The views expressed in this op-ed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SyriacPress.
By Suphi Aksoy
When it comes to the Middle East, international great powers have always set their policies in accordance with their interests. In the absence of broad legitimacy from their own citizens, the authoritarian states in the region, status-quo regimes, and dictators have tried to keep up with these policies to survive. The resulting oppressive practices have flouted democratic movements, human values and rights, the rule of law and justice. Minorities are denied their national identity. Because of this interest-based system, the situation of the oppressed, the weak, the workers, and those groups who adhere to different beliefs and cultures is not sufficiently discussed and their cause is denied effective public exposure.
World powers do not really care about the suffering, massacres, oppression, and violence suffered by Syriac-Chaldean-Assyrians in the Nineveh Plain, by Yazidis in Shingal, Kurds in Afrin, women all over the whole Middle East, Christians, Alevis, intellectuals, and ordinary people in everyday life.
No one is stopping the daily mass executions by the Mullahs in Iran because for those in power, and thus able to take a decisive stance against these crimes against humanity, such a stand would be contrary to the interests in their relationship with Iran. The bitter truth is that the executed intellectuals, ‘disobedient’ women, and human rights activists mean nothing to those in power. Iran’s economic wealth is what really concerns them; the oil, raw materials, commodities, and Iran’s consumer market of 80 million souls. As long as this interest-based relationship continues, violence, persecution, and barbarism will continue in Iran. So far, no effective obstacle has been raised against the mullahs selling their religious propaganda of protecting the Islamic Republic of Iran against the “infidels”; the Mullahs are allowed to continue to put people to sleep with lies, intimidate with military violence, and burn down places and turn them into bloodbaths.
Today’s injustice in Iraq is the continuation of the injustice of the great powers to divide Iraq among themselves. The excessive suffering by Syriacs-Chaldeans-Assyrians, Yazidis and Turkmen is ignored. Those who withdrew their armed forces during ISIS’s genocidal attacks and left these peoples to die and in captivity of ISIS, are taking a similar approach today. They try to consolidate their sovereignty and interests over the heads of these peoples on all fronts.
Healing the wounds of the Nineveh Plain and Shingal is not something in their plans, morality does not stop them, their conscience is not hindered. The parties and structures that hold power in Iraq will also kill the brothers and sisters of their own religion and sect. And it will not be the first time they destroy indigenous peoples by violent methods. Those who try to market themselves as strong and useful to world powers, no matter who, consider and worship those powers as a guarantor of their interests. They have never shied away from violence and destruction. Humans are objects and human rights are not sacred to them. Only their interests count.
After Saddam’s dictatorship in Iraq was overthrown, everyone expected democracy, freedom, justice, and peace to come to Iraq. However, dozens of Saddam’s came instead – fraudsters, thieves, ISIS, and spies and proxies for regional and international forces. They all came instead. Nobody in Iraq asks and cares about the oppressed. Those who rule make the laws for their own benefit. They share Iraq’s wealth based on their position and share in power. Awaiting resolution for the disputed areas under Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, the people of Kirkuk, the Nineveh Plain, and Shingal are always fearful of new massacres and demographic changes. The demands of the people living in the disputed areas are not taken into account.
This fear is not only felt among the people of Iraq, but also among the peoples of Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey. The cause of this fear and these dangers are the policies of the ruling regime in Turkey. The Turkish government follows a neo-Ottoman strategy and intervenes in many different areas in many countries in the region. Lately, however, Turkish military and political interventions have started to slow down as the rulers in Turkey infringed on the policies and interest of world powers.
We see world powers now warning those who dominate the government of Turkey: “To the extent you represent my interests, we are ok with you intimidating people in Turkey and cut their ties in closely linked regions. And we are also ok with you cracking down on the opposition as much as you want. However, if you go against our interests, we will isolate you. And we will revive the opposition you cracked down on.” This is why the Turkish government is confused and uncertain. Those who did not speak when it was the time to speak out, are at work. It is not clear yet who wants what.
Turkish society and the world community will witness many U-turns by Turkey’s rulers in the coming months. In this vague and ambiguous period, it is paramount that the democratic forces and peoples in Turkey organize their energy, knowledge, and public duties and create a new path and set a new horizon. Because the conditions are there now for the oppressed to take down the status quo rulers and denialists in Turkey and the Middle East.
The world powers are preparing to liquidate in the near future many oppressive structures and dictators that they still support and keep in power today, as they did in the past. Whether the impending liquidation and rise of social movements is called Iran, Turkey or another country, we will see next spring.