The Future of Iraq and the Middle East

The war against Iraq was driven by vested rather than moral and humanitarian interests. The US-led forces should therefore leave Iraq as soon as possible. Given the absence of a World Government and a World Militia, the next best alternative is that a coalition of forces, led by the UN, will restore law and order in Iraq. In addition, the UN should help guide the Iraqi people on their difficult path toward political and economic democracy.

It should be noted that the UN does not have a very successful track record in nation-building or peacekeeping in the region, but if it is to be effective in Iraq, such a path must include the following:

1. The immediate end of all economic sanctions against Iraq.

2. A large-scale economic aid packet must immediately start to flow in to Iraq from the global community of nations.

3. The Iraqi oil industry should be allowed to continue as a nationalized enterprise Profits from the oil industry should be used to help build up Iraq's infrastructure, including government, schools, hospitals, roads, police, etc.

4. The oil industry is a high profit but low labor intensive industry. It is therefore important that profits from the nationalized oil industry will benefit other high labor intensive sectors of the Iraqi economy, such as farming and industry.

5. All peoples, including the Iraqis, need economic democracy to secure their fundamental economic and educational needs. Thus no foreign nation or interests should be allowed to dictate the exploitation of the natural resources of Iraq.

6. The model for political democracy in Iraq should be based on Iraqi interests and conditions, not US interests, nor any other Western interests. While Iraq may learn from other countries, the West should not be allowed to dictate a political model for Iraq, be it the "Japanese post-WW2 model," or the Turkish "secular Muslim model."

7. Religious freedom and tolerance is a prerequisite for peace and a successful democracy. Thus, while political dialogues continue to flourish within the Mosque-system, it is paramount that no religious dogma or faction of Islam is allowed to dominate the political discourse in Iraq.

8. A federation of autonomous Kurdish areas should be set up in the four neighboring states, Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, without splitting these countries up. In that way, the Kurds could both have a Kurdish passport and a passport from the country in which they would belong. If, at a later stage, the Kurds would opt for independence, it should be granted.

9. Economic, political and cultural cooperation between Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Egypt, with open borders for tourism, trade, culture and economy is a must for the future peace of the region. Iraq could be an associated partner of this cooperation.

10. Conflicts in the region should be handled in a constructive way, with equal respect and cooperation, not with treats and attacks.

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