ABDULHAMIT – 5 countries may produce 14 states

5 countries may produce 14 statesThe borders set by the United Kingdom and France in the Middle East following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I are in upheaval 100 years later The region is artificially split once again, and worst of all, there is the risk of further disintegration.I think Pandora’s box was first opened when former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein conquered Kuwait.

The Gulf War, launched to counter this occupation, led to the de facto disintegration not only of the Arab world but also Iraq itself. Saddam Hussein’s problem with the Shiite population became more complicated and he effectively lost his control over the Kurdish region to the north after the the US-led coalition prevented him from going beyond the 36th parallel.

Then, he received a fatal blow during the second Iraqi war declared by George Bush after the 911 attacks. After the invasion, a government was established in Baghdad thanks to cooperation between the Shiites and the Kurds.

However, the new regime was far from bringing peace and stability to the country due to the exclusion of Sunnis from the government.As a matter of fact, the process that undermined the “Iraqi” identity had started long before the war The various identities — such as “Shiite,” “Kurd” or “Sunni” instead of the overarching “Iraqi” identity — had started to be used in national politics.

The concept “Iraqi” had disappeared from conversations and news stories before the war Shiites, Kurds, and Sunnis were cross-border components of the Middle Eastern miniature called Iraq. But which identity would be used when the “Iraqi” identity was destroyed?Moreover, Kurds were Sunni Muslims, but for some reason, they did not fall into the “Sunni” category.

Shiites were mostly Arabs. But their “Arab” identity would not be stressed.

Turkmens were the most aersely affected group as some are Sunnis and others Shiites. They were left in no-man’s land.

Soon, maps were drawn to show this semi-ethnic, semi-sectarian distribution: Shiites in the south, Sunnis in the center and Kurds in the north. However, these people had always lived side by side everywhere across Iraq.

Historically, Basra, Baghdad and Mosul had been administrative centers. But this semi-ethnic, semi-sectarian definition was being used in Iraq for the first time.

With this mentality, the state mechanism was completely changed. The possibility of getting rid of the dictatorship of Saddam, who brutally ruled the country for years and massacred Kurds in Halabja and Shiites in Basra, was a glimmer of hope for everyone except the oligarchic structure on which the Baath regime relied.

But the collapse of the old system following the fall of Saddam led to chaos. The resistance by those who were excluded and the civil war claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands.

The opinion leaders and scholars who represented the very idea of Iraq were destroyed one by one. As it lost its ability to govern itself, Iraq emerged as a playground for radical groups and foreign powers.

Today, the country has turned into a place where people with guns do the talking and early risers can conquer cities, and the army which is supposed to be responsible for the security of the country has been shown to be a paper tiger This ravaged area is now more suitable than ever for a redrawing of borders. The inevitability of disintegration is now voiced not only in groups within the country Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that an independent Kurdistan should be established.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also said that “the crisis in Iraq will result in the establishment of an independent Kurdistan.” Ankara seems to no longer be concerned about this possibility, although in the past, it refused even the idea of a federal Iraq.

Noting that the possibility of an independent Kurdish state does not bother Turkey much, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Huseyin elik adds, “If Iraq disintegrates — and this seems inevitable — they [Kurds] will be our brothers.”In fact, it is no secret that scenarios have long been tossed around about how to redraw the map not only of Iraq, but also of the entire Middle East.

In an article he wrote last year, Middle East expert Robin Wright prophesied that five countries may produce 14 new states. According to this scenario, Libya may be divided into Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan and Saudi Arabia into North Arabia, South Arabia, Eastern Arabia, Western Arabia and Wahhabistan.

Yemen may be divided into South and North Yemen. Iraq and Syria may produce five states, namely a “Shiitestan” (the northern Shiite region of Iraq), a “Sunnistan” (the region that brings together the Sunni Arabs in the country, currently controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL]), Kurdistan (the state that would represent Kurds in the north), an “Alewitestan” (Latakia and Western Syria) and an independent Jabal al-Druze.

I do not know if this scenario will be realized, but I can only hope that borders will not be drawn artificially and that they will be conducive to peace and stability in the region. But given the current sectarian, racist and radical mentality, I fear this process will usher in more conflict.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman