Divided we stand
Take your Arab and Islamic Iraq, give us a free Kurdistan
September 7, 2005
Despite opposing views (myself included) not to start
the war, the United States was determined to invade
Iraq and remove one of the Middle Eastern dictators in
March 2003. Many argued that the main goal of the
invasion was domination and the easy access to cheaper
natural resources, in other words, colonialism. While
occupations based on such humiliating factors might
have been true of old aristocratic European and Asian
colonial powers, I think that the main goal of the
United Sates to enter any foreign soil has been to
liberate people from brutal dictators, and create an
opportunity for them to become equal partners in the
global free market economy.
It is for such reasons
that this contemporary empire and its people are so
successful in their political or humanitarian actions
as evidenced by ending absolutism in various part of
the world or being the most efficient and generous
providers of humanitarian aid abroad (Tsunami) or at
home (Katrina). Cynical intellectuals might ignore
these facts and the fact that the majority of people
in the world admire this empire including majority of
the voters in Iraq who welcomed the invasion and
regime change by their participation in a democratic
election in January 2005 when they elected their
Unfortunately many of those elected representatives in Iraq now
seem to deviate from the ideals that Americans thought and fought
for. They intend to keep a an outdated British made dysfunctional
and artificial union called Iraq with whatever it takes and legitimize
it with a constitution based on Islamic law.
Such an Iraq would
likely be worse than the one under Saddam; it might legitimize
violation of the rights of Kurds, non-Muslims, women, and other
minorities. It will disappoint American tax payers in general
and families of the soldiers in particular who might have hoped
an Iraqi state in which the culture of free market economy flourishes
and any discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, gender,
Why not an Arab Iraq? Calling Iraq (and Syria) an Arab state
is the same as calling Turkey a Turkish Sate, Iran a Persian state,
Canada an English state, Switzerland a German state, ex-Czechoslovakia
a Czech state, ex-Yugoslavia a Serbian state, and ex-Soviet Union
a Russian State. While those states might have or had a dominating
majority, calling them by the name of their majority was and is
an insult to their other inhabitants.
This is one of the reasons
that some of those states no longer exist in their discriminatory
form. Iraqi Arabs, regardless of sectarian orientation are entitled
to call their territory whatever they desire. Calling all of
the Iraqi territory an Arab state instead of at least a bi-national
federation is keeping status quo and is an insult to the Kurds,
whose expectation for the liberation was to be able to determine
their own destiny and an end to any form of discrimination.
Why not an Islamic Iraq? There is some clear historical evidence
that the mixture of Islam and state is dangerous or at least non-adaptive.
Comparing Shah to Ayatollahs in Iran, Russians to Talibans in Afghanistan,
and the World trade center prior and after 9/11 are self explanatory
evidences that political Islam is one of the worst enemies of liberty,
peace, and prosperity. If for no other reason, the fact alone that
at least 50 percent of the population in countries with a fundamental
Islamic law have to cover themselves form head to toe, should be
a warning to those who oppose any form of dictatorship.
the Taliban are gone and it is unlikely that Bin Laden can put
Saudi Arabia in a worse situation than it already is. However,
the unfortunate Iranians are still paying for their mistake of
their Islamic revolution in 1979; now the ayatollahs have become
even more sophisticated and assigned a non-ayatollah to lead
the country, one who is more fanatic, controlling, and violent
ayatollahs themselves. The only hopes is that the pressure under
the new Iranian president might have a paradoxical effect and
expedite a peaceful social movement to end the reign of political
Let's give some of the ayatollahs the benefit of the doubt and
assume that moderate political Islam is different than Islamic
fundamentalism. However, the motto of all forms of Islam is the
same: "Allah is the only god and Muhammad is his messenger".
Under this leading motto, it is unclear what will happen to those
who believe in a different higher power than the one created fourteen-centuries
ago? What will happen to those Jews who believe they are chosen
by their own god? What will happen to those Christians who believe
that Jesus is their savior? What will happen to those who have
substituted nature or humanity for god or those who question the
existence of any form of god?
A constitution based on Islam or
any other religion is dictatorial, allows violation of human
rights, creates a culture of hatred and discrimination, and is
to most free minds in the 21st century. No doubt that humanitarian
and ethical aspect of all religious have guided many individuals
and benefited the society. However, the mixture of religion and
state has caused many people to distance themselves not only
from religion but from spirituality too. Therefore, another state
on religious doctrine can not be an answer to any contemporary
Now the main question is how does one satiate the majority of
people who prefer an Arab and Islamic state in Iraq? Using non-democratic
means to prevent such a mishap is not the option. I am not familiar
with any other option but to allow people to make their own choices.
This might lead to a division of the state which has been described
by paranoid factions of developing countries as the politic of " divide
and conquer". Yet, in such a case the only conquerors that
come to my mind are the people who have choices.
The size of a
country does not seem to be a factor in stability, prosperity,
and peace among its inhabitants. Division could solve many unresolved
issues and lead to equality, which is a prerequisites for a more
advanced voluntary union. It will give the opportunity to Shiites
in the region to fulfill their unresolved conflict of having
a second state to have a bigger share of power among many Sunni
It will give Sunnis Arabs an opportunity to learn what it means
to be a minority either under the Sunni Kurds or under the Shiites
Arabs or a majority on their own as a small country without oil.
It will fulfill the ultimate objective of the Kurds of having
an independent Kurdistan at least in one part of their homeland.
An independent Kurdistan might
be advantageous not only for the Kurds but for all involved parties.
The fundamentalists do not
have to be worried about the contamination of their pure Islamic
land: the "infidels" can leave the area and settle in
a free Kurdistan.
A free Kurdistan will add to the balance of having
another friendly state towards the West similar to Israel. A
free Kurdistan will be another welcoming home for American and
forces that are very unwelcome in most other parts of the Middle
East. A free Kurdistan will provide a more balanced and appropriate
long-term exit strategy for foreign forces.
A free Kurdistan will
also become a refuge for other free thinkers and believers of
various religions and ideologies who are not welcome in the areas
by fundamentalists. However, a free Kurdistan cannot come to
existence as long as the free world remains ignorant and tolerates
against Kurdish people.
Kamal H Artin, September 5th, 2005 Orange Couty, California,
Dr. Artin is a member of Kurdish American Education Society (www.kaes.us), however, his views are not necessarily reflective
of the views of all of the KAES members.