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Over ten years ago when the US invaded Iraq, some neocon analysts claimed Iraq would become the next Japan through efforts similar to what the US embarked on in Japan after WWII. A decade later, we surely know those predictions were utterly wrong. I should add that futurists like Daniel Bell clearly distanced themselves from neoconservatism at that time (1).
A month ago after the start of Civil War in Iraq, ISIS took over the city of Mosul, and subsequently Iraqi Kurdistan took over city of Kirkuk. We are hearing quick verdicts as if the division of Iraq to three countries is a done deal. If the invasion of Iraq took more than a decade to show its results, the outcome of civil war in Iraq may not be known for some time.
Even in a country like the United States of 1860's, with almost a century of Constitution and Supreme Court, still a bloody civil war broke out when the state governments of the South proclaimed state rights above human rights in their dispute with the federal government on the issue of slavery. The pro slavery states tried to use the state rights to the point of separation of confederate states from the United States but were defeated militarily (2).
The main issue of Iraq's civil war is religious and ethnic discrimination by its federal government. On one hand, ISIS wants a more discriminatory government of Sunni Islam which it considers as a continuation of Umayyads, Abbasids and Ottomans and even calls Iran's military, the Safavid army. On the other hand, other religious and ethnic groups including Sunni Arabs and Kurds want a secular government which would not discriminate based on religion or ethnicity.
One thing that has been shown in this ordeal is the weakness of federalism in Iraq and unfortunately the damage to federalism was also done by Iraqi Kurdistan although the Kurds were the bastions of federalism in Iraq. An issue such as relationship between the state of Kurdistan and the central government should have been raised to the supreme court of Iraq long before all these events because it relates to the interpretation of constitution.
Still, one should emphasize a legal process to settle such issues or else, every time any political or religious group is unhappy, they can take control of an oil rich area of the country and call for a referendum by those living in that region and claim independence. Such an approach is contrary to the spirit of democracy and federalism and actually helps the consolidation of dictatorship in the country, something one may expect from ISIS Caliphate but not from Iraqi Kurdistan. In fact, the current wave of separatism can galvanize both Iraq's central government and the separatist states towards dictatorship.
Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher
July 11, 2014
1. Neocons, Daniel Bell and Iran
2. Does Federalism Allow States To Deny Human Rights