The ever-growing sectarian divide fueling the drive to maximize regional interests has unraveled the harsh reality that the path to progress for Iraq-Syria-Iran is now at an impasse. It is clearly understood that clinging onto historical paradigms and shying away from rational rapprochement due to mutual exhaustion is no longer a feasible option.
Since the beginning of the shivers that were felt by the Arab Spring, the administrative and economic authorities in Iraq, Iran and Syria made no effort to hear the social calls of their people. They saw themselves exempt from any repercussions that would have been felt in neighboring countries. When the tides took a swift turn as the democracy and human rights demands in their regions spread out faster than their anticipation, most of the governing bodies in the region have faced an instant burnout syndrome. Economic and trade relations between the three bordered countries in the economic sense also took their share in the same period, and the dollar amounted to a decline in the leading trade items. In light of all these events, the intercultural dialogue and supra-political consensus have become of central importance once again for the countries of a similar fate.
As a result of the multi-faceted contentious regional processes of the last century, the sub-cultural values that could have been gradually shared with the inclusion of sectarian minorities between Iraq, Iran, and Syria have not been fully explored. To find common ground to promote regional cooperation, the first International Conference of the Organization of Food and Agricultural Sciences – Scientific and Regional Cooperation between Syria, Iran, and Iraq, which was held in Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan Province in eastern Iran in August, was held for the sake of cultural and scientific cooperation.
This particular event was the most unifying step for the political and cultural atmosphere to generate potential points of collaboration in recent times. Although the number of such collaborative activities can be extended in the future, the main actors within the regional influence of the political sphere struggle to produce new strategies. As such, it is becoming more evident that the growing organic ties in dialogue and cultural gaps will bound to prove a more significant predicament for those aiming to claim a self-purported agenda for the region.
In the current cycle of unexpected developments, one of the constructive and hereditary steps towards changing the status quo, which has perfectly aligned with the idea of regional cooperation and development, is the recent appointment of Prof. Derya Ors as the new Ambassador of Turkey to Iran. Prof. Ors is an expert in Persian literature and has a vast knowledge of regional culture and history. Despite his lack of diplomatic-corps background and Turkey’s current position as the `guarantor` state in Idlib for stability, Prof. Ors’ appointment indicates an official desire by the Turkish government to consolidate greater cooperation in the Middle East.
Such recent initiatives as the Astana and Sochi processes in 2017 or the referendum for the full independence of the KRG or the High-Level cooperation meetings which may all be considered as a milestone in the context of relations on the outset, clearly showed the fragility of cultural and organic ties that is reached so far today. In this respect, it is possible to conclude that the reconciliation efforts in the international platform do not make the desired ratio of impact when it comes to regional issues.
In the Middle East of fragile equations, those who clearly understand the importance of sustainable nation-state stability and denial of denominational development are indisputably highly dependent on regional cooperation will be able to meet the common denominator in putting an end to the advent of another Arab Spring.
Authored by Kyle Inan Twitter @InanKyle