Iran News ...


Paradigm Shift in the Middle East in Full Gear

By: Davood N. Rahni, Ph.D.
University Professor, New York USA

Jubilant, appreciative Iraqi populace have emerged in massive numbers in the urban centers of the country now that they have by and large accepted the passage of one political era with the anticipation of the development of a "modern" replacement governing system. The skepticism and objections by the rest of the Arab and European world seem to have now been replaced with certain degree of ambivalence and wait and see attitude. It is true that along with such puritan sense of ecstasy in Iraq, looting and street justice acts seem to be inevitable for sometime. It is also true that the fragmented Saddam's military, paramilitary and repressive elements will continue to sporadically cause harm to the "liberating" troops and the civilians, not because they presumably wish to extrapolate the Saddam's regime lineage, but more likely to safeguard their own lives against freed vigilantes and summary trials and executions by those whose lives and families were detrimentally affected during the past three decades. The fact has, nonetheless, emerged that there is a fundamental change in Iraq, which its ramifications will ripple through the entire region, and perhaps through the globe at-large after it brings sweet fruits to the people. The new precedent of pre-emptive "Coalition" forces spearheaded primarily by the Americans and the British, which entered Iraq unilaterally while breaching the on going UN based inspections and deliberations and was subjected to strong criticism and reservations by allies and foe alike, has been wholeheartedly welcomed by the people as a "liberating" army, despite their having inflicted hundreds of civilian casualties, the so called "collateral damage" in the past three weeks of fighting which ironically commenced on Vernal Equinox: the first day of Spring. One should certainly hope for a democratic quantum leap through which the Iraqi people of all creed, gender, religious and cultural inclinations rise to the occasion of empowerment by exhibiting tolerance, maturity and objectivity in drafting the democratic road map of their nation in an orderly manner. One the hand, The American and the British forces should exhibit restraints and begin an orderly withdrawal as soon as a self-appointed transitional Iraqi government is independently instituted under the international observance like the military forces and UN auspices. Such gesture by the Allied forces will prove the global skeptics wrong in the assertion that the "coalition forces" intended to act as "colonial" hegemonic econo-political conglomerate in the region. One should hasten to amend the notion of covering the cost of the wars, not only for this third "Persian Gulf" war, but also for the previous two, namely the Kuwaiti and the Iranian invasions by the Iraqis should be paid from the Iraqi proceeds. The reconstruction contracts, through a transparent corruption free bidding process should be entrusted with the most competitive bidder regardless of the country of origin to capture the trust of the people in the region. This should in turn isolate the minority radical forces that might otherwise use it to exploit and channel the frustrations of the masses against the "liberating" forces. Furthermore, it goes without saying that two types of tribunals, i.e., the first for investigating the criminal culprits in the three war periods of 2003, 1991 and 1980-8, and the other for those government bureaucrats who committed "crimes against humanity" not only against their own civilians including the Kurds and the Shiites majority constituting three-fourth of the country's populations, but also against their Iranian and Kuwaiti neighbors, should serve justice to the people to recapture their confidence in the true and impartial democratic principles on which the British and the American systems of "government by the people for the people" are indeed anchored. One might in fact argue the legitimacy of such tribunals recognized if and when the victims of losses both inside the country and in the neighboring countries and through international terrorisms are amicably resolved through reparations and decisive verdicts carried, thereby setting novel legal precedents to warn other repressive, aggressive and "terrorist-sponsored" governments worldwide. It is just ironic to note that a historical region on which the ancient Sumerians, Babylonian, Akkadians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Medes and Persians thrived on for millennia, and wrote some of the earliest laws as those by Hamurabi and epics like the Gilgamesh presumably the precursor stories to all religious books that emerged thereafter, now have to rely on "outsiders" to guide them to set up civic and constitutional systems.

Notwithstanding that, however, upon realization of Iraqi peoples' democratic aspirations, such ideal will ubiquitously be spread out throughout the region, whereby the Americans and the British will be deservingly credited for its cross fertilization. This will in turn, prove to other skeptics, albeit the Islamic world that there was indeed no arteriole motive per se, or self-serving "crusade" indulgence at stake but rather an altruistic stride for helping to instill justice, democracy and stability in a region which is in desperate need of such novelties. Conversely, if the allied forces drag their feet too long in the region or meddle in the internal affairs of these countries, especially if neither justice or democratic values are successfully instituted, then Anglo-American credibility is immensely jeopardized, while the whole region would undergo yet another regressive "dark ages", the consequence of which will be reverberated throughout the world. This will also adversely impede the regional socio-religious reformations in progress since the mid-twentieth century despite its slow paste.

Paradoxically, if true democracy with populous participation of all masses were instituted in Iraq today, the majority Shiite population, especially when in coalition with Kurdish "minority" will govern Iraq, thereby marginalizing the now Sunni "minority" and possibly the Christian (Chaldeans, Assyrians, Armenians) and Turkmen minorities. One would certainly anticipate, however, that the newly emerging government in Iraq, based on a new constitution to be drafted soon, would unequivocally commit to the principle of "separation of church and sate", and safeguarding the personal religious beliefs of its entire citizens; a federal system with autonomous regions should then be inevitably emulated by their neighboring countries, especially with respect to the twenty plus million Kurds residing in Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Armenia, and Iran where it is believed they possess the most civil and social-economic rights when compared to their compatriots elsewhere.

Whereas the country is in immediate dire need of humanitarian support including quality food and water, emergency and chronic medical care, and a relative sense of security as afforded by the "coalition" forces, it is incumbent upon the reinvigorated Iraqi elite autocratic, intellectual and the scientific corp., with an all out consultative assistance from the international community especially those in the immediate vicinity, to spearhead the reconstruction of physical infra structures (e.g., communications, road and transportations, and mitigation and conservations of natural renewable and non-renewable resources) and civil services such as the medical, educational, public administrations, socio-economic and political infrastructures. Iraqi expatriates like those in the US mainly residing in the Dearborn, Michigan area could in particular play an effective role for such endeavors. Epitomizing, it is imperative that a successful Iraqi transformation would not only lead to the reintegration of this great nation back into the family of nations, but it should also wake up all other repressive governments in the region to undergo through a rapid process of soul searching and self-reassessment, not only for whether they humanely and democratically govern their own constituencies or not, but equally significant as to how they behave in the international community of nations. It is only through such process of reconciliation and empowerment while allowing democratic reforms to take root peacefully, that such governments avoid the need and "merit" for political hegemony and, or military interventions by the "outsiders" to quench the thirst of the wrath of the indigenous in such region-a region that is universally recognized as the cradle of civilization. It is a region with ten thousand years of urban life and organized agriculture, a crossroad that has brought immense contributions to our modern life through its rich cultures in the arts, literature, religions, history and laws, its scientific and technological pursuits, all of which has now led to its serving as the Persian Gulf pumping "gas stations" for immense amount of fossil fusels today!

... Payvand News - 4/14/03 ... --

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