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Near and Middle East Futures

Reader comment on item: Israel's Predicament at 60: World's worst neighbourhood

Submitted by Charles W. Conn (Canada), May 8, 2008 at 14:38

Given that free advice is usually worth what one pays for it, but that ideas do sometimes drop out of the sky, I'm taking the liberty of sending this to you. It's been on my mind. Gwyn Dyer has recently predicted that a day will come when Euro and US powers will throw up their political hands in disgust and leave the near and middle east to its own political devices – leaving the people there to create their own nation states.

The entire area is the birthplace of Western Civilization. Its peoples have been trampled over by as many overlords as history records. Current borders were imposed by outsiders. Rivers don't divide, they unite like the veins of a leaf. The valleys of river systems form coherent ecosystems. Since the dawn of civilization, mankind has settled river valleys. Why not apply this reality, and historical tribalism, to new states' borders. The following are just idea-starters for you to ponder.

From west to east: Create the city-state of JERUSALEM. Singapore is one – why not? It's a holy city for three major religions. If it was an independent state, other states would be compelled to leave it alone or go to war with it! Pretty bad PR that. And think of the cachet of being able to say, "I'm a citizen of Jerusalem." Talk up the Levant as a five-state region – LEBANON, SYRIA, JORDAN, JERUSALEM and CANAAN.

Get rid of the language supporting the Jewish/Muslim feud about acreage. Cancel "Israel, Palestine, West Bank and Gaza" from the vocabulary and start shifting the talk toward the ancient term CANAAN as the name for a new secular state embracing it all. [Added today: Another option might be to merge Jordan and Israel into a new state of Canaan, as in c.1200 BCE, making the Levant a four-state region,]

Possibly retain the name IRAQ, or, rename it MESOPOTAMIA – the land between the rivers. Give it ALL the land drained by the Euphrates and Tigris river systems. Possibly create three semi-autonomous provinces – Assyria, Babylonia and Sumer – using the ancient names for those territories. The result would be a significant increase in territory for Iraq/Mesopotamia at the expense of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and Iran.

Enlarge Georgia to take in the Black Sea coast originally settled by Mycenaen Greeks (the Argonauts et al). Enlarge Armenia to take in the Lake Van area – traditional lands of Armenians. Enlarge Azerbaijan to take in the Azerbaijani province of northern Iran around Lake Urmia. Turkey would lose a lot of territory, but, they were enemies in WWI, unhelpful in WWII and gained their territory by conquest. Turkey has been losing territory since the 19th century – territory that they'd conquered and whose peoples were subjected to notoriously harsh subjugation. Those formerly independent peoples still under the Turk's cruel thumb would love to escape from under it.

The proposed removals would leave Turkey in possession of the provinces of the ancient region of Anatolia which, from the earliest civilizations, has been a multi-state peninsula anyway. Turkey would no longer contain hostile minorities costing zillions of bucks to control. A really off-the-wall notion would be to consider the longer-term possibility of creating a new state around CONSTANTINOPLE on both sides of the Dardanelles, Sea of Marmora and Bosporus.

Many states in the world are no bigger! Eliminate Afghanistan. The Brits created this artificial state in the 19th century to serve as a buffer between Russia and the Indian Ocean. It worked! But there is no natural nation there. All it does is cultivate dope and terrorists. Divide it between IRAN (gives and takes territory), TURKMENISTAN, UZBEKISTAN, TAJIKISTAN and PAKISTAN. One secular government is having trouble repressing the murdering Islamist Taliban. Five ought to be able to do the job! Tot up the territorial gainers versus losers. Start selling guys!

Charles W. Conn. September 2, 2007.

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