Middle East: The post Sykes-Picot order (Part 3)

Middle East : Sykes-Picot
Middle East : Sykes-Picot

Middle East : “Balkanization” strategies

Several articles and publications revealed that at least some Western strategists contemplate the idea of balkanizing the region into feuding rump states, micro-states and mini-states, which will be so weak and busy fighting each other that they will be unable to unify against foreign powers and multinational corporations. They assume that after a prolonged period of destruction and chaos in the region, the people of the Middle East may be so weary that they will accept a Western imposed order as a means of ending the fighting, even though the very same Western forces have been responsible for creating much of the intolerable chaos.

An example of such a strategy was published by British-American historian Bernard Lewis in the autumn 1992 issue of ‘Foreign Affairs’, under the title Rethinking the Middle East. It envisaged the potential of the region’s so-called “Lebanon-ization”, since most of the states of the Middle East are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a process. If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common national identity or overriding allegiance to the nation state. “The state then disintegrates – as happened in Lebanon – into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties. If things go badly and central governments falter and collapse, the same could happen, not only in the countries of the existing Middle East, but also in the newly independent Soviet republics, where the artificial frontiers drawn by the former imperial masters left each republic with a mosaic of minorities and claims of one sort or another on or by its neighbors.”

Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger also mentioned in 2013, speaking at the Ford School, his desire to see Syria balkanized into “more or less autonomous regions”, in addition to comparing the region to the Thirty Years War in Europe: “There are three possible outcomes. An Assad victory. A Sunni victory. Or an outcome in which the various nationalities agree to co-exist together but in more or less autonomous regions, so that they can’t oppress each other. That’s the outcome I would prefer to see. But that’s not the popular view…. I also think Assad ought to go, but I don’t think it’s the key. The key is; it’s like Europe after the Thirty Years War, when the various Christian groups had been killing each other until they finally decided that they had to live together but in separate units.”

Such an unit was mentioned in a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report, formerly classified and recently released, which reveals that the powers supporting the Syrian opposition – “Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” – wanted to create a Salafist principality in Eastern Syria in order to isolate the Syrian regime which is considered the strategic depth of the Shiite expansion (Iraq and Iran). The report also mentioned the possibility that what was then the “The Islamic State of Iraq” (Daesh) could “declare an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”.

The pattern of balkanization is also to be seen in Libya. Following the NATO’s 2011 war, the country has essentially been split into three parts, with Cyrenaica comprising the East of the country, and the West split into Tripolitania in the Northwest and Fezzan in the Southwest. Libya is now a failed state, lacking a central government and stricken by tribal warfare.

Source: EURASIA Press&News

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