In the history of the Middle East, most states in the region were built as a result of war, collapsing empires, or by the grace of colonial powers. From the beginning of the George Bush Doctrine for democracy and the fight against terror until now, all efforts have failed to build sustainable democracy in the region. Instead of modern states, non-state actors and terrorist groups have grown in the area. While this is a real threat to the people living in the region, it also threatens the world’s security.
Why has every attempt to change the Middle East been unsuccessful? Most times, solutions suggested by Western powers have made the situation worse. Research suggests the Western governments’ lack of knowledge of the Middle East’s peoples and their will has contributed to this repeated failure.
For instance, Thomas Edward Lawrence, the British commander of the Arab revolt, with his knowledge of the local people’s culture and behavior, helped Emir Feisel win against the Turks in World War One. He made it clear the only way to gain victory in this area was to know the essence of the population’s culture and build plans with that knowledge in mind.
However, Western powers tried to bring democracy to the Middle East without being aware of the intricacies of the people’s different ethnicities, religions, and tribal affiliations.
Nowadays, thanks to the development of technology and widespread access to information and media from various nations in the region, understanding their historical background has never been easier. This time, establishing democracy should be a more straightforward process.
Replacing rogue states and monarchies requires a different strategy, not just military intervention or economic sanctions. The new model of democracy in the Middle East should be created and supported by the people, allowing them to decide for their future within their countries in a peaceful way.
The Kurdistan referendum, which is going to be held on Sep. 25, could be a shining example and possibly the first step toward a modern, fledgling democracy in the region.
The Middle East will experience a new way of establishing a democratic state. This project could lead Middle Eastern nations toward a stable, democratic means of achieving their rights.
Why would the separation of the Kurdistan Region from Iraq be a threat to regional neighbors? Despite their poor treatment of the various ethnic groups within their borders, this is an opportunity for them to rethink their policy.
The Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum could launch a velvet revolution in the Middle East.
States like Iran which have several minorities, such as Kurds, Azeris, Balochis, and Arabs, face growing frustration among those who view themselves as second-class citizens with fewer rights.
Governments such as Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, which have been playing power politics in the region, would understandably view an independent Kurdistan as a threat to their ongoing oppression of their own people.
For decades, the international community has witnessed the involvement of the world’s superpowers in the Middle East make it harder for citizens to overthrow regimes. An independent Kurdistan will energize and strengthen the people’s movement for greater individual and personal rights against authoritative regimes.
At the very least, successfully holding the independence referendum in Kurdistan amid the madness gripping the Middle East will show the world there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Shukriya Kurdistani is a PhD student studying International Security at Exeter University in the United Kingdom.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Kurdistan 24.
Editing by G.H. Renaud and Karzan Sulaivany