The focus of this blog and the progression towards a country report is going to be focused on answering the question: has the United States occupation of Iraq hindered/helped the Arab Spring within Iraq? My particular focus is on the regional influence of the arab spring in other states on the country of Iraq.
My approach emulates that of Persian Gulf export Gregory Gause on the explanation of transnational influence and identities of the Arab Spring in Iraq. To enhance the understanding of the importance of the regional influence of other MENA states on Iraq, we will first lay the foundation for answering the question of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and its effect on Iraq’s “arab spring.”
Firstly, it is debatable whether or not Iraq is experiencing its “own Arab Spring.” Is clear that many of the same key ideals advocated for in other Arab Spring countries are being protested for in Iraq, it is questionable as to whether it will result in a revolution like in the other MENA states. One explanation for this is the United States occupation of Iraq. Some former executive administration members, for example Dick Cheney, even go so far as to take credit for the citizens of Iraq and other MENA states for experiencing the Arab Spring.
This overall country report will examine this question from three different angles 1)internal actors of Iraq that have been attributed to enhancing the arab spring, 2) regional state and non-state actors responsible for perpetuating the Arab Spring and 3)lastly the United States position since the invasion in 2003 and their role in the Arab Spring. These questions are somewhat narrow and will inevitably be expanded with our continued research.
In a August 2011 interview with Fox and Friends to promote his new memoir, EX-Vice President Dick Cheney had accredited to Iraq War to spreading democracy in the Middle East/North Africa that developed into the Arab Spring. Cheney responded when asked about the situation in Libya: “<strong>I think that what happened in Iraq, the fact that we brought democracy, if you will, and freedom to Iraq, has had a ripple effect on some of those other countries.”
Turns out, many of the former Bush administration perpetuate this idea of starting the Arab Spring in Iraq. Many absolutely reject this claim, in particular noting the reactions to other MENA states to the Iraq invasion. It is a consensus that the majority of the region viewed the Iraq war as overwhelmingly unpopular. There is even a claim that other regional countries delayed their own path for democracy citing the situation in Iraq of democratization as fostering massive insecurity, most notably in the 2006 civil war. According to this view, the Iraq War stifled the arab spring in the region. According to a 2010 RAND–a non for profit research institute, study, Iraq’s instability has become a convenient scarecrow “neighboring regimes can use to delay political reform by asserting that democratization inevitably leads to insecurity.” The influence the Iraq occupation has on the region plays an instrumental role in answering this question of whether the the invasion hindered or helped Iraq’s own arab spring.
*Watch the Cheney interview at <a href=”http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/31/308769/cheney-arab-spring-iraq/”>Think Progress Security </a>and read the article by <a href=”http://thinkprogress.org/author/alex-seitz-wald/”>Alex Seitz-Wald</a>