Historically, Iraq has been a prosperous nation and often identified as the cradle of human civilization. In the history of Islam, the Iraqi capital Baghdad has long been considered a center of science and religion besides other major cities like Mecca, Cairo and Istanbul.
With the discovery of huge petroleum reserves in the country in the early 1950s, Iraq saw prosperity but soon had to pay the price of almost decade-long war with Iran.
Fortunately enough, the war did not see redrawing of national borders, but in Iran, it gave the Iranian political elite an opportunity to consolidate the new regime that had emerged from the 1979 revolution.
Iranians considered Saddam Hussein a representative of the Western powers, which aimed at occupying their homeland. If we're to call a spade a spade: Hussein's war against Iran only harmed his own country. Sponsored by the Western powers and Saudi Arabia, the war left Iraq with a tremendous amount of conventional weapons.
Anxious about the Hussein's military power, the U.S. and its allies waged the First Gulf War right after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
In the Second Gulf War, the U.S. razed Iraq to the ground. Disregarding the United Nations, former President George W. Bush occupied Iraq under the pretext that Saddam Hussein was sitting on a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell later confessed in the Congress that the claim was indeed fabricated.
During the Second Gulf War, the U.S. received significant financial support from Saudi Arabia as it seized control of Iraqi oil. While the Iraqi state slowly disintegrated, Iran succeeded in turning its former enemy into a satellite state. It is ironic, that the occupation of Iraq only benefited Iran, the archenemy of the U.S.
The U.S.-backed al-Maliki government in Iraq pursued a policy of persecution against the country's Sunni population which ultimately gave birth to terrorist organizations like Daesh.
While the U.S. not only fought against but also manipulated those terrorist organizations, Iran used its Shiite militia (i.e. the Hashd al-Shaabi) for its own regional interests.
Even though every sovereign state aims at national independence, Iraq has become more and more dependent on Iran after the U.S. occupation and the succeeding emergence of Daesh.
In order to pursue a national and independent foreign policy, Iraq must improve its relations with Turkey, the region's doorway to the West.
After the failure of the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) independence referendum, the relation between Iraq and Turkey have reached a new level. As the KRG and the Iraqi government are coming to terms, Turkey's dignity in the region has also increased. And a Turkish-Iraqi rapprochement will positively affect Turkey's relations with the KRG as well.
In terms of Iraq's reconstruction, the Turkish-Iraqi rapprochement will both be economically and politically important. In addition, Turkey will always be a significant supporter of Iraq, as the former looks to adopt an independent and multi-directional foreign policy.
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