Will tomorrow's conference be a positive contribution to stability in Iraq and to building better relationships with the neighbors and the international community?
Of course that's what we wish to see but it's more about the intentions of the participants than our wishes.
The public opinion here isn't showing a lot of interest in the event and the subject rarely finds its way to common conversations, actually most people do not know who's going to be here for the conference, that, if they are at all aware it's going to be held tomorrow and in Baghdad—people are tired of watching neighboring countries interfering in Iraq almost always against Iraq's interests. Although some tend to focus on the interference from one country and ignore or deny that from another, there's an agreement that harmful interference exist with a general feeling that a conference couldn’t do much for stability.
I personally think that most of those meeting tomorrow will show up just to pretend they are willing to help while common sense suggests they don't—the reality that was born after the change in Iraq represented by toppling a dictatorship and the attempt to build a new state on basis of democracy, rule of law and protecting minority rights is raising deep concerns among some of our neighbors. And perhaps watching the former dictator walk to the gallows for a crime he committed twenty five years ago made them think about how similar their history is to Saddam's and fear for their own heads and wonder what kind of concessions they'd have to make to keep their heads on their shoulders.
What's been going on since 2003 is that most of the neighbors want Iraq to fail and to do that they saw that feeding a proxy war using local surrogates and foreign terrorists was the best strategy to block the tide of change off their doors. In this manner the slower progress is being made in Iraq the longer their regimes can last, so why would anyone think those little tyrants like to see a democratic federal Iraq run by a constitution approved by the people!?
The Israeli-Palestinian issue offers a clear example of the effect of regional interference in the region; the players are almost exactly the same and their policy is pretty much the same as well in both cases.
The conflict is almost sixty years old and the Arab regimes still wouldn't accept Israel's existence. It is wrong to think that this only about disputed rights in land because the conflict is largely due to the nature of Israel's political system and the way of living which differ a lot from those in Arab countries.
Interference from Arab and Muslim countries has always been to keep the conflict alive if not to further complicate it, and the Palestinians themselves weakened their position and lost much by accepting involvement from other Arabs. Even the peace treaties that some had signed with Israel do not seem to reflect sincere interest in long-lasting peace.
Those regimes will keep on meddling in Iraq and the Palestinian territory and they will continue to fund and arm groups of extremists and do anything they can to kill any seeds of democracy.
Like we said many times before, a simple reading of the history of the region tells us to not trust the words of dictators and clerics, for words are inexpensive and clerics and dictators have plenty of words they are willing to use to buy time.
However I do think the Baghdad conference will be significant in another aspect and this would be stressing the reality that Iraq is a state equal to her neighbors and that in Baghdad there is an elected government representative of its people.
Insisting that the conference be in Baghdad and not somewhere else kind of sends a message that Iraq is not anyone's backyard and the government is not a bunch of dissidents living in exile and our neighbors will have to recognize this reality.
It is a sad fact that most of our Shia politicians often blame Syria and Saudi Arabia for violence in the country while remaining silent about Iran and the opposite is true when it comes to most Sunni politicians, so finally I hope that whoever's representing Baghdad in tomorrow's meeting will deal with all of the abusive neighbors equally.