Dr . Gawrych in the 100th anniversary of Sykes-Picot: Federalization is the solution for Iraq and Syria
MEY AL SAYEGH
WRITER & SENIOR INTERNATIONAL NEWS EDITOR-
19 May 2016
On the Sykes-Picot agreement hundreth anniverssary, that was reached to On May 19, 1916,the collapse of Central authority in both Syria and Iraq, coupled with the rising of non state actors , have given rise to much speculation about the future of the Levant ,and the end of at least some of the states formed after World War 1.
The agreement was born after talks that took place in Cairo ,and then moved to St-Petersburg in Russia. Representatives of Britain and France secretly divided most of the Arab lands, under the rule of the Ottoman Empire into British and French spheres of influence.
Tsarit Russia were represented by Diplomat Sergei Sazonov, but when it fell in the hands of Bolshevik rebels in 1917 , it was excluded from being part of this agreement. Nowadays , it seems that United States of America and Russian Federation have replaced Britain and France in trying to shape the region.
Dr .George v. Gawrych , an expert in Middle East &Military History at Baylor University-USA said: “Russian president Vladmir Putin will continue to play his role in the Middle East and defend his leverage in Syria as much as he can” .
Dr . Gawrych who reassed the Sykes-Picot Agreement After 100 Years in a webinar organized by Hydropolitics Academy in Ankara
on May 12 , told “Aljoumhouria “ newsaper that “Putin and Russia has a role to play that we cannot ignore “, recommending to engage Iran and Russia to resolve the conflict in Syria in the long term.
He added that Putin helped Assad regime to regain territories and he might use his leverage in Syria to push more towards winning more in Ukraine and Crimea.
Dr . Gawrych compared that to the stance of Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu who used to focus on Iran and distracte attention from the Palestinian Israeli conflict.He said: “Putin uses his leverage in Syria and put boots on the ground, and he can play the two cards and enhance his Strategic presence”.
Gawrych recalled the main events that happened in the Arab world as a result of Sykes-Picot agreement and highlighted mainly on how Britain promised jewish of establishing a national home for them in Palestine ,and its issuance in 1917 Balfour Declaration.
He clarified how the British facilitated free migration of Jews to Palestine and enabled them to set infrastructure of a state, to make it attractive to jewish.
Jews were supported to establish Soft Defense forces to protect ,and underground army under the British nose, and were helped to develop political and economic infrastructure of their community.
Dr.Gawrych reminded of Ethnic cleansing of Palestine, how British helped in increasing he number of the jews to 80 % in comparison to 20% for Arabs . The Arabs was defeated in 1948 and 1967 and Israel occupied in the aftermath West bank and Gaza Strip.
After 1967 war ,late Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin won elections in 1977 , and expanded settelements in Gaza and West Bank.Later on, when Yasser Arafat , the late president of the Palestinian National Authority signed Oslo agreement in 1994 with Israelis , Palestinians were given a sort of authority in their land.
In the near past, Palestinian factions were divided btween Liberation Organization and Hamas and what is going in Syria and Iraq distarcted attention from the Palestinian cause.
Sykes-Picot crushed hope for Arab State. In Syria , the French supported minorities and mainly Alawites.
Syria was subdivided into the state of Syria, with the main towns of Aleppo, Hama, Homs and Damascus; the mountainous region of the Jabal al-Druze, the Sanjak of Latakia and the Sanjak of Alexandretta, in theory part of Syria, but in practice separate and subject to a special autonomous form of government.
In Lebanon, French supported Christians who dominated the political scene, while Muslims asked for power Sharing and then spillover of Palestinians to Lebanon lead to eruption of Civil war and lebanese state collapsed.
In Iraq, “United sates did a huge mistake when we left Iraq an power was in the hands of former prime minister Nouri Al Maliki, and allowing him to misuse power to use Shite and ignite sectarian tensions, and that was not a wise policy, Dr.Gawrych said.
Dr.Gawrych recalled Iraq Saddam Hussein era and the war with Iran and invasion of Kuwait, and the fall of the regime later on. He said: “The absence of Justice,Poor education and unemployment in the Arab world lead to Arab spring in Tunisia ,Egypt , Libya, yemen, and then Syria”.
Furthermore, Iran increased its leverage in the Middle East and the rising Of Hezbollah in lebanon and the difficulty of dealing with Iran , Because we cannot forsee The mullahs' Rule will change a lot after the Iranian Nuclear deal.
Amid this context , Dr.Gawrych saw the arise of Islamic State. He said:” there is a turbulent desire for transformation in the Arab world , and the difference between the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is that ,Isis tried to reach to territorial government by Foreign fighters who joined it as a result of their frustrations.
Today we are witnessing new dynamics in the Middle east ,it will be difficult that the borders of Iraq and Syria will stay the same as drawn iN sykes-picot, in Dr.Gawrych opinion.
Dr . Gawrych concluded that is difficult to predict the future of Syria , sectarian violence will increase and I recommend that Arab nationalism can be applied in a similar way to what unfolded in Turkey Ataturk , and Islam must be used to fight extremism and to consider what ISIS is doing , it is not part of it.
And if we take into consideration semi-autonomous canton established by Syrian –Kurds along the Turkish border ,and the spread of Defacto powers based on weapons and emergence of forces on ground , “the best solution for Iraq and Syria is federalization”as Dr . Gawrych told “Aljoumhouria”. He added what is needed is to spread the wealth in the Gulf and to invest more in infrastructure ,and promote structural changes in mentality of leadership in the Middle East in general .