Federalism Might Be What a Fractious Middle East Needs Most

Sept. 8 2017

In a recent conversation with Mordechai Kedar, an Iraqi Sunni activist living in Europe argued that the best way forward for his own country is what he terms “the emirate solution.” His proposal, modeled on American federalism and Switzerland’s division into cantons, would divide Iraq into small, relatively homogeneous emirates, each with some degree of internal autonomy. Kedar lays out the case for this plan, and suggest it could be applied successfully elsewhere in the Middle East:

Each emirate would lead its own life and refrain from interference in the policies of the other emirates. It would be ruled by a local sheikh who originally stood at the head of the families within the emirate’s borders, following the population’s social traditions. This . . . will create harmony, stability, and peaceful relations with neighboring emirates for the good of all the citizenry.

The “emirate solution” will also grant self-rule to the Kurds of northern Iraq, making the establishment of an independent Kurdish state unnecessary and preventing the certain violent antagonism of the Iranians, Turks, and Arabs to its existence and the ensuing hostilities.

For illustration’s sake, let us recall that the Kurdish region of northern Iraq is surrounded by countries that do not share the Kurdish dreams of independence, and has no corridor to the sea. If the neighboring countries allied against the Kurdish state, should one be established, preventing goods and people from reaching it, the Kurds would have no way of leading normal lives. How would they export oil and other products in that case? How would they manage to import necessities? . . .

Interestingly, that same emirate solution could most definitely be applied to the seven cities of Judea and Samaria in addition to the Gazan emirate established a decade ago. I am not a fan of Hamas, but Gaza is a state from every practical point of view, and Israel must find a way to deter effectively the jihadist gang that has taken it over. Establishing emirates in Judea and Samaria will grant the people there stability, prosperity, and quiet. It will give Israel peace.

That same solution could solve Jordan’s problem as well. It can be divided into a Palestinian emirate, perhaps more than one, and a Bedouin emirate. The king would be a symbolic figure as is the queen of England.

Read more at Israel National News

More about: Iraq, Kurds, Middle East, Palestinians, Politics & Current Affairs

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:

A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.

Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .

The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .

Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy