The series of fatal explosions that shook Baghdad recently are evidence that there is no such thing as national security in Iraq.

The country's sovereignty has been violated, its values crushed and its people have lost their identities.

Iraq has never seen worse days than the present, under US occupation. The country is facing destruction and humiliation at both domestic and foreign levels.

The various political blocs in Iraq have different concepts about national security, but what they have in common is the sidelining of national security for the sake of sectarian, family or individual security, or even the security of a neighbouring country.

National security is a strategy to protect individuals, groups, community and the state at all levels and against all risks. Achieving national security is the government's most important responsibility.

Accordingly, all other strategies in the military, economic, social, educational, psychological and other fields are placed within the framework of the national security philosophy.

Ensuring national security means protecting property and people against all dangers, whether domestic or foreign, and at times of war or peace.

Close relationship

The political elite of Iraq fail to see the close relationship between national security and the hopes and aspirations of their people, which are greatly varied, because of the large number of ethnicities, religions, sects and cultures.

Most citizens know nothing about the philosophy or theories behind national security, but they know when they don't have it.

When there is no security, people suffer because they are not protected and lack job opportunities or education.

When Iraqi Mandaeans are killed, an international committee is formed to defend their community and when Iraqi Christians are killed or expelled, the Pope appeals to the US President to provide protection for them. This is because these groups follow religions that connect them to other countries.

But when Iraqi scientists and intellectuals are killed, or when border villages are bombed by neighbouring countries and the bodies of Iraqis are torn apart by violent explosions, the only reaction seen is condemnation, calls for immediate investigation, threats and random accusations — even before an investigation starts.

This is followed by an exchange of accusations between politicians about whose fault it is, and some prominent figures are made scapegoats, solely for electoral reasons.

A serious malfunction in national security at this level cannot be tackled with tools capable of bringing only temporary relief.

The problem is much bigger than simply finding out who committed particular crimes and punishing them. It lies in reforming the political process itself.

Shared responsibility

While the government is held responsible for the failure to protect Iraq from all risks threatening it, all political blocs share the responsibility, because the real problem is their failure to reform the political process in Iraq and to form a national security policy.

Iraqi politicians will not develop an effective national security theory unless they establish a national identity first.

They have to convince every Iraqi citizen that this country, with its land, sky, water, laws, cultures and opportunities, is his.

This is the only real way to ensure national security, because the citizen is the key factor in a successful national security theory.

National security results from the citizen's belief that, within his country, he is equal to others in political, social, economic and cultural terms, now and always.

Liberal Western countries have real national security because they are based on real democracies and enjoy normal conditions resulting from political, social and moral development.

These conditions have resulted from their citizens' confidence, because they realise that civil laws and regulations preserve the rights and protect the freedoms of all people.

 Mohammad Akef Jamal is an Iraqi writer based in Dubai.