Elizabeth Blade of Israel Today Magazine writes a three part series (part one is here, part two is here, part three comes out tomorrow) on the impact of regional history, tribalism, colonialism and religious difference in shaping the political circumstances in the modern Middle East.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Syria is a medley of ethnicities, religions, languages and cultures – all living in one place, where every group is competing in a tug of war, trying to promote its own interests,” said Orit Perlov, a researcher with the Institute of National Security Studies (INSS) specializing in the Arab states.
The same pattern holds true for the rest of the Arab world, where different ethnic communities and tribes have been forced to share the same territory despite significant differences. With the eruption of the upheavals that have rocked the Middle East since late 2010, movements have begun resisting the artificially drawn borders – intact since the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 – that divided control over the Arab provinces of the ailing Ottoman Empire between Britain, France, and Russia after the conclusion of World War I.
Read the rest here.