Saturday, September 25, 2021
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How a Better Middle East Would Look

Five years ago, Ralph Peters wrote an article, Blood Borders. This article looks at the prospect of redrawing borders in lands between the Bosphorus and the Indus. I don’t agree with the redrawing of Israel’s borders, but this map is a good starting point for conversation. I find it amusing that the folks at the Armed Forces Journal who created this map came up with new names, Saudi Homeland Independent Territories and Arab Shia State. I’ve never traveled there, and would like confirmation from any vets that the bold letters reflect thoughts they may have had about some of those inhabitants.

The conflicts I read about today make me wonder if the borders will change. Borders have never been static, and many frontiers, from the Congo through Kosovo to the Caucasus, are changing even now. The following is an excerpt of Ralph Peters’ article.

A just alignment in the region would leave Iraq’s three Sunni-majority provinces as a truncated state that might eventually choose to unify with a Syria that loses its littoral to a Mediterranean-oriented Greater Lebanon: Phoenecia reborn. The Shia south of old Iraq would form the basis of an Arab Shia State rimming much of the Persian Gulf. Jordan would retain its current territory, with some southward expansion at Saudi expense. For its part, the unnatural state of Saudi Arabia would suffer as great a dismantling as Pakistan.

A root cause of the broad stagnation in the Muslim world is the Saudi royal family’s treatment of Mecca and Medina as their fiefdom. With Islam’s holiest shrines under the police-state control of one of the world’s most bigoted and oppressive regimes – a regime that commands vast, unearned oil wealth – the Saudis have been able to project their Wahhabi vision of a disciplinarian, intolerant faith far beyond their borders. The rise of the Saudis to wealth and, consequently, influence has been the worst thing to happen to the Muslim world as a whole since the time of the Prophet, and the worst thing to happen to Arabs since the Ottoman (if not the Mongol) conquest.

While non-Muslims could not effect a change in the control of Islam’s holy cities, imagine how much healthier the Muslim world might become were Mecca and Medina, ruled by a rotating council representative, of the world’s major Muslim schools and movements in an Islamic Sacred State – a sort of Muslim super-Vatican – where the future of a great faith might be debated rather than merely decreed. True justice – which we might not like – would also give Saudi Arabia’s coastal oil fields to the Shia Arabs who populate that subregion, while a southeastern quadrant would go to Yemen. Confined to a rump Saudi Homelands Independent Territory around Riyadh, the House of Saud would be capable of far less mischief toward Islam and the world.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but it seems safe to conclude there will always be a Saudi Homeland Independent Territories Arab Shia State in this part of the world whether it is officially named or not. In 1919, Paris diplomats from more than 30 countries met, discussed and came up with a series of treaties that reshaped the map of Europe and the world. At its center were the leaders of the three “Great Powers”: President Woodrow Wilson of the United States, Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Britain, and Georges Clemenceau of France. History provides evidence that the “Great Powers” are incapable of fixing and making things better. I do not believe in isolationism, but I do believe arrangements with certain nations could be considered from a transitional perspective vs permanent.

pilgrim
I am retired after 36 years of being a state of Indiana employee. I enjoy writing and reading conservative blogs.

9 COMMENTS

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9 COMMENTS

  1. I know Brockway has been in the service in Iraq. I have been to Israel and Jordan, NOT in the service. I won’t comment on the obvious leaving out of Israel. I have to say I was very impressed with Jordan but at the time King Hussein was still alive and he ruled the country much differently than his son does now. Never gonna change for the Saudis.

    FYI Pilgrim how did you do that “click to enlarge” feature? I guess that is something I don’t have available to me and it would be nice to have.

    • The image original dimensions are 850 x 370. The only thing I did is change the dimensions to 300 x 170 when I inserted it. When you click on it then you see it in its original form. I did not do anything that you already can do.

  2. If regions of the world want to take, take, take from the US, then the US needs to set some parameters. Had we been working on energy independence since 2001 (Drilling, drilling, fracking and drilling, and to hell with the EPA)and had we destroyed, d-e-s-t-r-o-y-e-d, the safe harbors of the Islamic extremists, we would be in a better position to do so. At a minimum, at this point, starting in 2013, all we can do is defend Israel (and make clear that the ‘peace process’ from this point forward will be accomplished by the Arab States either taking in the Palestinians or making them a homeland out of their own territories) by making an example out of the next entity to attack it, yes, even Gaza. And drill, drill, frack and drill.
    That map is way cool, pil

  3. Great overview, Pilgrim. Coming from a country that overcame tribalism in favor of its institutions, with only a few solid principles…fair markets, rule of law and property (the House)…I lean in favor of that. Ethnic and religious homogeneity is not the best starting pillar, unless there are some attributes that can make the country self-sustaining.
    Those many nations would eventually begin to merge…under one or two or three possible models.
    If peaceable intercourse for say, 50 years, is the price necessary to get there, It might work.

    • I think religion can oversimplify the situation. This also why I think Iran’s designs on Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon may not be realized. In that area between the Euphrates and Tigris live a people who do not want to be Iranian. The same goes for those living about the Syrian desert. Those people are not Saudi nor are they Iranian.

  4. Fascinating. I have heard, some of these original borders in the area, were suggested by none other than Major T.E. Lawrence himself. Given the tribes and peoples involved, the wonder is not all the regional instability since World War I’s end, the wonder is that some states such as Jordan an Saudi Arabia, gelled and held , at all.

    • Maybe it has something to do with sovereignty, jack. If you have enough of a majority of like-minded wanting stability, they seek a sovereign, be it a king or a theology or a constitution. Maybe it’s like minded ethnics, or nationalists, and the most tangible expression is secure borders. Speaking of secure borders…….

  5. There’s always a schwartze in the woodpile. The Wahhabis and Saudis proved that. The Hashemites had served as the hereditary sharifs of Hejaz for centuries and everyone agreed they did a good job. Who knew that a bunch of Jed and Granny Clampetts in arabia incognita would come rumbling out of the desert vastness to throw them down. Islam, and the very nature of “sovereign kings” invites that always.

  1. I know Brockway has been in the service in Iraq. I have been to Israel and Jordan, NOT in the service. I won’t comment on the obvious leaving out of Israel. I have to say I was very impressed with Jordan but at the time King Hussein was still alive and he ruled the country much differently than his son does now. Never gonna change for the Saudis.

    FYI Pilgrim how did you do that “click to enlarge” feature? I guess that is something I don’t have available to me and it would be nice to have.

    • The image original dimensions are 850 x 370. The only thing I did is change the dimensions to 300 x 170 when I inserted it. When you click on it then you see it in its original form. I did not do anything that you already can do.

  2. If regions of the world want to take, take, take from the US, then the US needs to set some parameters. Had we been working on energy independence since 2001 (Drilling, drilling, fracking and drilling, and to hell with the EPA)and had we destroyed, d-e-s-t-r-o-y-e-d, the safe harbors of the Islamic extremists, we would be in a better position to do so. At a minimum, at this point, starting in 2013, all we can do is defend Israel (and make clear that the ‘peace process’ from this point forward will be accomplished by the Arab States either taking in the Palestinians or making them a homeland out of their own territories) by making an example out of the next entity to attack it, yes, even Gaza. And drill, drill, frack and drill.
    That map is way cool, pil

  3. Great overview, Pilgrim. Coming from a country that overcame tribalism in favor of its institutions, with only a few solid principles…fair markets, rule of law and property (the House)…I lean in favor of that. Ethnic and religious homogeneity is not the best starting pillar, unless there are some attributes that can make the country self-sustaining.
    Those many nations would eventually begin to merge…under one or two or three possible models.
    If peaceable intercourse for say, 50 years, is the price necessary to get there, It might work.

    • I think religion can oversimplify the situation. This also why I think Iran’s designs on Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon may not be realized. In that area between the Euphrates and Tigris live a people who do not want to be Iranian. The same goes for those living about the Syrian desert. Those people are not Saudi nor are they Iranian.

  4. Fascinating. I have heard, some of these original borders in the area, were suggested by none other than Major T.E. Lawrence himself. Given the tribes and peoples involved, the wonder is not all the regional instability since World War I’s end, the wonder is that some states such as Jordan an Saudi Arabia, gelled and held , at all.

    • Maybe it has something to do with sovereignty, jack. If you have enough of a majority of like-minded wanting stability, they seek a sovereign, be it a king or a theology or a constitution. Maybe it’s like minded ethnics, or nationalists, and the most tangible expression is secure borders. Speaking of secure borders…….

  5. There’s always a schwartze in the woodpile. The Wahhabis and Saudis proved that. The Hashemites had served as the hereditary sharifs of Hejaz for centuries and everyone agreed they did a good job. Who knew that a bunch of Jed and Granny Clampetts in arabia incognita would come rumbling out of the desert vastness to throw them down. Islam, and the very nature of “sovereign kings” invites that always.

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