Middle East Peace 2016
By Massoud Aref
Any attempt to redraw boundaries in the Middle East will exacerbate and amplify the existing conflicts in the area (Iraqi Kurds’ leader says redraw boundaries, 23 January). Further integration, rather than dis-integration, may be the cure. In a narrow sense, the “caliphate”, in its attempt to unify, may be considered to be more forward-looking than all the nationalist groups in the area that are still engaged in battles and wars of previous centuries.
If we try to imagine a peaceful and prosperous future for the area, we would possibly see a confederation of states closely engaged in trade and cooperating in management of their resources on the European model.
As a start, present day Syria and Iraq combined would have a more balanced composition of ethnic and confessional groups. These groups would feel safer in their compatible plurality, and unity under a secular umbrella. The urge for land-grab and ethnic cleansing would be removed. A unified Kurdish state within the confederation would strengthen the idea of unity within diversity and would not be deemed as a big threat by Turkey and Iran.
This more integrated model could provide a more stable basis for political and economic development. It would reduce conflicts of interest and provide a hopeful vision for the younger generation that sees its salvation in the European approach.