Friday, August 16, 2013

The Curse Of Sykes - Picot

All the cool kids know the modern Middle East is not so modern. Wicked winners of the 1st World War split up the deader than ObL Ottoman Empire into tons of nation states and redrew demarcating demarcations over tribes, ppl and places.

The olde Sykes Picot manuever.

Arab world is breaking apart, and that what may emerge are new states defined by sect or ethnicity to replace those drawn up by the imperial powers almost a century ago

Arab states, almost by definition, have embodied the failure of integration in the Arab world. Since independence they have been dysfunctional, authoritarian, over-militarized and economically underdeveloped. Unity has been imposed from above, usually brutally, with no tolerance for dissent, whether political or cultural. Leaders who led such countries were viewed with a mixture of distaste and respect for ruthlessly managing the complex dynamics of their societies.
There is a sense among many in the West, weaned on a diet of anti-imperial historiography, that as Sykes-Picot was an imperial arrangement, its consequences must have no real legitimacy in the Arab world today. But that’s not true. The Arabs guard their imperially created boundaries jealously. Breaking up a state remains a path many hesitate to take. In Arab nationalist ideology, the political destiny of the Arabs is to join together in larger political entities, until a single Arab state is formed.

Arab nationalism is a dream of unification, not fragmentation, and it retains an intellectual hold on societies that do not wish to define themselves primarily through a sectarian prism.

Does this mean Arab states will remain unified, at least officially? Political and geographical unity often clash with the reality of sectarian or ethnic division. Arab states are destined to wrestle with this contradiction for some time to come, as a substitute for formal separation. The inheritance of Sykes-Picot may be poisoned and discredited, but it is also far from dead.

Pic - "Ultimately, democracy relies on an implicit quid pro quo among contending groups, according to which each agrees to protect the others' rights in exchange for recognition of its entitlement to govern should it win an election."


smartalek said...

Anyone who finds entertainment value in Ye Olde Sykes-Picot would be amiss not to check out this brilliant musical memorabilia therefrom, by the only popstar ever to make a career writing songs about history (his commercial hits -- or approximations thereof -- were "Year of the Cat" and "Time Passages," from the late 1970s, but his masterwork is "Roads to Moscow;" if you have never heard it, your life will be the richer when you rectify that):

(Al Stewart: "League of Notions")

(Al Stewart: "Roads to Moscow")