Federalism best solution for our East

Muhammad Arslan Ali
Latest posts by Muhammad Arslan Ali (see all)

Our East is still groaning from the chaos that has afflicted all aspects of life for nearly a century, in terms of economic, political, diplomatic, social, cultural, and external and internal levels as well. Externally, what was required was not achieved socially and popularly, but rather what was in the interest of those in power sitting on the delusion of leadership that did not ultimately save them from becoming mere thieves, corrupt, and tools for the other, but with the degree of a head of state. As for the internal level, feel free to talk about the deeds of the leaders including killing, torture, disappearance, displacement and getting people distracted searching for a livelihood under the pretext of resistance and opposition and silencing those who oppose them.

On both internal and external levels, our leaders and presidents later made the Arab Spring produce the worst opposition that humanity has ever seen throughout its history, except for what happened during the Ottoman occupation of the region for nearly four and a half centuries, as if our presidents did not get rid of the Ottoman occupation and kept their mentality in numbing and stereotyping societies and peoples at the expense of their remaining in power. In this regard, the best tool they used and still use to impose their authority on the peoplesis religion and nationalism, as if they were Ottoman governors, but they are contemporaries who speak Arabic, Turkish or Persian and call for their nationalism while keeping the essence as is. This is what happened in Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Iran in particular, and some other countries.

What we live now did not differ much from what our ancestors lived during the Ottoman corruption. There is no difference between them except in language, corruption has not changed and even the meaning of subordination, subservience and humiliation remained the same. What happened after the first and second world wars, the formation of dispersed and scattered states fighting with each other over land or wealth here or there, as if we were living tribalism in the dress of the nation-state. Indeed, those states that were formed on the basis of monolithic centralism became more difficult to live in and started to suffocate peoples and societies in their laws, constitutions, judicial, legislative and executive institutions, all in the name of independence, national sovereignty, sacred political borders, sacred knowledge and the holy forever leader.

This national administration of the states made peoples live in a cultural and sectarian tragedy fighting and conflicting with each other according to the principle of preference for this component or for that sect, while the countries sink amid absence of the societal dissonance that reached its climax in the last decade, so we experienced the chaos of the fall of one nation-state after another.

Confining the state in a city and the whole state in a person, who rules, as if we were a shepherd in a tribe under the name of preserving national sovereignty, was nothing but a scarecrow used in order to force us  accepting the reality as absolute truth about which the one can’t think outside the box that they created for us in the name of the homeland.

Preserving the homeland, which means belonging and loyalty to everyone who has a mindis the basis of any social structure this cannot be debated because it is one of the axioms that every person in our East believes in. However, the form of this state cannot be considered one of the sacred things that cannot be approached, because the form of the state is the main determinant of a set of relations and laws specified in the constitution that is compatible with the desires of society, and it is not fixed but changing according to the circumstances of each state and also according to time and place. I mean, centralization is not the one that definitely protects the homeland, but the freedom, dignity and sense of citizenship of societies are the first line of defense for every nation that is exposed to any internal or external attacks.

Consequently, we may be able to think of another type of state administration away from the term very centralized. Perhaps federalism is the form of administration that is more compatible with the reality of our multi-ethnic and multi-ethnic region of ethnicities and sects. When people and sects express themselves with their language and culture in their state, of course, it is an element of strength for the state and not a weakness. Distribution of powers does not mean in any way weakness as much as it means diminishing the power of the state at the expense of societies, as it is known that the less authority  the state has, the greater the area of ​​democracy wherever it pursues this method. The UAE is a federal state and is now considered one of the strongest countries in the region in terms of peaceful coexistence and societal development, whether economic, cultural or political as well as the European Union and many countries that have a form of federal rule in the world.

Perhaps federalism is the solution to what we are suffering now from the state of dispersion and chaos striking the countries of the region, some of which still insist on centralization and the exclusion of others. Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and even Palestine cannot solve their problems and issues that brought them to today situation with the same mentality of the last century and to restore the state’s centralization. Perhaps thinking about federalism as a form of administrative rule which is the way out of this quagmire in which we are still wandering and looking for a straw to save us from drowning.

Certainly, the Palestinian-Israeli problem cannot be solved with the logic of the two-state solution, because that will certainly be at the expense of the Palestinians. It is possible that a federal or even a nonfederal solution could be contemplated to develop a solution to this tragedy that has continued for more than half a century are the same applies to the Kurdish problem, if it is in Syria, Iraq, Turkey or Iran. It is not possible to think of establishing a Kurdistan state in light of the existing, exclusionary mentality in which no one recognizes everyone? Not everyone recognizes everyone. The ideal solution is to shift the form of administration of these countries from highly centralized towards a federal administrative and political system of government. Certainly, powers are distributed among the parties while sovereign matters remain in the hands of the center, including defense and economy. Of course, with the presence of dozens of peoples and nationalities who have lived on their lands for thousands of years, including Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Turkmen and Amazighs, the state or the Federal Republic could be the group for these peoples to coexist with each other instead of fighting as is happening now.

A proposal merely to think outside the box about what we suffer from crises and disasters in all respects, perhaps this proposition is merely an attempt to discuss it among intellectuals, instead of going back to the past and searching for solutions and applying them as they are. Neither religious nor nationalist salafihas been the solution to the issues and problems of the region, peoples and societies since the formation of states until now. Rather, it is necessary to think about contemporary forms and ways of life that are worthy of the history of the region and its peoples.

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