Although the Arab Spring Revolutions started out as a chance for a better future in a region dominated by populous poverty and all-powerful self-serving governments, the refusal of leaders to sacrifice their power and privilege has resulted in civil war, which has afforded violent extremists the opportunity to spread like wildfire. Recalling the American Revolution started as a political movement in 1765 before escalating to war in 1775 with the Declaration of Independence and lasted eight long, bloody years, the Arab Spring Revolutionaries must not lose hope.
Recognizing the Middle East faces the threat of modern weapons, while it is an entire region fighting a series of conflicts, the Muslim world must look to America’s Independence Day and rally each other around their common goal. Middle Easterners, as well as all those others fighting for a better life, should follow the lead of America’s Founding Fathers. Where there was plenty to divide the Colonists, it was their common interests that helped unite them. Following the example of Sunni and Shia Muslims in Kuwait, who chose to take the usual step of joining together in prayer after the recent bombing of a Shia Mosque, even the intense divisions created by something as personal as religion can be overcome.
Clearly, terrorism, e.g. the Islamic State, is a major threat to Syria, Iran, and the rest of the Middle East. Because governments often distort the nature of insurgents to their fit agendas, it can be difficult to distinguish between revolutionaries and the threat of terrorism. The American Revolutionaries sought a better life through better governance and fought to build a Country for all. The Islamic State fights for itself and the chance to impose their beliefs and rule over others. Like many wars, the Islamic State’s war on the Arab world is about destroying the current governments in order to take their place as the oppressors of the Muslim Peoples. Where the Islamic State has continually demonstrated it is far more brutal and oppressive than the current Middle Easter powers, it is easy to incorrectly see the conflict as a choice between the status quo and something worse.
The Arab Spring Revolutions started, because the Middle East was filled with ineffective, dysfunctional, self-serving, and unresponsive governments. Looking at the Kurdish Peshmerga, they appear more than willing and able to the fight Islamic State on behalf of the whole region, yet people like the Turkish President, who pledged he would not allow a Kurdish state to exist, continue to fight the old feuds instead of the war they are losing. As a NATO member, the existence of a Kurdish nation would entitle Turkey to NATO support, if the Kurds were to eventually attack Turkey, thus their fears are irrational and rooted in the oppressive bigotry that drives many of the perpetual Middle Eastern conflicts.
Moreover, those struggling with their own revolutions must remember the goal is not just peace and security. The objective is also better governance through representation and the freedom from oppression in all its forms.
"We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." -Benjamin Franklin
Independence Day is not just America’s birthday. It is the anniversary for the modern era of democracy, which started the democratization process across the globe 229 years ago. The Fourth of July also marks the historic moment when America’s Founding Fathers decided ending the oppression of the British Monarch and fulfilling the human need for freedom was worth more than the risk of war and their deaths at the hands of their oppressors. When considering the myriad of conflicts and the growing number of people oppressed by their own governments today, it is important to remember freedom and a better life do not come cheap or easy.
Unfortunately, the steady breakdown of fledgling democratic institutions in Russia has culminated in the Ukraine Crisis. China’s rise as a global power has done more to empower its increasingly aggressive and oppressive government than the Chinese People, which has created a number of potential flash points for a massive global conflict. Meanwhile, Europe and the United States are plagued by the same economic woes that have left the Peoples of Africa and South American trapped in the oppression of deeply entrenched poverty. The Middle East is, of course, faced with utter chaos.
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