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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

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Interesting thoughts on the future....

....of the Middle East from the Adventures of Chester. I really enjoyed reading this article. There's some interesting positing on the what-ifs of the Iraqi outcome.
This much is true. The Iraqi terrorist insurgency is largely Sunni. But is the war on terrorism restricted solely to Sunnis? Is the Bush administration pursuing a policy of detente with Iran? The Iranians are Shi'ite, and their Pasdaran has long supported Hizballah (Party of God -- also Shi'ites). Hizballah are certainly war on terror material . . . does it seem wise to think that the US will discriminate against threats based on their religious origin? Don't Bush's latest remarks in his inaugural imply that whatever his choices with Iran, he would prefer it were a more fully-functioning democracy?

The US is engaged in a game of long-term modernization and alliance construction in the Middle East. it is creating new nation and state-based centers of power to replace religious centers of power. The new centers are allied with the US: Afghanistan, a nation-state, replaces the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, which were ethnically and religiously-based. In Iraq, a Sunni and tribe-based power center is replaced with a Shi'ite and Kurd-dominated nation-state (it's a gamble, but can certainly succeed). Whereas the old power centers in the Islamic world looked like this:

1. Sunni Wahabbi dictatorship in Afghanistan
2. Sunni Wahabbi dictatorship in Saudi Arabia
3. Shi'ite clerical dictatorship in Iran
4. Ba'athist Sunni secular dictatorship in Iraq
5. Ba'athist Sunni secular dictatorship in Syria,

the new power centers are so:

1. Aghani-nation state.
2. Mixed ethnicity Iraqi nation-state.
3. Sunni Wahabbi terrorist insurgency in Sunni Triangle, Iraq

If the insurgency is defeated, no longer will the populations of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia see their world solely in terms of religious blocs. National blocs, mainly mixed-ethnicity nations, will have replaced them.
I must confess, I hadn't really considered this aspect of the issues in the mid-east. I think the writer is correct that, if the Bush administration succeeds, the mid-east will be dramatically re-aligned along secular lines.

Not bad for a hick from Texas who can't speak worth a lick.