Monday, October 07, 2013

The New York Times Redrawn Map of the Middle East

Click to enlarge
The New York Times has a nice map showing how Libya, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen could divide into fourteen independent countries.  However, I have a few geographic comments.

Libya: Fezzan in the southwest has no real ability to survive as an independent state.  It has a population of less than half-a-million and its population.  It really is a province of city-states where each population center is an oasis surrounded by desert.  It does have some oil fields but it would need to be transported elsewhere to get into the market.

Yemen: the North and South Yemen are based off real divides.  North Yemen was an Arab Socialist republic and before that a Fiver Shia Islam Imamate.  South Yemen still has its own nationalism from its Communist days which destroyed its tribal culture.  Before that southern Yemen was controlled by the British and has a more cosmopolitan feel to it than northern Yemen.

Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.  Sunnistan will be geographically pulled into fights for water access and oil fields.  Alawitestan may wish to join with Lebanon to become a large "minority-state" but Lebanon will resist this because it knows this would be another civil war.  A Wahhabistan could never exist.  It must either control the oil fields in Eastern Arabia and the Muslim holy cities in Western Arabia or all the legitimacy the house of Wahab and the house of Saud earned will be meaningless.  War and annihilation for the Wahabbis.  No where in between.

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