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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid