Currently in the ME, there has been little recog of the new Iraqi state. Unneighborly neighbors ignore and diss Iraq like she's the red headed step child of the region - an illegit sister built by another mister like Great Satan or Great Britain.
Despite forgiving tons of debt, many in the Gulf are keeping Iraq at arms length. Fair enough - not so long ago a despotic militant Iraq trashed several neighbors and left their turf as blasted and barren as the moon.
Maria Appakova of Russia's GRU shares a bit about the Third Expanded Ministerial Conference of the Neighboring Countries of Iraq in Kuwait City on April 22
The damage done to many of them by the Saddam Hussein regime was too great
to forget easily, even though Iraq is supposedly ruled by a different gov
now. This is clearly evidenced by the final joint declaration passed by the
Kuwait conference. A full five years after the toppling of Saddam's regime, the
participants condemned the crimes of the former regime against the peoples of
Iraq, Iran and Kuwait, although it would seem they should have turned a clean
page by now.
On the one hand, they have their reasons to be wary of violence in Iraq. Some of
those countries' earlier attempts to reopen embassies in Baghdad ended in
disaster - in August 2003, 17 were killed in an attack on Jordan's mission. In
2005, several Algerian and Egyptian diplomats were kidnapped and killed. But,
other countries have incurred casualties, too. The killing of Russian Embassy
workers in 2006 did not lead to a closure of the mission.
But this is only part of the explanation. After all Iran, one of the victim
nations mentioned in the declaration, is actively developing contacts with
Baghdad, not letting the old grudge get in the way of new relations
And here we see the true cause for the reluctance of others.
The Sunni-led governments in Iraq's Arab neighbors are wary of getting too
friendly with the new Shiite-dominated Iraq government tilted toward Iran, and
writing off its debts.
Moreover, a restored and powerful Iraq would put up serious competition
to its neighbors on the oil market; a stable Iraq is almost certain to bring
down global oil prices.
Therefore, while for the West, Russia, and most Asian nations a stabilized
Iraq means billion-dollar contracts and geo-strategic advantages, its Arab
neighbors don't really know what to expect. They have not yet developed a policy
toward Iraq that would enable them to gain without having to pay too much for
The reconciliation between Iraq and the Arab countries is progressing, albeit
slowly. It would be better if they translated words into action, and writing off
Iraq's debts and reopening embassies would be eloquent examples of that.