May 2, 2016
A Plan for the Day After ISIS Is Defeated – Noam Tibon (Times of Israel)
- In the background to the religious, sectarian war in Iraq and Syria are local struggles by minority populations who are fighting to survive and safeguard any semblance they have of independence. The solution has to be based on a division of Syria and Iraq into four new countries, on an ethnic and religious basis, in order to provide each group with a sense of security, independence, and prosperity.
- A Sunni state should be established in western Iraq and eastern Syria, whose borders would be similar (but not identical) to the areas controlled by ISIS.
- A Shi’ite state should be established in southeast Iraq, which, we can assume, will be under strong Iranian influence. Today, Shi’ite Iran effectively runs the affairs of the central government in Baghdad, and also exercises control over large Sunni tribes in other parts of Iraq. It is important to create a clear separation between “Iranian Iraq” and “Arab-Sunni Iraq.”
- A Kurdish state ought to be founded in the territory of northern Syria and northern Iraq. This country already exists, in a de facto manner, as an independent Kurdish autonomy, with a military force that has proven itself in combat against ISIS.
- An Alawite state can be forged in the Damascus region and along the Syrian coastline. This state would form a safe haven for the Alawite minority that ruled Syria in recent decades and today feels that it is fighting for its life. As long as Alawites in Syria fear for their very existence, they will continue to support the murderous Assad regime and the Iranian militias that support it.
- Alongside these steps, the world powers must also ensure that all of the various new countries respect and safeguard the rights of other minorities living within their boundaries such as Christians, Druze, and Assyrians.
- Finally, with regret, we must disabuse ourselves of the illusion that new countries established in the Middle East will necessarily be democratic. In the near term, stability, security, and economic prosperity should be the priorities.
Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Noam Tibon served as commander of the IDF’s Northern Division.