On Sept. 29, veteran foreign-affairs reporter Robin Wright offered a vision for remapping the Middle East to alleviate tension. The redrawn map, she mused in the New York Times, could be “a strategic game changer for just about everybody, potentially reconfiguring alliances, security challenges, trade and energy flows for much of the world, too.” Perhaps her article and map will stir productive debate; it is certain to become a lightning rod for conspiracy theorists.
AFJ can assert this because of a very similar exercise undertaken by Army Lt. Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters in the June 2006 AFJ. In “Blood Borders”, Peters suggested that a reimagining of Middle Eastern and Asian borders along ethnic, sectarian and tribal lines might ease regional tensions. The article and the accompanying map were — and continue to be — widely taken as Washington’s blueprint for imperial meddling.
Today, the article and map remain among the most-visited pages on the AFJ website.
Wrote Peters: “While the Middle East has far more problems than dysfunctional borders alone — from cultural stagnation through scandalous inequality to deadly religious extremism — the greatest taboo in striving to understand the region’s comprehensive failure isn’t Islam but the awful-but-sacrosanct international boundaries worshipped by our own diplomats. …
“The boundaries projected in the maps accompanying this article redress the wrongs suffered by the most significant ‘cheated’ population groups, such as the Kurds, Baluch and Arab Shia, but still fail to account adequately for Middle Eastern Christians, Bahais, Ismailis, Naqshbandis and many another numerically lesser minorities…”