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…”

10 comments
Pune
Pune

Pakistan already been divided, point is that it is still not represented on the map.

jon du Pontavice
jon du Pontavice

Aah...just a thought, look at the countries sorrounding the redrawn map, you think they will stay out of this change while itsoccuring or will they also play a role in further changing the map, a new map which Ralph Peter's supreme leaders may not at all like.

AbdullahLashari
AbdullahLashari

I think peter make mistake to understand the real  problems , 

peters theory about middle east can't apply on south Asia , Pakistan must be disintegrate by national borders , why Sindh along with Punjab in Pakistan map ? 

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.

goodyonsen
goodyonsen

@TedBrown3 Because; city states can only be established with seemingly a "natural" outcome via political division of relevantly big lands, which means the emergence of new artificial countries... How the hell new countries' societies are to be formed is another story but I can tell that it is largely associated with previous wars and as one result of them, "mass exiles"  or "forced migrations" of a certain ethnic group... As an example from close history; Saddam exiled millions of Kurds to the up north toward Turkish border where later on was declared "fly-free zone" or "36th parallel. After a decade, in 2003, with the US intervention, Northern Iraqi Kurds claimed autonomy which was granted by the US backed central government... Same scenario been going on with Assad and Syrian Kurds by the great help of so-called ISIS in North-East of Syria, just few hundred yards off the Turkish border... Not hard to guess what's lately debated in the region; an expected claim of autonomy from Syrian Kurds in the North-East of the country... 

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/ […]

  4. […] currently exists. In fact, such ideas emerged after 2001 and were reflected in articles such as Blood Borders, which showed how countries like Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan could be divided into more […]