Clean up the Mess
Once upon a time, there was a strange town where everyone agreed to punish those who had dirty houses. A family just arrived at the town without having any knowledge of the rules and mores. At night, when someone came to welcome them, he brought them bad news: If they were seen like that tomorrow, they would be punished. The family caught up in fear, began praying to God not to raise the sun the day after. But it seemed like God raised the sun sooner than the other mornings.
When it comes to article 140, the question comes up whether it is still valid or not. Let’s say it’s valid or not valid anymore, you choose. But what changes does it make? Does it solve the problem of Kirkuk and other disputed areas by simply saying it’s valid or not? I’m afraid, no.
From time to time, we hear that the Iraqi parliament forms a committee to solve the problem, or to implement the article. We hear that such and such pressure groups are formed to do that. We also hear some politicians saying, the article is doomed and should not be discussed, others retaliating by the opposite. Experts and analysts urge all sides to compromise, as all sides do not know. But it’s all hiding from the sun that rises in the morning.
It’s easy for “pragmatic” journalists and politicians to say, Kirkuk issue would never be solved. We have a legacy of things “that would never be solved” in the Middle East, as there are such things at all. If it were for the Crisis Group or New York Times, the issue would have long incited a civil war and chaos in the region. As far as I know, other unpredictable events could trigger civil war in Kirkuk, such as an accidental conflict between a Peshmarga and a member of the Iraqi army, but not 140.
In Iraq, there are many huge issues; between them are the disputed areas. It’s big not because of its consequences, since the consequences are yet to be predicted, but because Iraqi officials are unwilling to start solving this problem.
The issue is so much like the other issues of the region, so puffed that seems invincible, while it might be very fragile. Two years from now, it would be hilarious to think about an uprising that might bring about many changes to the Middle East, yet it began very simply. Although not finished, the outcome is either way dramatic.
Instead of praying, so God would not bring about tomorrow that may expose our dirty house; wouldn’t it be wiser to clean it at night while the others are busy and maybe asleep? What it takes is not that big; bring these tough guys into the table. There’s not many options, but all of them may be better than postponing the issue to a time when we all have strong armies to depend on, and others are not busy sleeping or doing their own things, but ready to intervene in our dirty house.
In our culture, there’s a saying: Do not delay today’s duty to tomorrow. The saying ends here, but everyone knows that what it said afterwards; it would be very hard to do it tomorrow as you have other things to do, and you may collapse under so much pressure. Stop murmuring and start cleaning the mess you have made.