News / Middle East

Analysts: Arab Uprisings Could Redraw Middle East Map

Analysts: Arab Uprisings Could Redraw Middle East Mapi
X
August 08, 2013 3:00 PM
With civil war raging in Syria and the conflict threatening to pull in neighboring states, there is speculation about possible geopolitical consequences. Analysts say the map of the Middle East could be redrawn for the first time in a century, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Henry Ridgwell
With civil war raging in Syria and the conflict threatening to draw in neighboring states, there is speculation about possible geopolitical consequences. Analysts say the map of the Middle East could be redrawn for the first time in a century.

The end of WWI almost 100 years ago signaled the death of the Ottoman Empire.

Even before the guns fell silent, Britain and France agreed to carve up Ottoman lands, including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. That was key to understanding the modern Middle East said Michael Clarke, head of the Royal United Services Institute in London. 

“The Arab world as we know it was established effectively in 1916 by the British and the French in the Sykes-Picot agreement. And it hasn’t changed, hardly at all since then. Nothing very strategic has happened apart from the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. And now, this year, for the first time, the map of the Middle East is beginning to be pulled apart,” he said.

That is being felt most in Syria. The country could fragment, said Robert Lowe of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics.

“The balances of power between so many competing elements at the moment seem almost quite equal. It’s hard any one faction gaining much control. The Kurds have gained a lot of control over their towns and they’re struggling and working to sustain that,” he said.

When WWI ended, the Kurds were split among Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

The downfall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003 - and Kurdish autonomy in northern Iraq - emboldened Kurdish claims for an independent state.

But Iraq has shown reslience, said Professor Saad Jawad, also at the London School of Economics.

“First, that they are not prone to go into civil war. Total civil war I mean, like the one Lebanon witnessed in the seventies. And the second thing, that there are no real popular intentions to split the country, even in Iraqi Kurdistan, apart from the parties,” said the professor.

The scars of Lebanon’s recent civil war are still visible across the capital, Beirut. There are fears that this country too could be torn apart as the Syrian conflict reignites Lebanese rivalries.

In recent months, dozens have been killed in clashes between rival Sunni and Shi'ite militants.

The forces unleashed by the Arab uprising could re-draw parts of the Middle East, said Michael Clarke.

“There is a possibility of the Balkanization of the Levant, where we’ll end up with a series of states, semi-states, contested areas, and disputes. And that is new territory for all of us,” he said.

But Clarke said the revolutions across the Arab world were in the early stage and the consequences may not be known for years to come.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs