Rough Cuts

October 2, 2013  

Peters’ “Blood borders” map

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.

Middle East borders, as reimagined by Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters (2006).

Middle East borders, as reimagined by  Lt. Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters (2006).

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…”

6 comments
TedBrown3
TedBrown3

Why divide the borders?


Why is there a need for borders to begin with, are we all not human?

Subject
Subject

Yet another western intellectual to save the world DUHH. like Iraq and Afghanistan r solved. Libya and Egypt are solved. Likr israel and Palestine r solved. Please don't do further good to us. Already we are highly obliged. Yours truly's subjects

Phil
Phil

I hope the present Middle East is not THE Middle East. His is...fun. Too bad he didn't include the best part: The Wet Bank/Gaza and Israel switch territories, and arms.

ashish
ashish

I think Peters analysis suffers from white-myopic -knowall limitation. The fight predates Islam and is more of tribal pastime.

Redraw for oil not peace

guest
guest

Ralph Peters knows more about the Middle East becaue he s in the military. Highly praised and highly decorated for leading our troops to fight Jihad. He is not just an analyst. Do some research!

BTR
BTR

Generally I try to be a bit more diplomatic in my language, but I'm going to be candid about this one: Ralph Peters' 'blood borders' map needs to die. It shows a distinct lack of understanding about the Middle East and its history - both in specific facts and in the motifs that symbolize wider historical trends. Ralph Peters, I'm sure, must be an intelligent man to become so popular a commentator and academic, but whatever his specialty, it's not the Middle East.

Trackbacks

  1. […] reshaping the broader Middle East and South Asia was made by retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters for the U.S. Armed Forces Journal in 2006, and has now been made public) if it did not comply with American demands for allowing […]

  2. […] reshaping the broader Middle East and South Asia was made by retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters for the U.S. Armed Forces Journal in 2006, and has now been made public) if it did not comply with American demands for allowing […]

  3. […] El7ob El7ob http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/peters-blood-borders-map/ […]