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Of States and Buldozers

Reader comment on item: Syria's Civil War Could Stabilize Its Region
in response to reader comment: Sad thought

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jun 13, 2015 at 05:56

Hi, Jim

Lebanon was carved out as a "Christian majority" country by the French; but it has since become overwhelmingly Muslim through immigration and emigration.

The Middle East has never divided itself neatly along ethnic lines -- a fact which ought to have long ago convinced Western leaders of the futility of things like the "Two-State Solution". Boundaries have always been fluid; and control of states and countries has always been wielded by the strongest player.

Sometimes terrain has played a part. The parts of present-day Israel that have historically been Jewish-controlled for the longest time, for instance, are Judea and Samaria -- known to the Israelis as the "Occupied Territories" and to the rest of the world as the "West Bank". The reason for this, is that during much of Jewish history in the area, the lowland areas of the coastal plain and Galilee were controlled by the Canaanites, Philistines and others who possessed the most advanced chariots; and the hills of Judea and Samaria were places where it was difficult for chariots to operate in. The Jordanian Arab Legion used this same terrain advantage against the Jewish forces during the Israeli War of Independence.

I don't believe the Middle East will "Balkanize" into ethnically-based statelets any time soon. The United States, the world's greatest power, seems to be against this notion and exerting all its efforts at maintaining the Sykes-Picot boundaries, as amended immediately after WWI, except in the case of Israel, which the world's leaders seem intent on dividing and destroying.

American policy in the region seems to have been formulated by US General William Tecumseh Sherman, famous for his "march to the sea" during the American Civil War, and his suppression of the Indigenous Americans. Sherman relied on the overwhelming population and industrial superiority of the Union, and essentially plowed his way through America's enemies like a buldozer -- oblivious to any existing tribes, differences or sentiments among the locals. It's that kind of thinking, that makes American leaders think they can oppose the Sunnis in Iraq and support them in Syria; all the while supporting the Arabs against the Jews while those same Arabs burn US flags and shout obscenities at us. None of this seems to affect the US buldozer -- which, unfortunately, is not what it was in Sherman's day.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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