Wednesday, March 2, 2011

End of Pan-Arabism?

Leon Hadar (Cato Institute) has a nice essay at the National Interest site, about the "burying" of pan-Arabism and the emergence instead of local nationalisms largely rooted in the 20th-century state system in the Middle East, though with overtones of ethnic, sub-regional nationalism in (for example) Iran and Turkey, as well as among the Kurds.

The Arab Middle East and its peripheries will not evolve into a unified Islamist empire that will try to obliterate Israel. Instead, the Arab and non-Arab Middle East will take the shape of a colorful mosaic of nations, religious and ethnic groups, and a new regional balance of power under which one should expect growing tensions among Egypt, Iran, and Turkey. Israel and other regional players—including neighboring Europe that shares historical, geographical, economic, and demographic ties with the region— will probably look to exploit this tension.

And the appropriate role for the US? Stop supporting the autocrats, and allow the peoples of the region to shape their own futures.  All good, although . . .

The issue of the Arabs of Gaza/West Bank/Palestine still hangs out there. And as long as Israel refuses to make what they will surely see as "painful concession" - but which much of the rest of the world sees as conforming to the tenets of established international law - extremist/jihadist Islamists are going to have a tool with which to attack and isolate Israel and its economy.

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