Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Don't Buy That New Atlas Just Yet

Somewhere down in the crawlspace is my highschool atlas from the 60's.  I have kept it as I have the four or five 'updated' atlases I picked up over the intervening years.  It's a lot of fun to go back and see maps of countries that are no more, empires that have broken up.

We may be needing another update soon if Asia Times is right.  It's the latest voice to suggest we'll soon see a new face on the Middle East.

National borders from the eastern Mediterranean to the Iranian border were made after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. Britain and France, with little consideration for sectarian or ethnic realities, drew lines across the area and established the new countries of Iraq and Syria.

As authoritarian regimes disappear under the weight of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and the ongoing uprising in Syria, regional boundaries may be redrawn by indigenous peoples and regional powers. Five new states could emerge: Shi'ite Iraq, Sunni Iraq, Sunni Syria, Greater Kurdistan, and Shi'ite Syria.

It's a good article with detailed explanations of  how and why Syria and Iraq could soon fracture along traditional ethnic lines.  A similar breakup may be in the cards, eventually, for Muslim South Asia where the Balochs and Pashtun may seek to breakaway from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Deja vu.  I just discovered that I first used the title of this post back in September, 2008.  Hmm... could it be that change is the one thing that never changes?

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