Saudi and Iran together at Iraq Summit
In a Summit which has been organised by Baghdad the arch regional rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran have together at the same table. The Summit has thus reinforced the image of Iraq as a friend among the neighbouring states in the region. Iraq, has itself borne the brunt of three decades of brutal war and is now trying to portray itself as a champion mediator among its neighbours who have been at odds with each other for a variety of issues the primary among them all is the Syrian civil war, the Yemen unrest and also the US sanctions on Iran.
The Summit is being hosted by the Iraqi Speaker, Mohamed al-Halbousi who has brought together the primary lawmakers of the six neighbouring states of Iraq i.e. Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Halbousi said, “today, Iraq is building a promising strategic partnership with all neighbouring countries without any reservations of favouring any party”. The meeting has actually culminated after many months of high-profile diplomatic efforts which had involvement of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and President Barham Salih for engaging the neighbours.
A final declaration of the meeting stated, “the stability of Iraq is necessary for the stability of the region and contributes its return with all its political and economic weight and creative human resources to its Arab and regional environment”. It thus reinforced “ the importance of supporting moderation and combating extremism in all its forms, especially as it is the people of the region who pay the price of extremism”.
In his efforts to make the meeting possible, Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi had made successive visits to both Iran and Saudi Arabia earlier in 2019, maintaining the fact the Iraq will not favour any one of them in their rivalry but is looking forward to rebuilding the trade relations with both in its efforts to rebuild its own economy. It has been 16 years since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 when the country was pushed into the civil war. Iraq is seeking investment and aid worth billions of dollars primarily in energy and electricity to reconstruct its economy. It is also heading a regional push to bring back the Syrian government into the Arab League as President Bashar al-Assad has successfully survived a 2011 uprising and the following civil war in his rule.