Thursday, 12 June 2014

Civil war redraws old boundaries

The Islamic civil war is playing out exactly as our own thirty year war did. Then, the boundaries of old feudal holdings were redrawn to reflect not only the catholic / protestant split amongst Europe's peoples but the respective sustained capabilities of the many warlords each carving out a fiefdom. The move in the news today is the birth of a potential Sunni 'nation' in an area of northern Iraq and Syria that is predominantly Sunni anyway; the map shows the story. 

To the east, the Shia lands in Iran. To the north, Shia and Kurdish peoples in Turkey and to the west the Shia / Christian settlements on the mediterrannean coast. Within the lime-green Sunni crescent you will notice some cerise blobs - Christians, now almost certainly being exterminated - and the brown blob of Yezidi, the 'devil worshippers', now almost certainly also the target of radical Sunni puritanism. 

Of course the whole was once a longtime part of the Ottoman empire, Sykes-Picot and its national boundaries being a thing of a mere hundred years. The press are much excited about 'preserving' Iraq and Syria's boundaries, and whether doing so will draw us back into warfare. The question is why would we want to preserve them? For trade and commercial convenience? To avoid having to change the labels on the tables at the UN? 

I've made the point before that neither Africa nor Islam has undergone the Enlightenment. A way-out thought entered my head this morning, a left-field thought so utterly unconnected with our previous experience that it's worth mentioning here in print. It's Bitcoin. Or rather, the algorithms behind it - secure distributed ledger systems; a leap in technology, economics and social inter-relations that will revolutionise the role of states, governments and economies. As science and technology led Europe from sectarian civil war to Enlightenment, will an utterly novel type of science and technology support the evolution of a new Islamic world in the Middle East?    

11 comments:

DeeDee99 said...

I had never heard of the Yezidi: I've now read about them on Wikipedia and a DT article - so thank you Raedwald for expanding my knowledge.

I have no idea how the disaster in the middle east is going to unfold: but I believe we have interfered enough.

Bush and Blair are chiefly to blame for the disintegration of Iraq -perhaps that's what they really wanted - and I also recall that Armageddon is supposed to be launched by the anti-Christ in that region.

I'm not religious, but it does make you want to read some of the Scriptures again.

Anonymous said...

The gulf states and their masters in Riyadh need a buffer state betwixt them and Iran, trouble is though - when the war Djinn is released ... he won't be put back in his box and this advance after Baghdad: could go all the way literally, "a war gone South".

True. the areas, in the arc from al Raqqah to Mosul - Tikrit are mostly Sunni and I always thought Iraq would split up but what the west has to ask - do 'we' want a formative nation whose values and tenets reflect a barbarism that would make even average Kuwaitis/ Saudis blench with terror?

Could we do aught, even if we wanted to?

The answer to both is NO.

G. Tingey said...

Turkey has made very public warnings about harm coming to its citizens from "ISIS".
Also, are ISIS the nazis to Al-Quaeda's fascists?
I do hope not.
Their striving for an supra-islamic lebensraum is deeply worrying.
Agree re artificial "borders" though - but I suspect it's irrlevant under the circs ....

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Interesting thoughts, Radders. You remind me that too often we neglect to think about the broad sweeps of history, getting to enmeshed in the minute snapshots that make up our own lifetimes.

I am not so sure about Bitcoin - it seems to me that the governments of the Mullahs are quite powerful enough to suppress it and insist on their media of exchange; the ignorance and backwardness they keep "their" people in supports this view, I think. Also see Winston Churchill's famous quote that was so much publicised recently.

Wildgoose said...

I think the interesting aspect of the development of cryptographic currencies is the possibility they provide to implement "Assassination Politics" as suggested by Jim Bell.

It's one way to clean up our government anyway.

Anonymous said...

New Labour, New Britain

Steve

Bloke In Italy said...

Might be a good time to send a middle east Peace Envoy??

Any ideas who???

Anonymous said...

Not fit for purpose, a good fit for the knackers yard.

Since Tony was appointed middle east PEACE envoy.

With - each year passing, the situation in the region deteriorates. Just about everywhere along the Southern Med, into the Levant and through the crescent of Mesopotamia - war and conflict rages.
FFS, perhaps the western nations should ponder, that, a war mongering regime change nutter with more than a touch of the messiah complex - really, honestly, credibly - why was Blair given such a posting?

Or, never one to miss a gift horse, has Blair, with his ill gotten empire, spread its wings into contracts and profiteering from contacts in the arms industry?

Too perfect.

andy said...

The thought of Tony Blair spending 10 years chained to a wall in some dingy cellar under the control of Islamic whackjobs make me feel all fuzzy inside.

Rossa said...

Good article here about the blockchain technology underpinning Bitcoin and what else it can be used for.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10881213/The-coming-digital-anarchy.html

Delphius1 said...

Its quite easy to imagine a scenario where the ultra-Christian Western governments at the time of 9-11 came up with the idea of ending the role of the stabilising dictators in the Middle East to create a power vacuum that would keep the moderate and fundamentalist Islamists tied up in a struggle to the death. Rather they expend resources killing each other than join forces and head West....