Marc Ruel-Gerecht wrote a very informative analytical essay about today’s chaos in the Middle East using Ibn Khaldoun’s historical perspective. Ibn Khaldoun was the first known sociologist to analyze the history of Islam from a philosophical angle. Reading it compels you to ask important Middle East questions.
The essay connects Islam’s past with today’s logical explanation of the Islamic State (IS). For those interested in understanding how Islam never shelves the past but rather adopts it to glorify its present, Ruel-Gerecht essay is a good read.
The essay, though, raises many questions about a region in turmoil. Borders are flexing, people are forced to relocate, Arab governments are on the defensive, and a dawn is rising with a shadow new order many do not grasp.
To understand where we are going, it is important to understand where we have been. We experienced the “strongman” theory, which saw the rise of extremism; we experienced “democratization”, which failed to co-exist with extremism; and we experienced long-lasting wars on terror that produced dismal results.
The new shadow order rising is the Federalization of the region where new countries, drawn by ethnic concentration, are isolated to contain violence and to force harmony by separating the ideologies behind each ethnic group. Think a US Sate within the Bible belt as opposed to a western liberal US State like California or Oregon.
This brings us to the important Middle East questions to ask if this new order, taking shape in Syria first, continues to evolve.
- If the minorities of Syria carve the west coast along the Mediterranean to include territories controlled by Hezbollah, what will happen to the Lebanese civilian Sunnis now fighting for survival in Tripoli? Will they be given a safe passage to the east of Syria to join the civilian Sunnis Assad is pushing eastward, will they be directed southward towards Beirut, or will they be gassed by Assad? What will happen to the minorities of Lebanon unwilling to cajole the Assad regime or Hezbollah?
- What will Israel do if it finds herself constantly under threats on its northern and southern borders by secular, Shia, and Sunni terrors? Will Israel be able to co-exist with this new order by collaborating with the Kurds to contain terror?
- The Kurds are consolidating in Syria and eventually the UN may recognize the common terrains in Syria and Iraq as an independent country. What will happen to the Kurds of Turkey? Will Turkey permit them to split to join Kurdistan or will Turkey find itself drawn in its own civil war? What will happen to the Kurds of Iran?
- When ISIL loses eventually, who will replace it? Will it be the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood, or al-Qaeda? Does the new order foresee a war between the different Sunni extremists to annihilate each other and to permit the rise of a tired Sunnism ready for Reformation?
- Sunnis will control the Furat River (Euphrates) from its source in Turkey through its entry point into Baghdad. How will control of that precious resource affect the Levant region? Will NATO eventually regulate its flow to abet extremism and terror emanating from Syria and Iraq?
- If the Sunnis of Iraq and the Sunnis of Syria find themselves controlling borderless lands, how will Iran support the Assad regime when the Shia crescent is now disjointed?
- Will Saudi Arabia see the Sunnis of Syria and Iraq as splitting the Shia crescent or will Iran, now the de facto force in Yemen, see herself at an advantage dominating all the Sunnis North of Yemen?
- What roles will North African countries play in the Levant? What role will Iran play in North African countries?
- Is the Muslim Brotherhood Order dead or will it rise again, as a political, Sharia-driven party and an alternative to the other militaristic violent Sunni groups, to threaten the region?
- What will happen to non-violent Arab countries facing both Sunni and Shia terror? Will they collapse and morph or will they survive?
There is one certainty in all this chaos. When the US interferes in the region, it is either to shape the lands of the region to adopt this new order or to direct traffic to accept it.
America is tired of waging wars on its own dime and sacrifices. Its new role, it seems, is to forge and fashion rather than to foray and educate.