Brazil’s Socio-integrated Model vs. Kurdish Predicament of an “Independent Statehood”

Brazil a BRICS state enjoys various distinctive qualified popular advantages in short sharp terms: “A democracy with competitive elections and vibrant civil society engagement.” However, in recent years it has confronted serious challenges such as: “a severe economic and political crisis [which] has significantly challenged the functioning of the government.” Admittedly, despite adversity Brazil still benefits from the legacy “Good-Governance” which necessarily may enable it in the near future to successfully manage its natural and human resources within a flourishing green environmental setting. With an estimated population of over 206 million Brazil has maintained a high GDP/per capita approaching $ 8,539. A solid domestic standing prepares Brazil for a salient role in internal and external affairs. A matter Brazilian leadership in general is keen to follow and even update during the transitionary political phase of national development taking stoke from the enriched economic opportunities and the significant advantages the Middle East – Gulf marketing can offer. This is why Brazil has displayed a vivid interest in promoting Brazilian-Iraqi – Kurdistan interests.

As far as the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) and Brazil is concerned, the starting of symbolic point of departure came with the opening of a Brazilian Honorary Consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan. Interestingly and informatively, the Brazilian envoy in the Kurdish northern Iraqi region has recognized the economic gap that existed between Baghdad and Erbil. However, there were still areas of concern such as: “reconstruction, safe and stable atmosphere” that needs to be addressed. Moreover, the Brazilian government has proved to be keen on strengthening its relations with the Iraqi authorities in more than one aspect. As the Iraqi government engulfed in the long drawn fighting against terrorism to liberate valued Iraqi territories, ISIS was engaged in subversive bombing campaigns in the urban soft-bely targets whereby Innocent civilians were killed and properties destroyed. In the meantime, the Brazilian government has expressed its “feeling of solidarity and its deepest condolences to the families of the victims, to the people and the government, specifically in view of the repeated attacks that victimized innocent people and reiterates its strong condemnation to all acts of terrorism.”

It is interesting to state that the liberation of Mosul in the summer of 2017 was celebrated in Brazil by “the Embassy of Iraq with the support of the Brazil Iraqi Chamber.  In parallel terms, while one shouldn’t forget that Mosul’s liberation -alongside other Iraqi territories -represent historic events, the importance of regional non-Arab roles in determining the dynamism of future development in geopolitical and economic terms is equally salient; most significantly the prominent roles of Iran and Turkey in combating terrorism. Indeed, the Turkish persistent political pressure on “Kurdish separatist tendencies” was instrumental in placing the 25th September 2017 Kurdish referendum for independence at bay. Erdogan’s concise words were more than sufficient to convey a clear decisive message to the Kurdish leadership in Erbil as follows: “We have the tap. The moment we close the tap, it’s over”. The security and stabilization of the Kurdish region within Iraqi sovereign state-system is paramount in asserting the economic “oil and gas” interests of various regional and extra-regional parties.

Hence, Brazil seems more eager to take advantage of its futuristic opportunities in promoting economic and environmental brands of national development. However, there is another aspect of Brazil to strengthen and spread that of socio-national-cultural integration. From this perspective, it is significant to explore the roots and the repercussions of the Brazilian socio-national demographic dynamism. Brazilians have become increasingly more diversified within an enlarged cultural society as indicated in the following quotation: The Brazilian population are of: “Iberian origin, primarily Portuguese settlers of Jewish or Moorish origin but most of them had converted to Christianity. There were also some Dutch immigrants to the Northeast in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Portuguese intermarried with the Amerindian population which was decimated by conflict and disease.  During the colonial era, after Indian slavery proved to be difficult to enforce, the colonists imported hundreds of thousands of slaves from Africa for labor from the sugar plantations, in the mines and later on coffee plantations”.

Furthermore, the post-historic accumulative distinctive changes with the end of slavery by the British has brought a much diversified structure of cultural communities whereby European settlers from Italy, Germany and Poland started running coffee plantations and establishing farming colonies in the Southern part of Brazil. Other notable changes came in the 20th century whereby the racial mix has become more intricate with the arrival of Japanese and Middle Eastern immigrants. It is interesting to note that whilst the Japanese worked in agriculture, the Turks, Lebanese and Syrians were involved in commerce.

Brazil across the years proved to be a “racial democracy. Thus, various ethnic backgrounds intermingled with each other and formed a multinational –cultural -social mix. Admittedly, Iraq since the Mesopotamian ancient culture has passed also into various complicated critical phases of socio – cultural integration or even disintegration leading into the eruption of serious political – national crises. The Kurdish recent attempt for creating a separatist political –territorial enclave has created an unwarranted havoc and disruption of the peaceful political setting.

What Brazil can offer is a specific model of peaceful, relatively stable, secure and prosperous national system, something the Kurds themselves have experienced in “de-facto” or even in limited legal “de-Jury” terms in the form of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) upsetting thereby the Iraqi constitutional order in which the Iraqi government is eager currently to restore through extending its national sovereignty all over Iraq.

As and when Iraq cement its new political posture, other BRICS states including Brazil will enter a new era of addressing bi-lateral relations that render advantageous political-diplomatic and economic mutual interests. Admittedly, the Brazilian socio-economic –national –environmental model can but not necessarily be emulated due to Iraqi and regional specific and changeable uncertain conditions.

Ahmad Shikara

Member of the faculty at the EmiratesCenter for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in Abu Dhabi since 2000. There he works in the Training Department and in Human Resources. He recently published on the ramifications of Iraqi elections. In the past he conducted extensive research at the ECSSR and has conducted graduate and faculty seminars focusing on the effect of resource scarcity on the Arabian Gulf and the United States. Dr. Shikara, and before joining the ECSSR, served on the Political Science Department at the United Arab Emirates University (1980-1994), as an honorary professor at the Institute of Developing Economies in Japan (1994) and as a research fellow in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Auckland, New Zealand (1996-2000).

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