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View Diary: Syria in context (not a rant) (215 comments)

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  •  That's a big can of worms... (9+ / 0-)

    The British and French, over American objections, drew the lines specifically to divide ethnic and sectarian groups between new states - but not to encourage new multi-ethnic national identities, but to prevent organized opposition to colonial control.  The Kurds are the best example, having been deliberately divided between three nations and shut out of the political process in two of them that came under British and French rule.

    The problem is that the new nations really were almost completely artificial. They really made no sense.  By and large, most of the states threw together Ottoman administrative divisions that were logical in terms of taxation, but made little effort to group culturally similar people together.  Mosul, for example, always had more in common with Damascus than with Baghdad and Basra.  

    That's not really answering your question, except that the Brits and French also deliberately empowered certain ethnosectarian groups and disempowered others. It wasn't as if the colonial era encouraged multi-ethnic communities.  There were winners and losers, and the colonial powers set in place th zero-sum game that has persisted until now:  Make sure your ethnosectarian group can monopolize central state power, and co-opt or persecute the periphery.  

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 04:45:27 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I understand what you are saying, but (5+ / 0-)

      it is not like the Ottoman Empire was without its own frailties and conflicts.

      Not that blame is unwarranted, but the big picture - and when we are talking Ottoman Empire we are really talking "big" - aren't we back to a model that effectively was based on "empire" and dictatorial rule and king-makers that created winners and losers?  These cycles keep repeating themselves in the region.

      Honestly, I believe as I have for many years now after having had enough experience with Muslim men that unless and until these groups of people stop subjugating and oppressing women, they are going to struggle mightily, remain largely impoverished and continue to undermine their own people's great potential.  I see their problem as being as crippling as the South's problems with racism (and emergent racism across the US that will take its economic and societal toll).  The sectarian rigidity further complicates the situation.  Any norm that creates barriers for any portion of a population's to achieve impedes the potential success of the greater population, and I believe that to be true in whatever country and in whatever religious/cultural context.  It just so happens that in the Middle East and Central Asia, the extreme interpretations of Islam are having really extreme and horrible consequences for their own people.

      All of these countries as well as our own could do with some honest and serious self-reflection right now.

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