The national reconciliation initiative in Iraq is being interpreted in several manners that often reflect the perspective of rival political and religious powers but it remains a fact in my opinion that this reconciliation is not designed for the silent majority that is silently enduring the rough situation and preferred not to join this conflict.
Let me put it this way, this Hussein has no problem with that Bakir and that Omar has no problem with this Haider; we share streets and neighborhoods and markets and we marry from different sects and we work together in the hospital, office or shop.
The attempt of the sectarian parties to drag the ordinary people to the catastrophe of civil war will not appeal to the simple citizen who seeks peace by nature and let's not forget that arm-bearers and violence inciters are always a minority.
What caught my attention these days is the phenomenon of localized reconciliation initiatives being organized between certain districts in Baghdad. These try to give the wrong impression that the division is between the people and makes the fighting parties look like the peace mediators.
Such practices have increased recently and taking the form of basically meetings between community leaders and tribal sheikhs of often adjacent sectors with difference in sectarian distribution where those participants would sign a 'code of honor' to stop killings and forced displacement.
For example, there are now talks and meetings between Sadr city, Azamiya and several other districts in north-eastern Baghdad similar to the so far more or less successful reconciliation that took place in other parts of central eastern Baghdad districts last week. This example of neighborhoods peace talks is echoing in Baghdad recently even that I heard yesterday that the clashes there were going on in Haifa street and adjacent streets were the result of residents from a Sunni district and a Shia one joining forces to confront a death squad disguised as police commandos.
No one knows for sure what happened but this is what people here are saying.
In one way or another I see this to confirm what was said above, that people need no reconciliation and the apparent success of the meetings supports this idea.
Still I believe such meetings between districts are necessary to clear the misunderstanding created by the fighting sectarian parties.
I know this may sound a bit confusing so please read to the end…
The question is are we going to see the same from the parties really involved in the conflict, I mean meetings for real reconciliation and a positive answer to Maliki's calls?
In fact I see that these parties will answer the calls for reconciliation but for a purpose other than Iraq's stability and peace and for a purpose other than putting an end to the daily bloodshed.
It's rather a pessimistic scenario that I am reading from signs I see in the atmosphere; I hear and see that some Shia parties with strong militias are seeking a truce (not peace) with Sunni counterparts especially those with significant militias but this in my opinion will be more like a sectarian truce than a true national reconciliation.
But again, why would they seek truce with all the deeply rooted differences between them?
Well the unpleasant scenario I'm expecting is basically that these parties want this truce to fix one front and pave the way for the beginning of a Sunni-Shia joint Islamic insurgency against the US and the UK in Iraq, and I call it Islamic because that's how the planning party wants it to look like to persuade militants of the other sect to join them in their next mischief or at least to guarantee that the other sect would remain neutral during the conflict they are planning to spark.
My theory about this future conflict is based on findings of the current conflict in the Middle East and we mentioned before that we are most likely going to face a situation in the Iraqi south similar to what's happening in the Lebanese south as another chapter of Iran's plan that seeks to spread chaos in the middle east in general and in Iraq in particular and a look at the statements of Iran's friends in Iraq who urged Maliki to cancel his visit to the US and the tone that was used in these requests lead only to the conclusion that these parties won't hesitate long before they enter the battlefield, actually we already are hearing rumors that Sadr's militiamen are present in Lebanon and fighting alongside Hizbollah.
I question the credibility of this news but I consider it an introduction to an actual physical engagement, this introduction also had included the banners campaign we talked about the other day.
Even if this war breaks out in Iraq, it will not lead to the collapse of the state because the act of the militias will be anti-Iraqi government as well as anti-coalition and these militias will find themselves fighting two determined powers.
However, Maliki will be in an embarrassing position because he realizes that confronting a large-scale Islamic insurgency will no doubt include a lot of destruction to some Iraqi cities similar to what happened to Najaf two years ago and this time the relative stability in the south will face serious threats and we will go into another cycle of instability and destruction of whatever little infrastructure we have in there.
This will exactly mean moving Iraq back years in time and this is the main objective behind the insurgency, i.e. delaying the success of the Iraqi project at any cost to delay any possible action by the world against the Mullahs in Iran.
That's why I see that the government should take an active role in these local reconciliation/truce meetings and ask the involved parties to peacefully hand their weapons to the government as gesture of good intentions and after that a second phase of enforced disarmament may come.
After all, reconciliation will be meaningless if everyone will still be keeping a finger on the trigger.