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The Illusions of Iraqi Anarchists - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In Iraq, there is the misconception that secession of the south means its inhabitants will be granted wealth since the area is rich in oil. There is also the belief that because the south is predominantly Shia, it should be a separate state. Some even believe that if the Americans were to leave Iraq tonight, the Sunnis would finally be granted peace. There are also rumors circulating that the Kurds are in desperate search of an opportunity to conflict with Arabs in central and southern Iraq so that ultimately they would be able to establish a united Kurdish state in the north. Finally, there is also the Arab claim that the Shia are collectively in support of Iran.

In fact, all the abovementioned claims are nothing but myths propagated by educated people who have arrived at such conclusions and built upon such stories to present them as facts.

It is untrue that if the south secedes it will be a united and affluent Shia entity. Rather, it is likely that it would disintegrate into deprived and conflicting statelets and the past few days have demonstrated a painful example of this likelihood. There will never be stability in any cases of secession of the Sunnis, Kurds or Shia. For three years, the Sunnis have been at war amongst themselves. In addition, the recent conflicts in western Iraq between clans and armed combatants is an example of conflict between central Iraqis, which is likely to continue in a similar way to the warring parties of Somalia. Although the Kurdish area seems more civilized, better organized and more stable, any separation may create discord between the two main parties that are yet to resolve the issue of governance. Moreover, brutal disputes also exist among them that are no less dangerous than those of central and southern Iraq.

The preservation of the unity of Iraq under a central government in Baghdad is the guarantor of this peculiarly composed state that suffers from a fragile political and social structure. The disintegration of Iraq will initiate war between all parties, which will be motivated by greed for power and oil as well as historical feuds and personal vendettas. Lengthy wars would be financed by countries in the region and other countries in the world which will each have their own personal interests in the victory of one party over another. According to what we know about the war in Lebanon, there would not have been one victorious party over the other. What would happen in Iraq is that all Iraqis would lose any hope for the future and the future of their children as well as any opportunities for a successful, united and affluent state, the opportunity for which currently exists.

The only system that can achieve unity and continuity in broken Iraq is the democratic electoral system. This is because it ensures the governing of all for all and protects minorities from marginalization. It grants the Iraqis the opportunity to communicate with the rest of world that is ready to help Iraq. However, not one person can help Iraq if the Iraqis are not willing to help themselves and to protect the state project that is presently taking place. This democratic electoral system represents the best system possible through which they can interact.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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