Dissecting The Middle East Monolith – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

The Middle East is not a monolithic region where the same solutions can be applied to what we view as identical problems of governance plaguing one country and another. While a dictator may be best for one country, democracy may be best for another.  Where one country needs, wants and is ready for regime change to happen, and needs foreign intervention to make that reality, another country needs, wants and is ready for regime change to happen, but can and must bring that about themselves with little to no (visible) outside influence whatsoever.  Where the last hope for one country’s mere survival is for America’s leaders to understand that she’s worn out her welcome, leave and go back home, the last hope for another country’s survival would be American intervention.  In the Middle East, one size doesn’t fit all .

Iran needs a complete and total regime change.  Absolutely nothing less will suffice. The Supreme Leader, the President, the Ayatollahs, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) are all a package deal, and all must be replaced entirely for the Iranian people to usher in democracy.  And unlike most other countries in the region, Iran is absolutely ready for democratic reform.  Or a better way to say it would be the Iranian people are ready for democracy, as well as — if not more so — than any other country in the region.  I truly believe that just as the masses helped usher in the Islamic Revolution in 1979, radically changing the country overnight, the masses could help usher in a democratic revolution that would again radically change the entire country overnight.  However, unlike many other countries in the region, the Iranian people unquestionably need outside help for regime change to become manifest reality, as this is not merely ousting an evil dictator, one man, but replacing an entire network of corrupt people whose ongoing existence would be meaningless at best should the regime be deposed.

Egypt, just like Iran, is absolutely ready for democracy.  However, in stark contrast to Iran, regime change in Egypt needs to be — and indubitably can be with a bit of discreet outside assistance and support — brought about from within Egypt, by the Egyptian people. We should absolutely be supporting, while not dictating to, pro-democracy civic groups and political parties in Egypt.

Jordan needs us to support their Kingdom’s monarchy.  While those of us who wholeheartedly believe that democracy is the best form of governance humankind has ever known may find it difficult to understand how a country can be happy and best off with a King (or, for that matter, any other type of non-democratically elected leader and system of governance), it nevertheless is true in some countries and cultures around the world.  A stable Jordan is absolutely in the best interest of America and the region as a whole, and the current King of Jordan, King Abdullah, is one of the most reasonable and beloved leaders in the region.  He needs our support to keep Jordan from falling off the cliff into the abyss.

Iraq is a huge mess.  There is just no other way to say it.  I personally believe that the creation of a truly independent Kurdistan is the best thing that can happen in the geographical area that has been defined as Iraq since the British drew lines in the sand, bringing together what had historically been three separate countries into one in April 1920 with the British Mandate of Mesopotamia.  More so than any other people group in the Middle East region, the Kurds are America’s friends.  The Kurds are one of the best examples of what moderate Islam looks like when it proliferates through an entire people group.  The Kurds understand, more than any other people group and ethnicity in the entire Middle East region, that not holding grudges and extending forgiveness from past iniquities is necessary in order to move forward peacefully with others.  The Kurds have the aptitude to create a nation in which people from disparate ethnic and religious group in modern-day Iraq — Sunni and Shia Muslim, Christian, Yazidi, Circassian, Assyrian and Arab — would be able to live freely, with equal rights.  Additionally, the creation of Kurdistan would create a buffer zone between Iran and Iraq, helping to cut off the ongoing negative Iranian influence inside of the country. The rest of Iraq, south of what is made into Kurdistan, must be left to sort itself out.  This may seem harsh, given the current state of things inside of the country.  However, there is nothing America’s ongoing military involvement inside Iraq can accomplish.  Absolutely nothing at all.

Syria will not know peace until the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) are gone from terrorizing the country, and Russian warplanes quit bombing schools and hospitals full of innocent civilians.  And neither of these evil atrocities will cease to happen until Bashar al-Assad is forcibly removed from power.  End of story.  Period.  But when this happens, Syria will most likely not be in a place to immediately bring about stability herself due to how the war has affected the country.  There will likely be a large number of refugees who return to Syria from Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, which in and of itself will create some fairly difficult problems that will need immediate, well-prepared responses to make certain they do not become long-term humanitarian nightmares.  Additionally, the large level of distrust that existed before the war began between the country’s many different ethnic and religious people groups has undoubtedly been exacerbated by the past years of war and will require strong, but benevolent leaders to help guide Syria’s rebuilding.

Dictators and dominions, republics and realpolitik, all have a place in today’s incredibly convoluted Middle East.  Truly, one size doesn’t fit all.