Friday, February 8, 2013

The Next War


Ebberdobby fits in one somewhere - the ancient anthemic caveat "Be cool - or be cast out" is quite powerful of course and in Year 3 of Arab Sprung - it's gon be bloodly uncalled for!

Unlike fun friendly sectarian sects - like the Beatles, Batman, Creddie or Seddie  l' shia/sunni schismimus maximus is bleeding bloody.

See, ever since Great Britain defeated the naughty Ottomanic Turkish Arabian Empire a century ago and redrew the map of the ME - a major point in history....and the next War in the ME
Today, Turkish Arabia is at another such point in its history, as political forces unleashed in one region are spreading to others. The revolt that began in Syria in early 2011—itself inspired by events elsewhere in the Arab world—is on the verge of becoming a sectarian war spanning the entirety of Turkish Arabia. 

We can envision, then, a sectarian war raging across the whole of the Fertile Crescent, drawing in all the former territories of Turkish Arabia. The prospect will be a frightening one for the region’s major powers. Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia could one day find chaos rather than functioning states on their permeable borders. If Al Qaeda/Nusrah can establish a base in Jordan, Saudi Arabia will find itself threatened by Al Qaeda franchises on both north and south that will be well-positioned to resume the pursuit of Al Qaeda’s core goal of toppling the Saudi monarchy and “liberating” the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

The Saudis showed great resiliency in defeating a serious Al Qaeda insurrection in 2004-2008, but that was a strictly internal threat that lacked a real foreign base. Simultaneous Al Qaeda bases in Jordan and Yemen would pose a more serious, if not an existential, threat to Saudi rule. If watching the fall or near-fall of half a dozen regimes in the Arab Spring has taught us anything, it should be that the Arab states that appeared serenely stable to outsiders for the past half century were more brittle than we have understood. The implosion of Turkish Arabia would test those regimes to the limit, and we cannot assume that the rulers of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait would be any better equipped to defeat the potential challenge than Muammar Qaddhafi and Bashar al-Assad were.

The rulers of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran are surely not blind to this nightmare scenario. As the situation in Turkish Arabia continues to unravel, those regional powers will be compelled to become ever deeper involved in an attempt to keep the tide of war from breaking on their own lands. This conflict could very well touch us all, perhaps becoming an engine of jihad that spews forth attackers bent on bombing western embassies and cities or disrupting Persian Gulf oil markets long before the fire burns out.

And what of Turkish Arabia in the long run? One eminent scholar of the Middle East assures me that the borders drawn by the British and French were artificial, yes, but now have staying power. The people of the region are too used to the lines to erase them, even if they don’t love them. I don’t doubt him, and I am sure that whatever else happens, there will continue to be a Syria, a Lebanon, a Jordan, and an Iraq. But those countries are about to pass through a crucible, a painful test in which their peoples will be sorted by sect; driven from traditional homelands; starved, taxed, or pressed into service by warlords; terrorized by militant Islamists; forced to witness their ancient heritage destroyed by bombs; and live without the rule of law. It will be terrible to watch, and we will not be left unsullied in our watching.

Pic - "Ideology, Sectarianism and the Changing Balance of Power in the Middle East"