Iran Obliterating Countries of the Levant
Iran Obliterating Countries of the Levant
After the First World War, the states in the Arab Levant were established. The Ottoman Empire had collapsed during that war, and the winners had to organize these immense numbers of people and territories by establishing new states. The British and French mandates made some good and bad decisions here and there. They gave primacy to their interests at some junctures and bowed to the reality on ground at others. In all of this, the most important thing was that we became part of nations and states. It is only through them that we can exist and function in the world; without them, the path to modernity is closed to us.
Many knives were drawn to stab this major development: those whose pride prevented them from accepting a foreign rule, those whose memories refused to forget the Ottoman era, those whose attachment to their familiar lives compelled them to refuse a different way of life, and those whose fanaticism drove them to reject the principle of equality among citizens. All of them rejected the newly established countries, oblivious to the will of the First World War’s victors and that of the League of Nations they had formed. Making things worse, no alternatives were offered by those who despised these artificial states while the Sherifian state in Damascus was withering and rotting.
Nevertheless, the rejection of those states and the call to merge one with the other shaped the souls of the political parties that sprang and the discourse that prevailed in the Arab Levant. The establishment of Israel in 1948 intensified this opposition: the sum of states- as those with a mere arithmetic awareness saw it- is more capable of crushing the newly established entity than divided states.
This “dream” of unity came true in 1958, when Syria and Egypt merged into a single entity that would extract Israel, as was said with great enthusiasm, at the time. However, the widespread jubilation at the dissolution of the Syrian state and entity did not last long. It became apparent, when Syria seceded in 1961, that unity is much more artificial than the countries described as being artificial.
Since then, the war on Levantine patriotism has subsided, subsequent attempts saw far less success than that of Egyptian-Syrian unity, and their popularity has been incomparably weaker. Thus, dreams were replaced with illusions that evaporate the moment they are born: In 1963, the Baath Parties of Syria and Iraq failed to unify their countries. In 1965, the Egyptian-Iraqi federation failed to launch. In 1971, the Egyptian-Syrian-Libyan Federation of Arab Republics turned into an obnoxious joke. In the meantime, the Palestinian resistance- in Jordan and Lebanon- assumed the task of undermining national identities, working to destroy the entities that had been in place as they strove for a promise whose fulfillment is impossible, the liberation of Palestine. On top of that, this resistance was a pathway for military and security regimes, especially those in Syria, Iraq and Libya, to focus on splitting the smaller countries apart.
Civil wars of various sizes followed over the years. In tandem, tyranny became more severe here, and occupations took place there. Thus, from this accumulation of decay, the monstrosity -known as ISIS- emerged and took the task of waging war on Levantine patriotisms upon itself. Indeed, in 2014, ISIS was able to merge chunks of Syria with chunks of Iraq and vice versa. However, the same war would be waged by a faction more powerful, cohesive, and persistent than ISIS, whose “state” eroded swiftly. This faction is Khomeinist Iran, which, under the slogan of “exporting the revolution,” has been exercising this undertaking since its 1979 revolution.
The fact is, today, we are seeing entire countries being erased and obliterated amid the explicit alliance between the Khomeinist empire and both tyrannical regime and sectarian factionalism. The situation is no less severe than this at all: it affects residents, refugees, the economy, and education, and it also has an impact on occupation, vassalage, and the spread of sectarian loyalties, in addition to the dissolution of countries’ borders themselves. It is, therefore, a question of existence, not of a specific regime or particular political behavior.
Patriotism today thereby becomes, at least in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, equated with fighting Iranian influence, which is destroying everything that had been achieved over a century, just as confronting Iranian influence becomes the primary signifier, if not the only one, of patriotism.
This depiction can no longer be blackmailed by mentions of Israel, whose evil is far less severe than that coming from the east, and other forms of accusations of treachery levied by those who sold their countries to Iran. As for those in the world’s major capitals who are keen on the region’s stability, their concern will bear little fruit so long as they don’t take into consideration this formula: either Iranian influence prevails and the countries and patriotisms of the Levantine region are defeated, or the Levant’s patriotisms prevail and Iranian influence is defeated.