The KRG Spain office attended a seminar held by the Real Institute Elcano last week at the Fine Arts Centre. The seminar was centered on current developments in Iraq with particular attention given to the ISIS spearheaded Sunni insurgency that has swept the country and seen a number of major cities fall into the hands of the insurgents.
The seminar was moderated by Charles Powell, Elcano’s director, and involved three key researchers of the think tank, Haziam Amirah Fernandez, Felix Arteaga and Gonzalo Escribano.
The levels of analysis provided were from three angles, national, regional and global. According to Haziam Amirah Fernandez’s analysis, the blame lay on US policy towards Iraq & the sectarian policies of Nouri Al Maliki’s government which Fernandez argued created the fertile grounds for an insurgency. Fernandez criticised the lack of political consensus in Iraq and the exclusion of ethnic and religious groups from the political process, which is key to governing such a diverse country successfully. Fernandez also complained at the lack of response from the international community to the ongoing crisis in Iraq.
Felix Arteaga spoke of the potential consequences of the conflict on the Europena Union and Spain and predicted three outcomes for Iraq. First, Prime Minister Al Maliki leaves office at the request of many in Iraq’s political arena. Second, Iraq divided into three separate independent entities and lastly international intervention to help the Iraqi’s regain control of lost territory.
Energy director of Elcano Gozalo Escribano provided an insight into the affect the conflict would have on the energy sector. He stated that Spain’s oil imports from Iraq have reduced to 3% from 7% some years ago. He put confirmed that oil prices have stabilised after an initial rise in prices just have the news of the conflict hit the markets, but had not had a serious effect on production.
The seminar provided a comprehensive insight into the current situation and an interesting analysis of how the conflict developed over a period of time. The seminar was attended by the KRG Spain office and the Embassy of Iraq in Spain among other guests.