SECTARIAN CONFLICTS AND THE SOUNDS OF CIVIL WAR ONCE MORE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
By Harun Yahya
The Middle East, the birthplace of the three divine faiths and regarded as the heart of the world, has been the focus of wars ever since the last century. In recent history, the region has been the scene of both two-sided and multi-sided clashes between states, civil war, ethnic slaughter, occupation and exile. Conflicts based on sectarian differences in particular have watered the region with blood. Today, there is a question of the sectarian conflicts in Syria and Iraq spreading across the entire region.
It is impossible to say that this or that cause is responsible for the events in the Middle East: Games being played by foreign powers in the region taking advantage of political problems, economic, security and military problems and ethnic and sectarian differences rooted in the past, peoples being divided from one another despite being members of the same faith, and regarding one another as mortal enemies , have all played a part in producing the current atmosphere in the Middle East.
The conflict mindset has so worked in to the spirit of the peoples of the region that they are unaware that brother is fighting brother, and have even forgotten they are brothers at all. In one way or another, the value added character of the cultural mosaic is coming back to the people of the Middle East in the shape of terror, violence, slaughter and, worst of all, civil war in which brother is set against brother. Despite their living in the world’s richest region in terms of energy resources, they are some of its poorest peoples; although they could be living in peace, plenty and prosperity, they cannot benefit from their lands’ underground resources, natural beauties and historical wealth. Their countries, cities and, more importantly, their hearts have been ripped apart, and they are forced to live as peoples made hostile to one another.
There is no lack of people who maintain that sectarian conflicts are fanned by self-interest groups. In some people’s eyes the objective is oil and other energy resources. There is no doubt that oil is one of the main elements shaping the Middle East today, as in the past. It has been one of the world’s greatest needs since the 1800s and the region is of significant importance that cannot be underestimated in that respect. The global economic system – of which one-fifth was controlled by the British Empire at the end of the 1800s – foresaw regional resources being under Western control, and no alternative was even thinkable. Numerous political plans and projects were developed for the Middle East during and after the First World War. The events of today are thought of as part of those plans and strategies.
However, many people also believe that the conflict stems more from those peoples themselves. If the peoples of the countries of the Middle East, established according to administrative divisions by the colonialist powers and with arbitrary borders drawn on maps, can embrace one another as brothers and watch over one another with love, neutralizing all these negativities and sectarian conflicts, and turn into a major force then there will clearly be no more problem. Otherwise they will continue to be a mosaic of states held together by force that can easily be fragmented – and thus easy targets – for interest groups. The current state of affairs is abundant evidence of that.
To recall the recent past, the uprisings and awakenings known as the Arab Spring that began in Tunisia in December 2010 spread like toppling dominoes to various parts of the Middle East. This development, which emphasized Arab people’s virtues such as democracy and social justice, political stability and the social compact, soon led to the emergence of groups that had been long repressed with the overthrow of dictatorial regimes, in other words, to new illegal groupings, new conflicts and new instabilities, and turned the process into a negative one. The number of dead in the fighting in Syria to date is said to exceed 120,000. The number of suicide attacks is growing by the day. The number of people killed in suicide attacks in Iraq since the start of the year 2013 is 7,000. The selling at auction of young people to take part in suicide attacks is one of the unwanted but known truths. Innocent blood continues to be shed in neighboring lands, and the winds of war continue to blow, worsening the violence by the day. The risk of sectarian-based civil war is growing. And there is no doubt that the greatest responsibility for calming the turmoil lies with Turkey, the most important country to shape the agenda in the Middle East, with its political approach based on love and tolerance through the course of its history, and its secular and democratic structure.
Turkey is an indispensible country in the Middle East. It has strong relations with regional countries; it is also the most determined supporter of the Middle East peace process with the efforts it makes to establish a climate of peace. With the moral virtues it possessed in the past – and still does today – Turkey, the founder of a deep-rooted and rich civilization which brought peace, tranquility and justice to mankind and shaped the course of history, is the best candidate for establishing a climate of peace and security in the region. It would therefore seem that Turkey’s role in the Middle East will continue to grow in the coming term.