Monday, August 11, 2014

A Crisis a Century in the Making

Vali R. Nasr, NYT
AUG. 10, 2014

WASHINGTON — America’s tentative return to the battlefields of Iraq, however reminiscent it is of unfinished American business there, is also a deadly reminder that the Arab world is still trying to sort out the unfinished business of the Ottoman Empire, a century after it collapsed.

After World War I, the region’s Arabs were not allowed a proper foundation on which to build stable, functional nations. And in more recent decades, they have been largely unsuccessful in doing so on their own.

Those painful facts are most obvious now in Iraq, where sectarianism has been undoing all of America’s past efforts to forcibly plant a pluralistic democracy in soil made arid by longstanding grievances, inequities, tribal identities and violence.

The Arab world today is the product of maps drawn by the British diplomat Sir Mark Sykes and his French counterpart François Georges-Picot in 1916, and sanctified at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. European rule over Arab states that were only nominally independent followed; this left these states struggling with legitimacy ever since. When the Europeans left, they were followed by dictators who talked of nationalism, but failed to convince their own citizens that they were important participants in the nation.

(More here.)


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home