Lines: Time to scribble new ones

American Thinker, AZ
July 14 2005

Lines: Time to scribble new ones
July 14th, 2005

Maps and globes can be fascinating. Interesting to study while
engaging one’s imagination to form images of persons and places. To
visit where one has never been, to venture where one might not dare
go, or to encounter those one will never meet – all this can be yours
with little risk to life or limb. But those colored spaces within
those lines only represent one reality – and not necessarily the
reality of greatest import.

In a rather dystopian view pf the future, Robert D. Kaplan questions
the deceptive simplicity of lines on maps in his soberingly-titled
essay `The Coming Anarchy.’ Writing in the February, 1994 issue of
the Atlantic Monthly (sub. req.), he anticipates the dissolution of
those cartographic scribblings along with the political and social
structures that they ostensibly enclosed. As the world dissolves into
chaos, so too will those tortuously drawn boundaries fade into
meaninglessness.

Kaplan wrote this article at least partly as a result of his visit to
West Africa.. There he found his anarchy hypothesis in an advanced
state of confirmation and the political map of coastal Africa, from
Sierra Leone to Nigeria, to be totally at odds with the reality of
geography and human activity. The boundaries dividing the political
entities are all perpendicular to the coast. The climatological,
religious, ethnic and economic fault lines are all parallel to land’s
end. In reality, those greatly considered and colonially drawn lines
do not exist. The map of West Africa is a fiction that is a reality
only in the map maker’s mind – and ours.

The same, as Kaplan discusses and any map of `Kurdistan’ will show,
is true of the region bordering northern Iraq. Kurdistan, not a
political entity but a term of self-description, is formed by Kurdish
Iraq and the contiguous parts of eastern Turkey, eastern Syria and
Northwestern Iran where the Kurds constitute a substantial majority
of the population. Our political maps show us no more than how the
British and French decided to slice-up the Ottoman Empire at the end
of WW I. I don’t know, but would not be surprised to learn that
splitting up the Kurds politically was done as a means of avoiding
having them organize themselves into a substantial thorn in the
colonial side. And so, what we have here, is a failure of the Kurds
to consolidate. And that is something the Turks have absolutely no
intention of letting them do.

I also assume the same resistance would be forthcoming from the
Iranians and Syrians should the Kurds be so bold as to attempt
secession from their respective countries for the purpose of forming
their own. But the Turks would be the biggest obstacle. They have the
second-largest standing army in NATO and aren’t afraid to use it to
keep the Kurds in line as they currently and eagerly do. There has
been a low-grade insurgency in Turkish Kurdistan for quite some time.
The refusal by Turkey to permit the 4th U.S. Infantry Division to
traverse their territory so that we could simultaneously invade Iraq
from two directions may have very well been prompted by fears that
doing so might ignite an uprising by Turkish Kurds.

More likely would be their fear that once in Turkish Kurdistan we
would actively support such an uprising. This same paranoid fear is
reflected in the novel Metal Storm that sold 100,000 copies in less
than three months after it came out in December of 2004 and is thus
one of the fastest selling books in Turkish publishing history. The
story is about an invasion of Turkey by the U.S. from its bases in
Iraq after we create a pretext that they fired first. We want their
borax for its boron content. Metal Storm Ltd, (MTSX for those of you
interested in weapons systems investments) is also the name of an
Australian company that has just successfully test fired its “area
denial weapon system capability demonstrator” near Adelaide,
Australia. Just coincidence, but somehow this all seems just too
strange.

But even stranger is that this sort of conspiracy theorizing is
standard fare in the Middle East. In this case it may not even be all
that theoretical. With the Kurdistan Worker Party (PKK) giving the
Turks fits and Kurds in Kirkuk being accused by the U.S. and the
Turks of a power-for-oil grab at the expense of Sunni and Turkmen,
anything seems possible. U.S. diplomats are pushing the Kurds to
acquiesce to the Shia majority in Iraq, something they seem highly
unlikely to do. In the background are the Saudis who support the
Sunni Turks and are actively promoting the Wahhabi brand of Islam as
they seem eager to do the world over. Remember the November, 2003
bombings in Turkey? An oppressed Shia minority occupy the eastern
coastal regions of Saudi Arabia where the oil is to be found. All the
while we’re more worried about the Islamabaddy Jihad primarily manned
by Saudi expatriates and financed by $60 per barrel oil.

Meanwhile, Chalabi freely moves back and forth across the Iraq-Iran
frontier as do the Kurds on either side of their section of the
non-existent political line dividing Saddam’s former principality
from that of the former Shah’s. Now the Iraqis have six weeks to
complete their constitution prior to holding elections later in the
year. In the meantime, the Kurds, Sunni and Shia are all going to
bury the hatchet and remain within the old colonial map lines so as
to not obsolete all those lovely cartographic coffee table weights.
Right.

Now I don’t want to sound too awfully pessimistic, do I? But
political stability in the region would probably be better served if
we started out with a map showing the ethnic and religious groupings
rather than political fantasies. Carve up the area after drawing
boundaries around these entities as political units while being
careful to consider economic viability and such things as not leaving
the Kurds land-locked. Give the Saudi oil fields to the Saudi Shia
and join them with the Iraqi Shia. Have the Iraqi Sunnis join their
religious brethren the Wahhabi Saudis in the desert and encourage
them to revert to their nomadic Bedouin past – as they will probably
be forced into doing without all those petro-dollars.

The people not happy with this arrangement would be the Saudis, Turks
and Sunni Iraqis. Which is probably as it should be, as the Saudis
are not really our friends, the Turks are not really our allies, and
the Iraqi Sunnis really are our enemy – as well as the enemy of
democracy in Iraq. We would simultaneously dry up Saudi financing of
world terrorism; pull the teeth of the Turks who are increasingly
hostile to the U.S. while becoming increasingly fond of Islamic
fundamentalism and looking to upgrade their military; and screw
Iraq’s Sunnis, who have it coming for their thirty-years screwing of
the Kurds and Shias. This would, of course, make fast enemies of some
who already are not our true friends. But we’d really score points
with the Kurds and Shia.

Downside considerations? Well, Sunnis do constitute eighty-five to
ninety percent of the Muslim population. Would this plan really sour
things with the rest of the Islamic world? The Saudis have thrown
their monetary weight around in the Balkans, but not without creating
some resentment along with the influence they have purchased. Stephen
Schwartz once again points out that their financial lubrication is
behind most of the world’s Islamic terrorism. But with the Saudis
broke and reduced to the income level of the rest of the Arabs, how
many would still love them? What an opportunity for those same Arabs
to relish a little schadenfreude!

And the Turks? You tell me how many peoples love and cherish the
Turks. That’s almost an oxymoron. The Greeks don’t love the Turks.
The Kurds certainly don’t. The Armenians are still demanding that the
Turks own up to the genocide they began in 1914. Are there any in the
former Ottoman territories who do? Call it empire hangover.

And the Iranians? The Iraqi and Iranian Shia are going to work it out
on their own no matter what we do.

The Syrians are probably not worth mentioning, but then, I just have.

What about the doomsday oil field destruction devices rumored to have
been put in place by the Saudis? Well, if they exist, they didn’t put
them in. They don’t know how. Westerners built and run the oil
production infrastructure. So it must have been a foreign outfit that
installed the system. Maybe even an American company. And I don’t see
how it could be done without someone on our side knowing about it.
Would just have to be part of the planning. Even if we couldn’t
prevent all destruction of the fields, at least the Wahhabis would
lose their funding. Nothing worthwhile comes without risk nor without
cost.

In any case, we cannot be real imperialists without redrawing maps.
Perhaps we are being unrealistic regarding Iraq and the Middle East
if we do not even consider doing so. After all, the lines are on the
maps and not on the ground. They were not divinely drawn nor
scribbled by us.

Time for a new regional atlas. I’m calling Condi, and then Rand
McNally!

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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