In the next few months, several elections are being held across the Middle East, each expected to create a direct impact on the political situation in the region and determine peace or war in its prospect. The developments would also unveil the regional and international conflicts between the two main players, the world powers.
On one hand, some regional players desire maintaining the political borders and situation in the Middle East, on the other hand, there is a keen interest for reshuffling in the troubled region. The later primarily aims at a radical change across the Middle East to secure the flow of gas and oil to the West, and then protect Israel — as the main ally of the West — against any possible threat from its neighbours. This group also hopes to eradicate extremist ideologies through a drastic change in the political players across the region.
People in Lebanon will go to the polls on May 6th this year. The election process has been designed in a way that could free Lebanon from the disruptive influence of Iran and Hezbollah. That would make a significant change.
Six days later, a similar process will take place in Iraq. Parliamentary elections in the country are set for 12th May, right after which the political factions that are closer to the West, are expected to claim the win. More specifically, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s faction in Iraq and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in the Kurdistan Region, have the higher chances to win the election. It appears to be a wise move through a democratic process to gradually alleviate Iran’s influence over the country. Such a plan requires preconditions such as pushing aside the factions which are closely tied to Iran, among them the Shi’ite militia groups of Hashd al-Shaabi.
The is also the reason some Shi’ite political factions are now questioning the vote beforehand, claiming that the process of election is being directed from Dubai and not Baghdad.
Another major development that follows Iraq’s parliamentary election is the relocation of US embassy to Jerusalem. This move adds fuel to the fire, and it is expected to bring about a new phase of political skirmish to the region as the Arab world is just reluctant to accept the new reality.
Seeing such developments on the horizon, has also encouraged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to announce a snap election. He previously, and openly, argued that the new developments in Iraq and Syria had forced Ankara to hold the presidential and parliamentary elections before its scheduled time in hopes of changing the country into a presidential system which allows making decisive rapid decisions.
Linking the facts on the ground demonstrate the fact that there is a bold attempt to diminish the role of Iran in Iraq and Lebanon. However, a question remains unanswered: would Tehran surrender to such an attempt after spending all its political, economic and military power throughout the past eight years in Syria to build up a cross-border stronghold? If not, any reaction could kick off a new and even more serious skirmish in the region, in which direct military clashes would replace the years-long proxy war. Those engaged in such conflict then either set the ground for a possible World War III, or should start looking for a solution. However, any solution would then require addressing the religious, ethnic and national disputes, including the Kurdish question.
Each path the major actors take would leave Iraq with an obscure future. The reason is that neither Trump’s new team is willing to leave Iran further expanding its influence in the region, nor Tehran is ready to give up so easily. Therefore, the upcoming election in Iraq appears to be the last of its kind in the country due to the fact that dissolving Iraq as a state remains the sole solution and the only way to prevent further bloodshed.
Botan Tahseen is the Coordinator of Bas News Agency