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Saladin Lives!

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Think of South West Asia as a game of Jenga as an example, take out the wrong piece and the whole thing collapses. Iraq is that piece. Quite frankly the US is irrelevant except that it has expedited a new configuration of the existing states in South West Asia by overthrowing Saddam. But don't get too excited, it looks more like a re-run than a new script for humanity. Iran is the key player right now. It is playing its cards in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. Iran stands to gain everything.

It has established patrons of its own in Russia and China. It has a sphere of influence in the Shi'a Crescent, and it has economic and political interests in expanding its territorial gains in the region. At this point, the US is in the cross-fire. It has blundered into a game not of its making, and certainly not within its control.

What is happening in the region of South West Asia now is an expression of the conflict between differing national forces and not merely sectarian strife. There are two, maybe three options on the table and the battle is to set the ground rules.

The first option is three-fold for the establishment of a Shi'a Crescent, a Sunni Triangle and an independent, or autonomous, Kurdistan combo. Another option is for creating a unified federation of an Islamist Empire under Iranian hegemony-call it the restoration of the caliphate, if you want. The final one is a chronic state of destabilization where Syria moves here, Iran moves there and there is continual conflict with Israel until a regional "world war" resolves everything. That makes this an historical turning point in the world's history and not simply an extension of prior struggles. It makes it like the US civil war, World War 1 and the Glorious Revolution rolled into one.

The issue at hand is not Palestinian statehood. The bull's-eye on Israel is strictly a means of maintaining destabilization until the right moment comes. But, make no mistake about it, Hamas and Hezbollah will take no prisoners, especially when they get to Israel. Continued efforts to obstruct a resolution of the divergent political views within the PA that exist internally are not just a matter of "stooges vs. liberators".

It appears consistent with an overall regional strategy being guided by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hezbollah's efforts to depose the Lebanese government, following its "successful" engagement with Israel, raises its profile to a new level. Hamas's refusal to deliver on any of its promises as a governing party, except for continued chaos and anarchy, acts to further establish centers of resistance under Islamist leadership.

It's like this. The origins of these movements are easy to trace. Their current agenda is there for all to see. As they do certain things there is a direction behind it based on their ultimate objectives. What is being supported by some Western "leftists" is not the national liberation struggle, but the armed struggle. The plain fact is that armed struggle does not define the politics. Politics defines the nature of the armed struggle.

For instance, the PKK is not Islamist now because it has never been Islamist, likewise the Peoples' Mujahadeen. But to transform Hamas and Hezbollah into national liberation movements clearly is an exercise in wishful thinking rather than in political analysis. But, what happens as a result of this is that now the good guys become bad and the bad guys become good. The ISI becomes almost a socialist motherland, the national forces for liberation become collaborators and the national struggle of the Kurds becomes subordinated to the defense of the Iranian regime.

When I present the Kurdish issue as the most progressive cornerstone movement in the region, it is based on the premise that all other social movements are based on sect affiliation or expansionism of theocratic based movements. The Kurds represent a defined and historically national movement that is rooted in common territory, culture, history, language and identity. It also has the common quality within the region of having its territorial boundary bisecting the boundaries of other nations established under British colonialism.

The formation of Israel is used by the political Islamists because this then negates the underlying national aspirations that have germinated in the region and projects the reconfiguration as an issue of being a sacred waqf. Presented as a religious issue in this way, this benefits the aspiring nation-states, whether Iran or Syria, who wish to reconfigure the region in their own historical likeness. It is perfectly natural in a political sense for them to do so. They want to re-establish their Imperial status, and with a decaying US influence, after a decayed British Empire, this presents a window of opportunity to do so. But, let's not project this as anything other then an Imperial restoration in which the masses of people stand to gain nothing and not a movement for national independence and liberation.

Democrats have no plan for this regional context except for the Biden plan recognizing the three distinct autonomous regions within Iraq. They are just as likely to follow Lieberman's lead because of the clear threat that this reconfiguration will have to the state and people of Israel. Given the past record of Democrats, they are not likely to present any comprehensive structural changes that will decrease Presidential war-making powers. Neither will they provide reparations to the three major cities, Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, in Iraq according to their sect and national identification.

GW promises to put our hand further into the meat-grinder, with no real sense of the damage already done to the stability of the region. When Jordan's king pointed out three civil wars percolating in the region, it was with the clarity of a neighbor who knows that he will not be able to stay out of the fight indefinitely. Likewise, along with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Jordan has strategic interests in the results of the re-division. The prevailing Sunni sect in these countries also provides a foundation for a stable alliance, as well.

Act one is just beginning and there are no assumptions to be made regarding the ramifications of this situation to world peace. Many decisions remain to be made. There are other players yet to be counted in this game yet. China and Russia are still sitting on the sidelines. There remain profound questions regarding whether the incompetence of US foreign policy in the region will only aggravate the situation.

Finally, there are other social forces for the national construction of Kurdistan that may, or may not have a decisive impact on the future. There is through the sword of Saladin, a Kurd himself, a future that arises from the mirage of history and acts to restore the oasis of the past. There remains only for the Mahdi, who personifies this in life, to step onto the stage and transform history. For there is in every historical drama, the actor that must play the role required for the drama to unfold.

 

Martin Zehr is an American political writer in the San Francisco area. He spent 8 years working as a volunteer water planner for the Middle Rio Grande region. http://www.waterassembly.org His article on the Kirkuk Referendum has been printed by the Kurdish Regional Government, http://www.moera-krg.org/articles/detail.asp?smap=01030000&lngnr=12&anr=12121&rnr=140 Another article was reprinted in its entirety by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) http://www.puk.org/web/htm/news/nws/news070514.html He is a Contributing Writer to Kurdish Aspect more...)
 

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