Whether the present bloodletting in Syria, the ongoing geopolitical contest of wills between Sunni and Shia powers, and renewed Great Power rivalry yields anything approximating such a dramatic and long-standing order like a 30 Year War is totally quizzable no doubt
Yet it would benefit analysts to consider the similarities between that previous epoch shaping event and today’s ongoing drama. Today’s Middle East was set aflame through an act of desperate self-immolation by a food vendor in Tunisia. The European Thirty Years’ War began when Protestants rallied against the closing of their chapels by the Catholic emperor and threw three of his representatives out of a window (and probably onto a dung heap) in the infamous “Defenestration of Prague.” In both cases, long-standing frustrations and fears sparked a tinderbox long ready to explode.Also, eternally queering the mix is the Forever Quest for Palestine Peace.
The 2003 American invasion of Iraq reinvigorated the long-dormant Sunni-Shia conflict.
And without a Sunni power on its border powerful enough to check Iran, the Saudis and other Sunni powers now had to prepare for a renewed conflict.
At the same time, the rise and the subsequent development of a “Turkish” model for Middle Eastern development were felt in regional diplomacy, creating new potential constellations of power. Of course, the long-standing Little Satan-Palestinian conflict remained a sore spot for Arab nations as did conflict with Iran’s Syrian-backed cat’s-paw Hezbollah that was well ensconced in Lebanon.
The pieces then were set for the Tunisian self-immolation that would lead to a regional conflagration:
* the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and the proliferation of weapons across North and West Africa;
* the quasi-coup in strategically vital Egypt that led to the end of the pharaonic Mubarak regime, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and yet another military intervention overthrowing their President Morsi;
* the civil war in Syria where chemical weapons have once again brought back reminders of Saddam Hussein and his Anfal campaign against the Kurds.
In the short to medium term, the military backed government will probably be able to pacify the tumult brought about by Ikwhan overreaching. However, rising food prices, that have been a prime source for much of the “Arab Spring” unrest, will put pressure on the new government
That this is happening simultaneously with Syria’s descent into hell represents dire portents. There is no question that a full-scale civil war is underway there with over one hundred thousand lives estimated lost and atrocities committed by both warring parties, including the use of chemical weapons. Additionally, Syria’s carnage has spilled over into Lebanon and continues to threaten hope of stability there. Already there are suicide bombings and tit-for-tat acts of retribution from and against the Shia militia Hezbollah.
Chances of resolution are almost nonexistent. Along with chaos in Syria, Little Satan has much larger fish to fry due to existential fears concerning the Iranian nuclear program and the potential for a possible breakdown of order in Egypt. Already, Sinai has emerged as a flashpoint between Egypt and Little Satan despite the Egyptian military’s apparent desire to mitigate terrorist actions there.Pic - "Great Powers AWOL?"
The future likely holds more jihadist migration around the region, more starvation, more disease and more terrorism. And what will become of small, fragile monarchies like Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates? These countries have largely escaped unrest, but it’s doubtful they can indefinitely.