Middle East turmoil threatens the post-Ottoman system of states

Smoke rises from the site of bomb explosion in Syria's capital, Damascus (photo: dpa)
Smoke rises from the site of bomb explosion in Syria's capital, Damascus (photo: dpa)

The Arab Spring has exposed the contradictions that have defined the political map of the Middle East for nearly 100 years when the West asserted its own interests while ignoring calls for an independent Arab state. The open revolt against dominating pro-Western regimes which has taken place across the Middle East over the past two years traces its roots back to this time. The region today is changing. New states could be created or old states merge, while the Kurdish question could shake up the system of states for good.

The upheaval in the Arab world is fuelling speculation that the existing system of states and the borders between them could be changed - along with the regimes. The...

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