Mideast Peace: Is Partition the Answer?
So how does one go about borderizing the super-conglomerate?
By building a 12-14 state map in the territory currently called "the Arab world" -- including Israel -- that would cut the current number of existing states in half, posits Myhilll. Unrealistic?
History, Myhill says, has taught us that nothing else is going to work.
The problem is that in the Middle East, the borders were drawn by colonial powers and their local clients and almost all of them don't make any sense ethnically. There are all sorts of groups who don't have the right of self-determination -- the Maronites in Lebanon, the Alawites in Syria, the Dinka and Fur in Sudan, the Kurds in Iraq, the Shiites in Bahrain -- and they're using all sorts of tactics to try to get this right. In some cases two groups don't recognize the right to self-determination of each other; for example, the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq or the Jews and Palestinians in Israel/Palestine.
And getting the Arab states to agree to a divide?
No, no, no. In Myhill's book, this is flawed logic and exactly the reason for stalled Western attempts at forging stability in the Mideast. Arab states and Arab governments are silly, artificial creations, says Myhill. Forget them.
They're weak; they have no legitimacy with the people. Islamists understand this and that's why they're so effective; Westerners don't understand this and that's why they're so ineffective. You don't do it through the states; you do it through the people.
But just how do you "do it through the people" when the region is undemocratic and sliding toward Islamo-fascism?
Myhill suggests a state-by-state solution. Snag support among moderate Sunni leaders in Iraq, establish secret ties with the Alawite in Syria, prop up a separate rebel government in Sudan, and put together teams of Maronite-led supporters to partition Lebanon. Repeat the partition recipe in the remaining Arab states according to native dialect.
And Islamo-fascism, by the way, won't be stopped through democracy, he argues. Hitler and Mussolini were democratically elected. The solution? Again, one must build nation states with single nationalities along dialect lines. Turkey for the Turks. Uzbekistan for the Uzbeks. Albania for the Albanians. Bangladesh for the Bengalis. Malaysia for the Malays. Islamo-fascism is kept under wraps in these states because religion is subordinated to the state.
"Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Indonesia have rejected the model of the nation state and it's exactly in these states that we see Islamo-fascism developing and either destabilizing the government or taking it over altogether," concludes Myhill.
To me, this appears to be an overly simplistic approach to the complex and growing problem of fundamentalism. But perhaps that's merely simplistic Western thinking.
If nothing else, re-working the Western approach to addressing Mideast matters is worth a nod. If there's something we all can agree on, it's that the approach we've taken so far is getting us nowhere.