Muslim Failed States

According to an analysis by Kobi Michael and Yoel Guzansky in an article in the Middle East Quartely (https://www.meforum.org/articles/2018/the-dangers-of-failing-middle-east-states) there is a significant danger that failed Muslim States represent a threat to the international order based on established nation-states.

Since the misnamed Arab Spring of 2010, during which mobs replaced the established order in most Arab countries, many Arab and other Muslim States have descended into disorder and chaos.  The strong dictators who kept some of these states together have been replaced in most of them by civil wars and the development of such non-state actors as al Qaeda, the Islamic Caliphate (misnamed IS) and the Iranian Shia revolution. Many of the States have no ethnic or linguistic basis, such as Iraq that was patched together by British colonialism from Shia, Sunni and Kurdish regions.

A few Arab States have been immune from this regression, namely Egypt, in which the Army asserted itself and its leading general was appointed President, and the Kingdoms of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.  The others, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan have become failed states.  The UN definition of a failed state is one in which the Government is too weak to be able to protect its citizens and supply them with essential services.

PM Netanyahu pointed out in his speech last year at the Chatham House that the Palestine Authority is in effect a failed state, like the other Arab states.  It not only has a weak and a massively corrupt government, under Pres. Abbas.  But, it is also divided between the West Bank controlled by the Fatah/PLO and Gaza controlled by the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas.  Notwithstanding several attempts, there is no real possibility of a reconciliation between them.  Let’s be frank, there is no possibility that Israel could make any peace agreement with such an entity, and there is indeed no realistic possibility of a two-state solution.  Those in BDS who call for the destruction of Israel and for the establishment of a Palestinian State in its place, are simply not facing the reality of the Arab/Muslim world.  The UN itself, not known for its sympathy for Israel, in a Report in 2016 concluded that the Arab/Muslim world is the most unstable region in the world and has fundamental problems of state identity and coherence that represents a true threat to the established state-based world order.

The Iranian revolution preceded the Arab Spring, and from its inception in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini called for expansion of the Shia religion and culture to the whole Muslim world.  This was a complete reversion of former Shia policies and has resulted in the development of an arc of Shia conquest from Iran to the Mediterranean sea, through Iraq (with its Shia majority), Syria (with its Alawite regime) and Lebanon (with Hizbullah).  One can consider this a mirror image of the Islamic Caliphate conceived by the ISIS terrorist movement, that sought to establish a Sunni Caliphate on the ruins of the nation states, Syria, Iraq and others.  While the  Sunni IS has been largely destroyed, the Shia counterpart is very active, with its center in Iran.

The Saudis are very concerned by these developments, they see themselves as the center of Sunni religion and culture being out-flanked by the Sunni terrorist organizations and by the hated Shia.  There is a new player on the scene, the Surruris, a combination of extreme Sunni terrorism and Salafi religious fundamentalism.  This is why the new King Salman bin Mohammed is making liberal reforms, such as opening cinemas, allowing women to drive and to travel without the permission of their husbands.  He sees his only possible future as embracing the reality of the modern nation-state.  Only thus can he expect US and Israeli sympathy and support.

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