U.N.'s Kobler says Iraq faces two paths

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq Martin Kobler said Iraq faces two paths; it can embrace peace or destruction.

Kobler said Iraq reached a "crucial phase" following the withdrawal of United States forces from the country two years ago and the fall of a regime ten years ago. Kobler said the country can either "continue to make important strides in deepening the roots of democracy, pursuing reform, embracing diversity, as well as improving its stature in the international community or Iraq can go down a dangerous path, potholed with political impasse and sectarian violence at each turn, leading to increased instability."

Kobler noted that the Syrian conflict has played a key role in driving Iraq down the latter path, with roughly 3,000 people murdered and 7,000 injured in Syria over the past four months. Kobler said that the conflict did not spill into Iraq, but Iraqis actually took up arms against one another in Syria and within Iraq. There are currently 160,000 refugees registered in Iraq.

Iraq still faces two paths, but the country has joined the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and has changed a policy in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, allowing children born to Iraqi mothers the right to Iraqi nationality.