Tag Archives: Arab Spring

The hypocrisy of the Arab Spring as the Kurds are left to fend alone once more

If one was to foretell the collapse of three dictatorial regimes in the Middle East at the end of 2010, he would have been portrayed as somewhat of a psychotic. Such is the sheer velocity of the revolutionary whirlwind that has swept through the Arabian terrain that the question on every lip is not whether hardened dictatorial regimes can fall but who is next to succumb under the potent storm.

As fierce gun battles rage across Tripoli, the regime of Colonel Gaddafi is well and truly over and the Libyan people can look forward to a new historic dawn and the rebuilding of their country. In the case of Libya, it wasn’t as much a revolution as a brutal civil war that won the day.  Nevertheless, the end result with crucial NATO backing was just as symbolic.

A short distance across the Middle Eastern plains lies another embattled country and another dictator desperately trying to cling on to power. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has only remained in power for as long as he has under a rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis and growing protests due to a sense of double standards from the international community.

It is easy to forget that Libyan protests in Benghazi snowballed into a rebel resistance force with the diplomatic, political and military support and encouragement of the Arab League, U.S. and Europe. The Syrian opposition has not been as directly empowered due to geopolitical considerations, with neighbouring Turkey weary about emboldening the Syrian Kurds and with Tehran, who enjoys strong influence over Damascus, Lebanon and Palestinian territories, anxiously watching developments.

For the Kurds, who have been fighting for their own respective rights and preservation of their culture and identity for decades, this is where the sense of hypocrisy becomes more tragic.

For successive decades, Kurds have endured terrible crimes against their population and acts of genocide and persecution, irrespective of the country they inhabit. Rather than receiving assistance or any semblance of acclaim that recent uprisings have attracted, the Kurds were left to persevere alone while much of the world turned a blind eye.

As Turkey joined the mass hailing of the fall of Gadaffi, pledged millions of dollars to Libya and talked of their moral obligation to Somalia, it was at the same time heavily pounding Iraqi Kurdistan territories in chase of the PKK, resulting in mass destruction of countryside and the much regrettable loss of civilian lives.

This only begs the question of why a Turkish life is considered any more sacred than that of a Kurd. Why do Turks mourn the tears of their mothers and loss of Turkish lives with such national tragedy and rejoice at the death of Kurds or celebrate with sheer nationalism with a backdrop of tears from Kurdish mothers?

The Turkish national forces hailed the alleged death of 100 or so PKK rebels after six days of fierce bombing like a victory against the heart of the resistance. But what does the loss of 100 PKK rebels actually entail? Does this bring Turkey closer to ending their decade old battle against the PKK? Sadly, the answer is no and the loss of more lives and further bloodshed only adds to the 40,000 plus running tally that this battle has taken so far.

As Turkey cuts the branches of its problems, the root only grows stronger.

After promising developments under his tenure, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is sadly proving that he will simply succumb to the wishes of ultra-nationalist brigade that has marred ties with the Kurds since the inception of the republic.

For Turks, the Kemalist ideology that underpins the Turkish state has taken mystical proportions. Under this Kemalist shadow, the Kurds have been perceived as a plague of the nationalist doctrine and thorn in the ideological framework of the republic.

Kurds did not choose to be a part of Turkey, Iraq, Syria or Iran as their existence was selfishly carved by imperial powers. Now Kurds who have inhabited this region for thousands of years are ironically perceived as trespassers in their own land.

As Turkey flagrantly violates Iraq’s sovereignty, it doesn’t feel the need to provide any justification other than the preservation of Turkish rights. With every bombing of Kurdistan and the increasing heavy handed tactics in Turkey’s Kurdish regions, Turkey moves further and further away from peace and the gulf between Turks and Kurds only widens.

A life is sacred whether it is that of an Arab, Turk, Iranian or Kurd. Each ethnicity has the right to live in peace, freedom and within its own national identity. However, the plight of the Kurds has been commonly overlooked by the US and European powers. Such a policy of double standards may have been barely forgivable in yesteryears but in this day and age is an absolute dent in the credibility of any UN charter or institution.

The Kurdish cause has been merely been brushed aside as a terrorist issue. The fundamental issue for Turkey is not 5000 or so rebels but 15 million Kurds. With the Kurdish political process effectively stalled and any semblance of peace with the PKK becoming more of a distant reality, this has placed the general Kurdish population into a difficult and untenable corner.

As soon as Kurds talk of national identity or their fundamental rights or as soon as Kurdish politicians threaten to grow in influence, they are cast aside under the PKK camp.

The Kurds want no more than any other nationality – employment, equality and freedom. With the building of solid and genuine bridges across Turkey there is no reason why the Kurds cannot become a celebrated component of Turkey, especially with the carrot of the EU, than the ubiquitous Turkish conundrum.

The Kurds are here to stay and the sooner that they are embraced with equal rights, the sooner that the greater Turkey can truly excel.

The time for armed resistance and bloodshed is over but Ankara must seriously convince the Kurds that they have genuine intent to treat the Kurds with fraternity and equal rights. With Kurds feeling as trapped as ever between the state and the PKK and with channels of dialogue and democratic openings seemingly closed, unfortunately the situation will only worsen as the camps become more entrenched.

Much like the decade old regimes that are fast collapsing across the Middle East, Turkey must not take it position as a regional power for granted. It can ignore the escalating friction with the Kurdish community at its peril.  This is the same country that went to war with the Greeks in 1974 to defend the rights of Turkish Cypriots and has tried to maneuverer as a modern-day Ottoman incarnation through an increasing father-figure role in the Middle East and frequent rhetoric against repression in Israel, Syria and Lebanon, yet who continue to believe that a Kurdish problem does not exist.

As for Iraqi Kurdistan, their precarious existence could not be better illustrated in recent weeks. Repeated shelling and bombings by both Turkey and Iran is worsened with growing tension in disputed territories to the south.

Remarkably, this is happening under the doorstep of the US forces and more than likely such bombings have been made possible with US intelligence. It also begs the question of why Baghdad has been so tentative in condemning the Iranian and Turkish acts of aggression. After all, isn’t Kurdistan supposedly a part of Iraq?

The bombings have an air of warning about them, not just to the PKK but to the Iraqi Kurds. This is a show of firepower and muscle flexing to demonstrate who is in charge as much of a quest to uproot the PKK.

First Published On: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: Various Misc.

For longer suffering Kurds in Syria, the boot is now on the other foot

With protests, government crackdowns and the current crisis for the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad deepening by the day, a confident mood is in the air that the once unthinkable may soon be a reality – the end of the Syrian Baathist dictatorship. Nowhere in Syria will this dawn be heralded more than in Syrian Kurdistan.

The ever-changing Middle Eastern political landscape and the current wave of revolutionary doctrine prompting a bold new democratic era may have predominantly Arab colours based but poses a unique opportunity for Kurds in Syria. If the protests and the reformist euphoria were likened to an Arabic spring, then it can certainly have a Kurdish summer ending.

If the Arabs in Syria had reasons for common frustration, grievances and anger at decades of iron-fisted Baathist control, corruption and lack of freedoms just imagine the Kurds.

The Kurds in Syria, although compromising over 10% of the Syrian population, have been left to the scrapheap of Syrian society and a second class status, without cultural freedoms, political representation, investment, access to basic services and for over 300,000 people not even an official existence on the lands of their ancestors.

While the protests and rallies in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya were dramatic and highly publicised, the Syrian revolt has only slowly reached the coverage it deserves in Western circles. Protests were initially sporadic and localised but a heavy handed response by Assad’s regime coupled with increasing public bitterness and a growing feeling that the Assad’s grip on power is cracking, has added considerable fuel to the Syrian motion.

The Kurds were slow to immerse themselves in the brewing unrest, fearing separatist accusations and a backlash from Arab nationalists, but they are without a doubt the key to the unlocking of the regime. Assad’s government quickly acknowledged this reality with a number of diplomatic and political overtures to the Kurds, including the granting of citizenship to stateless Kurds and promising greater reforms.

When the masses lose fear and have nothing to lose, there is no point of return. As Karl Marx famously proclaimed to the bourgeoisie, “…you have nothing to lose but your chains”, this statement could not be truer for the Kurds.

Having endured decades of repression, systematic discrimination, imprisonments and for a large portion of Kurds not even the basic of citizenship, the time for half-measures or compromise is long gone. The boot is now on the other foot and this is clearly recognised by the Assad government.

With reports of Assad inviting representatives from 12 Kurdish parties for talks, there is no greater indication of the historic leverage that the Kurds now posses.

If the Arabs can bring the Syrian government to its knees, then the Kurds can certainly serve the knock out blow. Assad knows that if he can win over the Kurds and thus a large portion of discontent, then he may be better able to alienate the Arab voices.

Kurds in Syria must not be fooled by symbolic gestures or temporary overtures. The granting of citizenship to stateless Kurds, the end of emergency rule, the release of political prisoners and more cultural rights is not a concession by the Syrian government, it is only giving to the Kurds their basic human rights.

Decades of emotional scars, destruction, repression and systematic denial can not be eroded in mere days. The question for the Kurds, is whether Assad would be promising the same reform and reaching the same hand to the Kurds if he was not on the brink?

Assad is politically wounded and if the Kurds are to apply the dressing and tonic to heal his pain, then this must come at a heavy price.

As the Kurds are approached and courted by contrasting sides of the government and opposition groups, the fundamental goal does not change.

Kurds recently took part in a summit in Turkey amongst other key oppositional leaders, intellectuals and journalists, which was hailed as a success and an iconic stepping stone to uniting opposition forces.

While Arab opposition and discord with successive governments is not new, they have failed to unite under a common voice and vision and importantly have continuously failed to effectively entice Kurds to join the fold. The failure to invite some of the top Kurdish parties to the Antalya conference underpins this mindset.

The Kurds must be clear on their demands and the future they envision for their region. Just as one Arab nationalist may depart, the Kurds would be unwise to assume that only fraternity and union will commence. The price for Kurdish support of either the opposition or the ailing government must come with heavy concessions and the rewriting of the constitution.

The basic demands should include the granting of autonomy, recognition as the second nation in Syria, cultural freedoms and unmolested political representation.

While the US and Western voices of concern and warnings have progressively grown, Washington and European countries have been slow to formulate a policy against Assad and introduce firm measures against the regime to highlight their intent. This is highlighted by the time taken to issue a UN resolution, which is likely to be vetoed by Russia, a key Syrian ally.

In reality, Syria is a sensitive addition to the agenda of the new reformist wave for a number of reasons. At the heart of almost every Middle Eastern political storm or juncture, from Hezbollah in Lebanon, anti-Israeli sentiments, Hamas in Palestinian, insurgency in Iraq and the growing power of Tehran, lays Damascus. A new passage in Syria will turn the pages of history more than has been felt anywhere else in this revolutionary dawn.

As a stable pan-Arab nationalist state, many of the neighbouring Sunni elite particularly Saudi Arabia and Jordan, will be watching with great concern. As with Iraq, Syria has a wide array of sectarian and ethnic mixes and a regime collapse will leave Western and regional powers weary.

Furthermore, Western powers do not have the power of the Arab league and thus intervention will not match that of Libya.

Unlike in Egypt, Syrian security forces which comprise mainly of the Alawite minority are loyalists and Assad continues to have a strong support base across segments of society but particularly the middle classes and those minorities that continue to flourish under his power.

However, as the protests continue to gain momentum and if the Kurds can join in en-masse, even if Assad remains in power, his rule will never be the same again.

There is increasing signs that Turkey, once an arch foe of Syria, is losing patience with the government. However, from a Kurdish perspective the greatest advocates of their rights should be from the KRG, a strategic power a stone throw across the border.

The Kurds have been continuously carved and divided, yet the Kurds often choose to divide themselves into further pieces. A Syrian, Iranian, Turkish or Iraqi Kurd is absolutely no different to any other. Just as their ancestral lands were selfishly carved by imperialist powers, this does not mean you divide hearts, history, culture or heritage.

The KRG must place the Syrian government under pressure to reconcile with the Kurds and ensure the Kurds achieve their elusive rights. The KRG should represent a figure of hope and a role model for the Syrian Kurds not a distant passive brother. What good is a flourishing Kurdistan region in Iraq, if Kurds elsewhere continuously suffer?

Reports that KRG President Massaud Barzani refused to meet the Syrian Foreign Minister in Iraq, on an apparent mission to seek KRG help in reigning in the Syrian Kurds, is a welcome step.

It waits to be seen whether Assad’s plans to meet with the Kurds in addition to establishing a national dialogue committee to appease opposition forces, will make any significant inroads in curtailing the Syrian revolutionary machine, however, the Kurds are in an unprecedented driving seat and anything less than second best and their full entitlement of rights may see them miss out on a great historic opportunity.

First Published On: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: eKurd, Various Misc.

The echoes of Iraq in Libya and setting the precedence for foreign intervention

Weary from the Iraqi lesson, the US and its allies finally intervene in Libya amidst a growing humanitarian crisis. However with a violent crackdown on protests spreading fast in Syria and Yemen, where does this leave the boundaries for foreign intervention?

One often learns lessons from his past experiences while others become scarred from past events and Western governments are no different. After the acrimonious fallout from the second Gulf War in 2003 which saw the overthrow of Saddam and threw US foreign policy firmly under the international spotlight, the Washington administration has often worked hard to repair its foreign policy image and rebuild its ties with the Muslim community. 

So when the next burning item on the agenda of the new Middle Eastern revolution that has rocked the regional balance in spectacular fashion became the 42 year old rule of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, the hesitant nature of Western intervention particularly that of the US became evident.

In many ways, Libya has echoes of Iraq and Iraq has somewhat clouded intervention in Libya. Both countries had brutal dictators that ruled for decades and violently suppressed opposition, both posses immense amounts of oil, both leaders had a love-hate relationship with the West and ultimately both became subjects of no-fly zones and international sanctions. However, while the US and its allies sat idly in 1991 as the Kurdish and Shiite uprisings were brutally crushed in the aftermath of the first Gulf War, they could not simply watch in vain as Gaddafi’s forces relentlessly attacked rebel held towns and before that opened fire on protesters in the cold light of day.

UN resolution 1973 was finally passed weeks after the initial revolt began in Libya, with the likes of the UK, France and US mindful of the escalating humanitarian situation but unsure just how to sell intervention to the wider international community. The common theme was the need to protect civilians and this was the overriding basis for the backing of the resolution from member states. The Western powers that backed action were weary of avoiding comparisons to the Iraqi invasion of 2003 and as such distanced themselves as much as possible from the idea of occupation or direct intervention in the battle between pro-Gaddafi forces and the rebel movement.

As violence and bloodshed is fast spreading in Syria as Bashar al-Assad’s regime tries to contain rising protests by force, the question for America and the West after resolution 1973 is how do you define the boundaries for intervention? Would Syria be any different if the protests snowballed into a large resistant movement (which may become a firm reality if the largely disenfranchised Kurdish minority join the uprising) and the civilian population were attacked?

As such, the wording of the resolution on Libya essentially afforded a wide range of options, short of a ground invasion to protect the civilians. Support from Arab powers and the Arab League was of fundamental importance, there was no chance that the likes of the US would take action against a Muslim and Arab state without greater regional backing this time round.

No doubt owed to the tainted image that the US invasion received from the Iraqi invasion, the question of who would command the enforcement of the no-fly zones has been  somewhat of a hot-potato with the US keen to take a back seat in the operations and hand-over command without delay. Much like the response to the Egyptian uprising, the Washington administration has been at times slow to respond to escalating situations in the Middle East whilst been unclear what they want to achieve.

There is no doubt that the overall aim of the current mission is to ultimately see the overthrow of Gaddafi, even if the West has persistently dismissed any semblance of suggestions that they were aiming for “regime change”. However, it is clear from the heavy air strikes and missile attacks on Gaddafi defence sites and armour that it is hoped that Gaddafi’s forces would be paralysed enough to allow the ill-prepared and ill-trained rebels a chance to regroup, strike back and oust the regime.

In truth much of the actions of the Western powers can be masked under the pretext of protecting civilians, and it may well reach a stage where the rebels are directly armed.

However, under the current pretext of events, there are a number of permutations that may come to light. Firstly, there is the nightmare scenario for most that rebels fail to capitalise on Western air-strikes and eventually Gaddafi clings on to power, secondly there is the possibility of a civil war that rages for months or years that will undoubtedly cripple much of Libya and destabilise the region and finally there is the increasing likelihood of a de-facto partition of Libya as a result of any stalemate.

Both scenarios make anxious reading for the West, with a continuation of economic sanctions likely to cripple the people more than regime itself. The West know from the Iraqi experience that sanctions and no-fly zones do no always work against desperate dictators intent on holding on to power. Iraq suffered 12 years of sanctions and yet only the very people that the West is trying to protect at the current time suffered.

The actions of the West in the next week or so will speak volumes. Days of gruelling negotiations over handing command to NATO were only partially successful. Ironically, NATO is an alliance led by UK, France and the US anyway. However, by going under the NATO umbrella with the only Muslim nation of Turkey as a critical piece of the puzzle, it adds broader strategic weight to the operations. 

The burning question is what is next for the Middle East and how will the West subsequently react to events that unfold under the international eye. The view of Arab states on how they prefer the Middle Eastern tide to unfold is not uniform. Some Arab powers would prefer a weakened Gaddafi to stay in power rather than create more political vacuums in the region, while some Arab countries with their own restive populations and who have suffered anti-government protests would have their own reservations in mind.

A great example is Syrian pan-Arab nationalist regime, it is very unlikely that the major Arab powers would support direct action against his regime.

At least for Libya, the people will have the limited consolation that the West did not just standby and finally took action although somewhat belatedly. In contrast to Iraq of 1991, where the people were encouraged to rise up and take matters into their own hand, but at their crucial time of need the West turned a blind eye. The 2003 invasion essentially came 12 years too late for the people and remarkably after decades of barbaric rule where opposition was frequently crushed and genocide and repression was rife, many people despised the US intervention in Iraq or criticised it as not having a moral or legal basis.

The lesson for the West is timing, realising that sanctions and no-fly zones are not enough to topple a regime and ensuring that intervention is marketed well. This is why the West this time around was careful in the wording of the resolution and in publicly setting their overall objective.

Ironically, the US led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan was designed to achieve the very thing that the people of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya seek today, more freedom, change, liberalisation and democracy. However, the West can not pick and choose which uprisings they support based on the regime in question and their strategic objectives.

Protests in Yemen were violently suppressed while there have been brewing opposition in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and particularly Syria. The tides of change will only get stronger if Gaddafi’s regime falls, and the next country to be swept by the tidal waves is yet to be seen. It will not only be regimes that change in this oil rich part of the world, strategic alliances, the regional power balance and the even the sectarian balance will be affected. Take Iran who voiced their great concern as the protests from their Shiite brethren in Bahrain were put down.

 Too many changes, too fast and without a clear Western policy on guiding and supporting these “new” states or clear criteria for the need to intervene, may see the region in further turmoil than enter a new era of prosperity and democracy. 

 The US and its allies are needed to play a crucial and productive role in the Middle East more than ever.

Protests in Yemen were violently suppressed while there have been brewing opposition inBahrain,Saudi Arabia and particularly Syria. The tides of change will only get stronger if Gaddafi’s regime falls, and the next country to be swept by the tidal waves is yet to be seen. It will not only be regimes that change in this oil rich part of the world, strategic alliances, the regional power balance and the even the sectarian balance will be affected. Take Iran who voiced their great concern as the protests from their Shiite brethren in Bahrain were put down.

 Too many changes, too fast and without a clear Western policy on guiding and supporting these “new” states or clear criteria for the need to intervene, may see the region in further turmoil than enter a new era of prosperity and democracy. 

 The US and its allies are needed to play a crucial and productive role in the Middle East more than ever.

First Published On: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: Online Opinion, eKurd, Various Misc.

In the midst of a new Middle Eastern storm, Kurdistan needs evolution not revolution


A socio-political earthquake has arrived in the Middle East that threatens to bury a number of regimes and rulers with it.

The notion of transformation and democratisation in the Middle East has been a long-established taboo that has seemingly been smashed in a matter of weeks.

Much like the last wave of global political revolution that swept the world with the collapse of Communism in the early 90’s, the newest political hurricane has come in the Middle East with the dramatic ousting of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power providing the catalyst for change and popular uprisings.

When the majority combine, there is no greater weapon than the notion of people power. No amount of tanks or artillery can save a government when the masses relentlessly rise against them.

Emboldened by their neighbours, the current Egyptian protests and uprising gathers momentum with every passing day. After well over two weeks of fierce battles with police, clashes with pro-government supporters and emphatic anti-government rallies, the Egyptian people simply refuse to accept anything less than the end of the reign of Hosni Mubarak now. After much pressure finally Hosni Mubarak stepped down last Friday and Egyptian military took power.

Prior to Mubarak resignation the much pressurised government had already made a number of concessions and met with opposition groups in recent weeks but with an unabated thirst across the social spectrum and a national desire that has given them an unprecedented upper hand, the people refused to buckle.

Mubarak has had a tight grip on Egyptian society for over 30 years, with a state of emergency law that is still in force today. Politician opposition has been met with little tolerance, while corruption has been rife and freedoms have been restricted.

The successful “Jasmine revolution” of Tunisia has led to many a regional government looking over their shoulders. The threat of large scale protests and social upheaval has already seen some pre-emptive concessions in Jordan and Yemen, while anti-government rallies have been witnessed in Algeria.

Ironically, even as flag-bearers for democratisation and liberation in the region, such change was not necessarily embraced with open arms by the US at the beginning. As the protests gathered momentum and the will of the Egyptian people grew stronger, so did the calls of the Washington administration for controlled and more immediate change. There was certain reluctance to call for the removal of Mubarak altogether and later after Mubarak agreed not to stand for re-election in September, for him to leave office immediately.

The stance and support to regimes such as Mubarak, demonstrated the double-barrelled nature of US policy. As much as the need to stand against repressive regimes in the Middle East in the Cold War era was offset against the threat of communism, in the same way inconsistent American policy and stance towards the democratization of the Middle East today is offset against the new threat of Islamist radicalism.

The US is a long-time ally of Mubarak where they provided billions of dollars of aid and relied on his authority to maintain a sense of regional equilibrium. Israel is another party that eagerly anticipates how the new winds of change may affect its position in the Middle East and the Palestinian peace process. Like the US, it would have preferred for its relative ally in Mubarak to stay in power.

After all, change can be a loose term especially in the Middle East. A popular revolution happened in Iran in 1979, which the West even today try to reverse in some form or another.

The wave of change and optimism that is sweeping the region is just what is needed to shake age old mentalities and prevailing systems of government. The great fear for the West is to now ensure that vacuums are not filled by Islamists or the likes of Iran.

One thing is certain, the changes and social sentiment in Egypt are not reversal. The fear factor of people fed up with the status-quo has all but evaporated. With the advent of globalization, the world is exponentially smaller and the power of mass media means that events such as those in Egypt where thousands speak out simply can not be ignored.

The after-shock of the past four weeks in the Middle East will be felt for generations to come. Much like the slogan of Karl Marx that underpinned Communism, indeed the people “have nothing to lose but their chains”.

The tipping point in Tunisia and Egypt has been the stark degradation in social and economic welfare. High unemployment, soaring inflation and a lack of hope is the icing on the cake that has come with common repression, corruption and state control. When people deem that they have nothing to live for, they simply have nothing to lose.

Such economic conditions are not unique to Egypt and have plagued the likes of Yemen, Syria and Jordan. People are unwilling to endue suffering indefinitely when their governments and the minority upper class reap the rewards of their fate. People are less inclined to accept silence and are more knowledge in terms of demands and expectations.

Events in Egypt sparked a political row in Kurdistan when the Gorran opposition movement called for the dissolution of the current Kurdish government amongst other demands.

Whilst there are certainly many strides left to make in Kurdistan, democracy is much more advanced and the region simply can not be compared to Egypt. However, this doesn’t mean that the establish political elite in Kurdistan rest on their laurels and breath a sigh of relief.

Kurdistan is need of reform and this is by the own admission of the current governance. In addition to more transparency, advancement of independent media and a fight against corruption, the KRG needs to ensure the right economic foundations are in place.

While the economy in Kurdistan is growing at a rapid pace, their needs to be a firm eye on the ever growing rich-poor divide and the establishment of a more liberal market place. The rising cost of living in Kurdistan is an evident danger with ever increasing land and property prices. An unhealthy proportion of the public rely directly upon the government for employment and their day-to-day living, and this always risks becoming the basis of a future backlash.

While the demands by the Gorran movement were unrealistic and clearly designed to stoke anger and strong reactions from the ruling parties, any productive and healthy governance needs the right pressure socially and politically to proactively change. While the Kurdish government still enjoys strong public support, this can not be taken for granted. The main political parties realize that as much as they have a strong grounding for support, there are also plenty of those who oppose the government and could potentially cause political and social havoc.

At the end of the day, what Kurdistan needs is evolution and not a revolution. The region has made tremendous strides in a short time period but this is not excuse to stagnate, devolve and not to expand the democratic experience.

In any true democracy, it is the people that should continually pressurize the government for continual improvements. They are elected by the people to serve the people. Governments and political parties should adapt and change towards the people and common society and not the other way around.

As for the greater Middle East, the winds of change will not necessarily herald a peaceful and productive transition to a new reality. It will take much time and guidance to ensure the right kind of government and legislation takes the place of those that depart.

As we have witnessed in Iraq, democracy is not a “one size fits all” product that can be easily applied in midst of a legacy of repression.

Change will take time in the Middle East, but the current wave is a fresh breeze in the midst of mass repression and totalitarianism that has become the by-product of the region.

First Published On: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: eKurd, Various Misc.