The Catholic University of America

Robert Destro, professor, law, co-authored an article in The American Interest on Security in the Aftermath of ISIS. See below.

Security in the Aftermath of ISIS

From: The American Interest
Date: March 2, 2017
Author: Andrew Doran, Robert Nicholson, Stephen Hollingshead, and Robert A. Destro


The Nineveh Plain Safe Zone would promote security, foster local governance, and revitalize the area’s economy. It’s time to put it in place.

President Trump has garnered reams of coverage and criticism for his executive order on refugees, but so far the press has shown little interest in the Administration’s professed desire to create safe zones in the Middle East to protect vulnerable civilians from the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. That’s a shame, for there is some merit to the idea. In Iraq, in particular, the Administration ought to consider the creation of a safe zone in Nineveh Province’s Tal Afar, Sinjar, and Nineveh Plain regions to protect the area’s Turkmen, Yazidi, and Christian populations. These three communities have generally lived together in peace but have endured brutal violence in recent years—first at the hands of Saddam’s oppressive regime and then from ISIS. They have never had an opportunity to build the stable, self-governing local communities that we take for granted in the United States. A safe zone would give them that opportunity.

Last year, Chris Seiple, Robert Nicholson, and Andrew Doran wrote that decentralized governance, to include the creation of a province for vulnerable minorities in Iraq, could offer a model for stability in Iraq and possibly Syria. Whether one calls it a province, safe haven, safe zone, or protected area, the concept remains the same: decentralized, local governance based on the principle of equal citizenship that protects the interests and integrity of the distinct communities from which it was formed. A federated model is especially necessary where competing sectarian interests and the principles of centralization and pluralism are in conflict, where the idea of the common good doesn’t exist, and where sectarian violence is the norm. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi in 2015 put simply what is on the mind of many in the region: “If we don’t decentralize, the country will disintegrate.” ...


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