In the coming days, there will be two important meetings, 15 days apart, regarding the future of Syria. In the first of these meetings, the parties will meet in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital city, tomorrow, under the leadership of Turkey and Russia, who played a major role in the ceasefire. Then on February 8, the Geneva Conference will take place under the leadership of the United Nations. This will be the fourth round of the meetings that took place in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The main agenda of both meetings will be to develop a common roadmap for a lasting peace in the country. After a lasting peace is established, the reconstruction of Syria’s administration and its infrastructure will be planned. Two parties – who have been fighting with each other for six years – uniting under one administration stand out as an important problem. But for the future of the Middle East and in the big picture, the Islamic world, the preservation of the territorial integrity of Syria is very important.
Recently, maps dividing the Middle East are being presented in the international media one after the other. New political maps are being engineered in some circles. These new maps will affect 19 Islamic countries from Libya to Pakistan and about 650mn Muslims living in these countries. The goal is to materialise the bloody scenario that some deep-seated powers planned, especially for the Middle East, and to make the world a more dangerous place by dividing the Muslim countries once again. The plan is aimed at launching new civil wars that will last for decades. This insidious plan must be prevented. The Islamic world does not need new conflicts, new divisions and new disagreements. It is time to increase our common ground and unite.
The first of the fragmented Middle East maps was drawn by the British historian Bernard Lewis after the Cold War. The updated version appeared in 2006 carrying US intelligence officer Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters’ signature. Then, in January 2008, with Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in the Atlantic Monthly magazine and a report by Kenneth Katzman presented to the American Congress on September 25, 2008 two new maps appeared. To date, many different “New Middle East Maps” have been published in the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, the BBC, the New York Times, Pakistan Defense, Washington Post, Reuters, and Huffington Post.
In these maps, think tanks or media outlets have drawn new borders in parallel with the political or economic interests of the centres they represent. Although there were partial differences between these borders that were drawn on a table, they all had something in common. Their aim was to establish 15 new small states in the Middle East, North Africa and West Asia by destroying today’s Muslim states. The real life applications of these maps can be seen in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan today. The Islamic world should stand in a state of collective opposition to these divisive policies. Thus, the forthcoming Syria peace talks will be a very suitable point of resistance in this respect.
Participants in Astana particularly emphasised the importance of preserving the integrity of Syria during the Moscow talks. Russia and Turkey have repeatedly pointed out to the dangers of partition and stated that the main purpose of the meeting in Astana is a solution that will prevent the fragmentation of the country. This emphasis is not only important for Syria, but also for the future of the region.
Turkey is undoubtedly one of the countries which should have the most say regarding Syria. YPG/PKK members from Syria took part in many terrorist acts that took place on Turkish soil in 2016. Also, the weapons the US sent to the YPG are being used by the PKK against Turkey. Three million Syrian refugees live in Turkey. The Turkish government has spent close to $20bn over the course of five years for its guests.
Turkey and Syria share a 650km border, so the security of the other side of the border is synonymous with the security of Turkey. It is absolutely unacceptable for us to let the Stalinist PKK constitute a threat for both Syria and Turkey by forming cantons beyond the border. Both the Syrian regime and the opposition already share this concern of Turkey.
At this stage, many regional states are ready to commit to the task of guarantorship in Syria and to make sacrifices for the reconstruction of Syria. This is the first time a lasting peace has come so close in Syria, even if some circles do not want it. The Syrian peace will also have a positive effect on those Muslim territories where civil war still rages on. Muslims will show that they can live in peace to the whole world and “The Clash of Civilizations” or “Age of Muslim Wars” projects of warmongers such as Samuel Huntington will prove to be futile.
There is not much opportunity left to stop the bloodshed in the Muslim world and this opportunity should not be wasted. This is what the oppressed people surrounded by fire in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya are hoping for. The spirit of brotherhood should reign over the Syria talks. The establishment of peace in Syria is in favour of all Muslims whether they participate in the talks or not.
The Islamic world should be at the forefront in the race for civilisation. Bringing peace back among the Muslims will be the first step in bringing Islamic civilisation to the point it deserves. This is a goal all Muslims should strive to achieve in unison.
Adnan Oktar's piece in Gulf Times & Jefferson Corner: