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Joe Biden’s win doesn’t bode well for Iraq

Christiane Waked
Filed on November 14, 2020

(Rawpixel Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo)

Donald Trump was a man of action who had a roadmap and wanted to bring peace to the Middle East

The whole peace process plan that the Trump administration had mapped out for the Middle East is now jeopardised with the election of Joe Biden. In fact, the Iraqi factions allied with neighbouring Iran have already expressed their content with the new US President-elect because they know that Biden victory could possibly mean a detente with Iran.

All Iranian supporters in Iraq and in particular Hezbollah brigades never forgave the former US President Donald Trump for the assassination of the powerful Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani, and his Iraqi lieutenant in Iraq after a raid led by a drone last January.

Whether we like Donald Trump’s personality or not, he was nevertheless a man of action who had a roadmap and wanted to bring peace to the Middle East. Unlike all his predecessors, Trump didn’t send his army to participate in wars, instead he aspired for long-term permanent solutions. He was a man of his words and believed more in economic warfares than bombing innocent people.

Trump wanted to weaken the Ayatollah regime in Iran to help the Iranian population from the stranglehold of this authoritarian regime and its proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.

The Iranian regime impoverished not only its people but also the population in Iraq, Lebanon by participating in wars and creating chaos in Syria.

Even if Joe Biden is yet to unveil his foreign policy, no one in Iraq should forget that he voted in favour of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Also it is good to refresh our memories of his 2006 proposal to divide the country into three autonomous regions of Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish paving the way to more sectarian feuds in Iraq.

Iraq, like all the countries in the Middle East, desperately needs to have peace and economic prosperity but unfortunately Iran would not allow this with its constant interference with Iraq’s internal affairs.

And as long as Iran is still influencing Iraq, the Iraqis will suffer from terrorism.

Iran’s constant interference is giving justification for groups like Daesh to exist.

Recently, eleven people, including members of the security forces, were killed on November 8 in an extremist attack on a military position at the western entrance to Baghdad.

Three years ago, while Iraq declared victory over Daesh, the latter still has many clandestine and sleeping cells in all Iraq, notably in the great agricultural belt of Baghdad where Radouaniya is located, a village theatre of this attack.

Meanwhile, Iraq economy is collapsing and the people are struggling to bring food to their homes.

Iraq is facing a severe financial crisis that cast a shadow over all the facilities of economic life, and led to the inability of the Iraqi government to pay salaries of more than five million employees on permanent staff, for more than twenty days. The current crisis also caused the government’s inability to pay debts owed to foreign and investment companies, and international debts estimated at billions of dollars. The decline in oil prices is the main factor behind the financial and economic crises that the state of Iraq is going through. The oil sector contributes about 75 per cent of Iraq’s GDP, and represents about 95 per cent of revenues. Oil prices have fallen since mid-2014 until now from more than $100 a barrel to less than $40 a barrel.

For Iraq to get back on its feet, regional and international factors must play in its favour but with the election of Joe Biden, it looks like Iraq will still have to struggle for quite some time.

Christiane Waked is a political analyst based in Beirut





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