Iranian authorities that
read, departure with no return

It is interesting to say that when we searched about the problem of small
minorities in Iraq especaily the faili kurd proble , we did not find much
information . so when we commented on one of the important essays written
by a forgien researcher , we indicated to this idea

The geographical dimension of the problem concerning the small
minorities is represented by their distribution . ( see map ..) . we can see
from this map that these groups are not living in the same place as same as
the others . They are living separately not collectively . The other

Elizabeth Campbell , The Faili Kurds of Iraq: Thirty Years Without Nationality ,
International Refuggees, Febreuary 04 , 2010
Ibid .

take a look at our commenting on this article please :



geographical fault of these groups that they are now facing a real problem in
the cities where they are living . Most threats come from the militia , al-
Qaida and the conflicted parties . In this context we would like to quated
what was written by
Map : 7
The geographical distribution of Iraqi small minorities


Mokhtar LAMANI who says These geo-political and geo-strategic
tensions lie at the heart of the threats that minorities face. They are pawns,
used by all parties on the chessboard that is the new Iraq. Little if any
attention is paid to their genuine needs; rather, their suffering is used to
advance other agendas
. He laso confirms the privacy of small minorities
in the new iraq . They have been given a special interesting in his report
especially when we talk about their unique position in the conflict we have
witnessed in there since the American invation . He says All Iraqis are
suffering but there are specificities to the case of minorities that put them at
exceptional threat. It has been estimated that because of sectarianism and
recent changes to Iraqi society, as many as 25-30 percent of the population
have been forced to leave their homes and are either internally or externally
displaced. However, for minorities the percentage of those displaced is
actually much higher. More than 80 percent of the Mandaean population has
been forced to flee; for Christians and other ethnic or religious groups,
nearly 60 percent of their populations are displaced
. for more details see
figure ( 3 ) referring to the emotion of threats .
It seems that USA could not protect the small minorities in Iraq from the
armed attacks while they have been there working on the ground . The Iraqi
situation has not been changed a lot , so we can not be optimistic to say that
the Iraqi side will be able to protect these minorities . The USA failed in Iraq
, therefore they want to leave it without thinking about the future fate of the
politics of large groups against the others . There is a real threat to those
Mosaic we fear that we lose in the near future if we do not set a real
democratic society as well as a democratic government . We need to be

Cited in Mokhtar LAMANI, Minorities in Iraq: The Other Victims, p. 5.
Ibid , p. 6.


learnt how to believe in the diversity , and how to respect this diversity . I
think it was one of the democratic mission that USA had to apply in Iraq ,
but they did not do so because the tide was more forcible than her as well as
there were no real desire to do so .

Figure 3 / Percentage of minorities reporting threats motivated by
Ethnic or religious animosity


7- The regional Implications :
On Iran :
There are many strategic indicates on which we can depend to say that
iran will play more important role in Iraq after the American withdrawal . it
has a long border line with Iraq . it reach about 1458 km , and it has a bloody
historic relation with it . Iran and Iraq played the role of balance in the Gulf
region during the 1980s . This equilibrium has been changed since the
American invasion . As a result we find that many scholars confirm that the
troubled Iranian American relations will have its bad effect the Iraqi
The significance of the issue of Iranian influence in Iraq derives from
tensions between the United States and Iran over Irans nuclear ambitions.
Experts anticipate that any U.S. military action would likely cause Iran to
retaliate, in part, by directing its allies in Iraq to attack U.S. forces there
Iran is a real geopolitical player in Iraq . It has many elements of influence
there . We think that Iran has exploited whole the geographically
vulnerability elements in Iraq . This is just an essential part in the
geopolitical game we have witnessed in Iraq for 2003.
The American Iranian relation has been disrupted since 11/9/2001
terrorist attacks . The new concentrative in Bush administration assured on
the idea of axis of evil in which Iran has been considered a part . Therefore
that administration thought that invasion of Iraq would be a great step to
change not only the Iranian situation but the whole region . The new Iraq is
the center stage of Americas pressures and threats against Iran and as

Kenneth Katzman , Irans Influence in Iraq ,( Washington Dc, CRS Report for
Congress , September 29, 2006) ,p.1.


George W Bush himself stressed on various occasions that a new different
Iraq is a pressure tool against Iran in order to make this country revise its
political orientation
. Therefore we found that the view persists in Tehran,
as indeed it does in Damascus, Riyadh, and even Cairo, that after Iraq their
country is likely to be the next target on the U.S. hit list From the
perspective that Iran is next, Tehran would sensibly regard Iraq as its first
line of defense and thus find ways to prevent the United States from finding
the time or opportunity to secure decisive control of it
. For this reason we
have some thoughts confirming Iranian goals in Iraq as fellow
1. Eliminating the traditional threat of Iraq and transforming it into an
opportunity in foreign policy.
2. Revising the traditional equation of the regional balance of power, and
3. Redefining Irans regional role as a power and player in the region

In addition there is an important indicate from Kenneth Katzman . He
says Irans activities and influence in Iraq affects the U.S. effort to
stabilize Iraq and also colors the U.S. perception of Irans nuclear and
regional ambitions. With the conventional military and weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) threat from Saddam Hussein removed, the thrust of
Irans strategy in Iraq has been to acquire strategic depth in Iraq

cited in Kayhan Barzegar , Iran and the New Iraq: Security Challenges and Foreign
Powers , Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No.3,( Fall
2006 ) , p . . 84
Anoushiravan Ehteshami , Iran-Iraq Relations after Saddam , The Washington
Quarterly , vol .26, no. 4 , (AUTUMN 2003) , p. 124.

Kayhan Barzegar , Iran and the New Iraq: Security Challenges and Foreign Powers p.
81-83 .

Kenneth Katzman Irans Activities and Influence in Iraq , ( Washington , CRS Report
for Congress ,April 9, 2008 ) p. 1.


For applying this objectives iran has digested all the Iraqi needs to
exploit it in its new strategy to be just a tool against the American interests
and desire in this rich region . As an example we can refer to these little facts
. Iran provides hospital treatment and surgery for wounded Iraqis, supplies
Iraq with 2 million liters of kerosene a day, and provides 20% of Iraqs
cooking gas. In addition Iran is already the main trading partner with Iraq
with the volume of trade between the two nations expected to reach $10
billion this year. Iran also has consulates in the Kurdish region of northern
Iraq and has direct access to Iraqi military units
When we take into account all this information , we can imagine how
bad a situation we will have in Iraq after the American departure . we will
have neither strong nor suitable country . this means it will be an easy prey
to the regional great powers especially to the Iranian Syrian alliance . for
all these reasons we find a confirmation on the threats of Iranian role in Iraq
in long term . in this context , some scholars say U.S. drawdown plans are
jeopardized not only by events and players within Iraq. One result of the
U.S. move to effect regime change in Baghdad has been the rise of Iran. The
Islamic republic has gained a disproportionate amount of influence in Iraq,
which it is using to project power into the region. The dominant presence of
the U.S. military in Iraq and the U.S. hand in the political system has thus far
served as a counterweight. A U.S. withdrawal will give Iran an opening to
enhance its position in the country
. There are many who fear that the

Zvi Bar el , , Will the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq threaten Saudi Arabia and Israel? ,
Haaretz , Sept ember 12, 2010 .
STRATFOR Global Intelegence , SPECIAL REPORT:Withdrawal From Iraq , (Texas ,
Ma r c h 5 , 2010) , p. 2,


increasing of Iranian role in Iraq after American withdrawal might lead to a
real hegemony on this country , especially on its southern part which has its
most oil fortune. In their eyes , this will inevitably lead to a disaster from
political and economic point of view , because this will have many bad
geopolitical effects on the whole region as well as affect negatively the oil
prices . of course such a scenario means that we will face a same Lebanon
paradigm in Iraq . all the regional powers will try to play their role in Iraq .
To a large extent , the Iraqi people will be definitely the biggest loser in this
dishonor and injustice competition .

On Turkey :
Concerning the Turkish side , we can said that turkey has many fears
from the American withdrawal from Iraq . It has one of troubled borders
with Iraq because it shares the Kurdish minority with it across this border .
Therefore it is not surprising to say that any changes in the future situation in
Iraq as a result to the American departure , will leave many reflects on the
Turkish Iraqi relations . Actually we can say that even though Turkey has
many fears , we can restrict these fears with two things which are the most
important . The first one is the federal system and the future of Kurdistan
region in Iraq, and the second is the struggle on Kirkuk.
. Turkey, for example, fears that a federal system of government in Iraq
that entitles the Kurds to their own regional government within Iraq and to
control over Kirkuks oil fields will encourage Iraqi Kurds to seek an
independent state and, subsequently, lead the Kurds in Turkey to follow
. In this case Turkey has a doubt that the Kurdish parties in Iraq will

Dawn Brancati ,Can Federalism Stabilize Iraq? , p. 11


exploit the situation they have to declare their independency from Iraq to
have their own state. This will lead to encourage the other Kurds in the other
parts of Kurdistan land basically divided between Turkey , Syria , Iran , and
Iraq , to do the same thing . This will also lead a large number of problems
in such countries and undermining their security as well as their regional
ambitions and role. So we have found that Turkey did not agree with federal
project in Iraq. It wants to see a strongly central government in Baghdad to
limit such fears in the future.
Concerning Kirkuk problem , we can also say that Turkey has confirmed
many times that it will not stay without any reaction if the Kurdish side takes
control over this strategic city which has many people who are from Turkish
origin .It is believed that if the Kurdish side became able to control on this
city , he would be able to have what he needs to declare the independency .
In this context we found some assurances said by a researcher as fellow
For Turkey, which has been consistent and insistent in defending the
territorial integrity of Iraq, the prospect of an Iraq that becomes unglued
would set in motion a series of intolerable repercussions. First, the
probability of Kurdish independence and of the expansion of the Kurdish
region to encompass Kirkuk, both the governorate and the city, would
greatly increase. Turkey has long objected to Kirkuks incorporation into the
KRG. With Kirkuks oil resources, its inclusion could embolden Iraqi Kurds
to declare independence and set into motion irredentist claims throughout
the region
. For this reason there are many threatened messages sent by
Turkish top officials . one of these message sent by a speech of Turkeys

Henri J. Barkey, Turkeys New Engagement in Iraq , Special Report 237 , ( the United
States Institute of Peace , May 2010 ) , p. 4 .


foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, who said Turkey will intervene militarily
to prevent Kirkuk from becoming the capital of Iraqs Kurdish region . This
means that without solving this problem internally before the American
departure , we will face a real problem with Turkish side if the people of this
city choice to be included to the Kurdistan region .
Here we can not forget the role of what is called the PKK ( Kurdish
Workers Party ) which is considered as a terrorist organization from Turkish
point of view in light of the bloodshed conflict between them for long years .
The members of PKK now are working against the Turkish interests from
some geographically complex mountain points located among the territories
of Iraqi Kurdistan . For this reason , The Turkish side says that the American
withdrawal might encourage The Kurds in Iraq to control on Kirkuk and
then declare their independent state as well as support the PKK to fight
against Turkey for applying the same example for Kurds in Turkey .
This might explain why Turkey keeps a significant troop presence on the
Iraq border and has launched cross-border strikes against the PKK - the
militant wing of the Kurdish Workers Party, which has been fighting a
guerrilla campaign for a quarter century
. Therefore it is said Turkeys
concerns with Iraqs territorial integrity delayed cooperation with post-
Saddam Iraq (and Northern Iraq in particular), and Turkey accused the
Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of complicity with the PKK

Peter Kenyon Turkey, Kurds Ponder U.S. Withdrawal From Iraq National Public
Radio , April 21, 2009.
Ahmet Evin and others , Turkey, Its Neighbors and the West , ( Washington, DC The
Transatlantic Academy, 2009 ) p .13.


which means that the American coming step might make the scene more
complex in Iraq if they do not deal with these problems .
On the Gulf States :
Gulf states have many fears of the American withdrawal from Iraq . This
region has a real geographical borders with Iraq across both of Kuwait and
Saudi Arabia (see map 8) .
Map 8 / Iraq and Gulf States

After the invasion , these countries faced a real problem when the
terrorist groups tricked many cities in Iraq . They doubted that the terrorist
would come back to hit them . As well as they were in such a good situation
during the 1980s when there was a kind of balance in this region between
Iraq and Iran . That balance had led to decrease the Iranian threats against


those countries , but collapsing the former Iraqi government has led to
change the situation . For this reason , these countries have a fear that the
American withdrawal from Iraq without helping it to be as strong as it was
before the invasion will give the Iranian side to engulf it and to threaten
these states by giving Iran more ability to be stronger as well as to be a real
regional power without any other power which can counter its ambitions in
this important region from geopolitical point of view .
They also have a fear that the possibility of deterioration of Iraqs
domestic situation and the possibility of a wider regional chaos following the
withdrawal could also affect the stability of the Arab Gulf countries
. In this
context , we can say that these countries know completely about the ability
to return the sectarian war in Iraq after that departure . They also know that
the war might lead to divide this country into three parts with depending on
the ethnic base . Such fears mean that these countries have the same
geographically and ethnically situation as Iraq has , so it is possible to spread
this example of dividing by the same rules into these countries . The most
important of them which they have directly geographical borders with Iraq ,
Kuwait and Saudi , have a diversity in their population structure . They have
shiaa and Sunni groups .
Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf Cooperation Council countries also
are concerned about their own security in the face of an assertive Iran and its

Mustafa Abdel Aziz Morsi , Consequences of the Withdrawal of US Forces from
Iraq , Featured Topics , the emirates centre for strategic research and studies . 27 Sep
2010 .


regional ambitions. A key part of allaying the Arab states concerns is
ensuring that Iraqs Sunnis are sufficiently empowered to serve as a bulwark
against Iran
. As a result we have found that the important gulf states have
played a real vital role in the last talks among the Iraqi parties concerning
creating the new Iraqi government . Such countries have some fears
concerning the role of shia parties in Iraq . They think that these parties are
so sympathy with Iran . for this reason they have done all efforts to
participate the suni side in the political life for repeating the balance in the
power in the Iraqi government to decrease the Iranian threats .
I think that the American withdrawal from Iraq will lead to increase the
role of regional powers in this country . We will see more conflict alliances
working on the irqi ground . They want to make as just like the Lebanon
example . Neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia and other neighboring state want to
see a real strong government in Iraq . Every side wants to be the prevailed
power for being much stronger . Even though they do not want to see a
divided country , they all have the desire to share into spheres of influence .
This scenario will defiantly happen , as long as these countries want to
protect themselves and struggle on the regional chieftaincy . The last
question we would like to ask in this research is: Dose the USA know about
all these threats we might face in the coming months in Iraq ? . If it is so ,
then we can say that they want to leave Iraq to its bloodshed and ominous
fate to face alone in this troubled region . This means that Obama is about to
make the same mistake that Bush made before , but this time it would be

STRATFOR Global Intelligence , SPECIAL REPORT: Withdrawal From Iraq , p. 3 .


with more support from the American people who call to finish this invasion
. I agree this is so important to them, but would it make any sense to Iraqi
people? , would it be justice to come for destroying everything and in the
end you say just a word , sorry , we are leaving ? . To say this is your
country and you have to work alone without our help to rebuild it, to make it
more secure as well as much stronger. Is it what is called the American