The almost-done Siemens deal in Iraq is much more than a business coup. It’s an example of German soft power hard at work that could have an impact on everything from immigration and a culture of corruption, to how the next Iraqi government is formed.
Have you thought about asking Siemens for help? Source: AP
“Thank you Germany! Thank you Germany,” my colleague Qassim says, smiling broadly as we meet in a cafe in northern Iraq. It’s a surprisingly enthusiastic greeting but it turns out he’s thanking me – a token German – for a recent gift from the German government. It had just sent the Iraqi Kurdish administration weapons, including anti-tank guided missiles, so their armed forces could fight the Islamic State.
Over the seven years I’ve been working with local journalists on an Iraqi politics website, Niqash.org, I’m still always fascinated by the goodwill that many Iraqis unquestioningly ascribe to their German freinds. It obviously doesn’t always involve guns or bombs either, as this week’s news about a multi-billion-dollar deal between Iraq and German industrial giant, Siemens, attests.
Iraqis have vastly differing opinions on their country’s relationships with others. The Americans are seen as important allies by some, but as deadly enemies by others. Britain has a difficult history in the region. Neighboring Iran is trying either to unfairly influence Iraq, or to save it. Same goes for Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
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