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The Partition of Iraq into 4 States is a viable solution

Charles Jalkh *

October 6, 2006

The formation of the modern Arab world by the European colonialism of the past century was riddled with time bombs and mine fields. Almost without exception, all Arab states were patched up together arbitrarily with neither a concept of the modern citizen, nor a homogeneity of populations and national aspirations. The result has been 60 years of dictatorships, genocides, tribal wars disguised as safeguarding the unity of the “nation”, wars of aggressions, and gross violations of human rights, all contributing factors to the economic and cultural retardation of the whole region.

The American intervention in Iraq did not create the ethnic rivalries in the Middle East. Rather, the root cause is the suppression of national aspirations and the merger/dilution of different and distinct people into larger artificial aimless states ruling thru blood, iron, and fire. The Kurds were denied their statehoods by Sykes-Picot. The Christians of Lebanon were tricked into a “Grand Liban” only to see the first republic betrayed and then confiscated by the Syrian Stalinist regime. The Copts of Egypt, the Berbers of Algeria, Darfour and Sudan, on and on, everywhere in our area, ethnicities and national aspirations are suppressed often brutally. The Middle East is a prison of nations. Artificial states were erected everywhere based on geographical extents without a unifying humane ideology and far long before America’s arrival.

Since the concept of the modern state is grossly lacking, the ethnicities of the Arab world have no other choice but to seek their own political structures to protect their people and achieve their national and cultural aspirations. The world should let such eventuality occur before it becomes too late as is the case in Iraq. We have done it in former Yugoslavia, and it can be done elsewhere.

A reasonable solution for the Iraqi civil war may consist of dividing the country into 4 states; a Sunni state in the West, a Kurdish state in the North, a Shiite state in the South, and a mini federated state in the center to resolve areas of contention, avoid the division of Baghdad, and to allow the nucleus of a multi-ethnic society as another viable model. These 4 new states could join the United Nations as democratic allies of the war on terror. The seeds of the civil war could then be extinguished and all parties get their fair share of the cake.

A similar, albeit modified model could also be applied to Lebanon. It would consist of dividing Lebanon into two states; A multi-ethnic, democratic, and liberal Sunni-Druze-Christian state, and a Shiite state, each pursuing its diverging national aspirations and identities, living in peace with each others.

Past partition options were not viable, but a Sunni-Druze-Christian mix has a good chance of succeeding as proven today in the March 14 Cedars Revolution. Territorial concessions will be required on all sides and some towns may fall on one side or the other of a new border. The Lebanese would then need to abandon their delusional nostalgia of a “Grand Liban” in favor of realistic territorial aspirations. This goal is however risky, since it formalizes the Syria-Iran Hezbollah colony in Lebanon. But it would on the other hand, isolate the Iranian bridgehead, and shield the rest of the Lebanese from Hezbollah’s wars. We would simply extract the Hezbollah state-within-our-state, which the world seems unable to defeat, and turn it to a state of its own, answering the national aspirations of its constituency, and making it independently accountable for its own actions. Perhaps in a generation or two, we may again contemplate a reunion of some sort, and perhaps not.

Like the Iraqis, we Lebanese have today a historic decision to make. The brutal truth is that the old 10452 square kilometer Lebanon has died long ago, and perhaps never was. We must either formulate an acceptable vision of a New Lebanon for all its children, or part ways. We have reaped only futility in the forced union of 1920, that great deception of “Le Grand Liban”. A whole generation tasted this sweet but illusive dream during the first republic, but the dream turned into a sour nightmare after 86 years of Syrian wars of aggression and sabotage. We need to dream and dare again! For the ultimate objective of any nation must be peace and the well being of its people. And the true borders of Free Lebanon will expand with the march of democracy and human rights.

* Charles Jalkh is a Lebanese Freedom Fighter opposed to the Hezbollah.

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