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The great unraveling of Middle East nation-states
Jan 6th, 2014 by Warren Swil

National governments

are becoming

increasingly irrelevant

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki effectively governs less and less of his “country’s” territory.

Blog note: Due to recent relevant events, this post has temporarily been rescued from the archives.

RECENT EVENTS in Iraq and its neighbors have once again put the focus on the diminishing role of nation states in the turbulent region.
Sunni rebels said to be supported by Al Qaida have all but taken control of Iraq’s western Anbar province, with sectarian strife now spreading eastwards from Syria across the two countries’ long, porous border.
The same organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (the Levant), keeps appearing in reports of clashes in both countries and in Lebanon, already reeling from a massive influx of Syrian refugees.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad now effectively governs only a tiny sliver of territory. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki seems to be heading in the same direction – with diminishing amounts of territory under his government’s control.
What role – if any – is left for these central governments?


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Obama’s choice of diplomacy over war carries grave risk

PERCEPTION OF US STENGTH AS ALLY IN MIDDLE EAST SUFFERS AGAIN
The deal with Iran over its nuclear ambitions overshadowed, for most part, the Monday announcement that a new attempt would be made to convene peace talks on Syria.
But the two are inextricably intertwined.
President Obama has pivoted away from belligerence and that is admirable. But the cost to America’s ability to influence events in the turbulent Middle East is still unfolding.
With the response in Jerusalem and Riyadh, it has seemingly suffered another decline.


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Syria conflict morphs into proxy war for outsiders

TANGLED WEB ENSNARES FIGHTERS FROM MANY COUNTRIES
It is becoming increasingly clear that the conflict in Syria can no longer be seen purely as a civil war, and its effects are dramatically spilling over into neighboring countries.
What seems to be emerging is an alignment of combatants with either the Shiite regime in Iran or the Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, both of which have deep pockets and the willingness to spend vast sums to further their disparate goals.
The Syrian battlefield is becoming a war-by-proxy between the region’s two most powerful players.


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New developments imperil Iran nuclear talks

ISRAEL, SAUDI COOPERATION COMPLICATES CHANCE OF DEAL
With negotiations set to resume in Geneva on Wednesday over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, ominous developments mostly behind the scenes have enormously complicated any chances of a settlement.
The current compromise has the potential to divide America from some of its staunchest allies in the Middle East, and needs to be approached with extreme caution in case it backfires in ways not yet imagined that could change the balance of terror in the volatile region and actually increase the chance of a nuclear conflict.


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BOMBSHELL: Saudi Arabia could get nukes before Iran

BBC REPORTS ATOMIC WEAPONS READY FOR SHIPPING FROM PAKISTAN
In a stunning development that could change the balance of terror in the Middle East – and the world – it was reported that Saudi Arabia might be able to get atomic weapons before Iran.
While this development has drawn little attention in the U.S., it has received considerable play abroad, especially in Israel.
A Saudi Arabia with immediate access to atomic weapons would enormously complicate the delicate balance of terror in the Middle East and the world. It is a game changer, and deserves far more attention.


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US foreign policy in shambles as blunders multiply

DECLINE OF AMERICAN INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD SPEEDS UP
The signs are everywhere that America’s foreign policy is in disarray. Allies are anxious; enemies are gleeful.
They all point to a surprising acceleration in the decline of U.S. influence everywhere, most particularly in the volatile Middle East.
Germany, France, Brazil and Mexico are disgusted with over-reach by American spy agencies. Israel and Saudi Arabia disagree on vital issues of Iran, Syria and Egypt.
Russia is harboring U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden, while China is threatening a de-Americanization of the world financial system.
Do we need any more evidence that American foreign policy is a shambles? That U.S. influence is on the decline – and dropping like a stone?
It is not too late. It should be made a top priority.


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SYRIA CRISIS: As violence spirals, solution seems elusive

COMPLEXITY DEFIES ATTEMPTS TO START PEACE PROCESS
As the violence in Syria continues to spiral out of control, attempts to begin a process to end it are stumbling.
But the complexity cannot be an excuse to not try.
After the disastrous and costly nation-building misadventures of the Bush/Cheney years in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US electorate is weary of war.
But sitting on the sidelines while the Middle East implodes is not an option. The US is the only country with the resources and means to play a leading role in solving this seemingly intractable problem.
Unequivocally, it must do so.


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Post-Ottoman map of Middle East must be dumped

STRIFE IN SYRIA THREATENS REGION’S ARTIFICIAL NATION-STATES
It seems as if the remnants of the Ottoman empire created by the British and French colonialists a century ago are imploding as nationalism fails and each country’s internal divisions fissure into armed conflict.
Either the west can stand by idly and watch the region implode, with the death, destruction and global economic fallout that entails, or we can try to contain the damage through cajoling, threats and diplomacy.
Men and women of good conscience everywhere should begin a serious discussion of this vitally important, globally significant development of historic proportions. It is not too late to start the debate.


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