19 May 2009

The Way of the World, Coming Anarchy

The image above illustrates the region of "Pushtunistan", a land of great violence and fanaticism. It is easy to see from the map why the violence is impossible for any one country to control. The green Pashtun regions stretch from Pakistan, through Afghanistan, to just inside Iran.
... with the Pashtun in their own homeland free from outside overlords their reason for supporting the Taliban politically would disappear and the incompatibility between the Taliban’s extreme form of Islam and the Pashtun’s own traditional religious forms would put the two at odds more often than not.

Rather than insisting on fighting the Pashtun, the amswer in Af/Pak may lie in giving them back the independence they once had. _Zenpundit
Similar situations exist around the world, with the map of Kurdistan above another example. Tribal peoples are arbitrarily crammed together with ancient enemies inside the same geographical borders, and expected to behave as loyal countrymen to their enemies.

Only the application of extreme force has allowed such arbitrary national constructs to survive for this long, post-colonially. As the power of the US to enforce arbitrary boundaries subsides with the rise of Obama, the lack of a credible world hegemon will allow such tribal conflicts to erupt into full ferocity across multiple parts of the world. In many cases, it will be in the interest of China to encourage such "wars of independence," just as the USSR promoted such violence across much of the world in the 20th century.

World travel is going to become even more interesting than it already has done.

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3 Comments:

Blogger kurt9 said...

The pink area of the map is Baluchistan. The Baluchis also feel that they have nothing in common with the rest of their neighbors and would probably fight for autonomy if the Pushtuns get theirs.

That would leave a "rump" Pakistan state (remember the "rump" Yugoslavia of the 90's?) consisting of Sindhi and Punjabi. I don't think the "rump" Pakistani state can hold together.

The question that the mainstream media never answers me is whether the Taliban islamic fundamentalism movement is limited only to Pushtun or if similar movements are gainly popularity in Sindhi and Punjabi.

Tuesday, 19 May, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

As I understand it, the Taliban are mainly Pushtun. The other ethnic groups may well have their own radical Islamic movements and militia.

Just how the Sunni / Shia schism works its way through these tribal groups, I don't know. Other weird variants of Islam such as Sufi offshoots and hybrid Zoroaster : Islam sects may well exist as well.

Each tribe is its own world. Obama is out of his league, as usual.

Tuesday, 19 May, 2009  
Blogger neil craig said...

Such divisions have to be done honestly & more often than not has not been. Thus Lebanon was designed to have a Christian majority but to include as much territory as possible. Ditto Northern Ireland. About 1/3rd of Croatia had a Serb majority (no longer there)(it was this high a proportion because Serbs were disproportionately rural) & Bosnia never even had a Moslem majority they are simply the largest minority. Another problem is shown by Kosovo where immigration by poor Albanians has changed the demographics - a situation which is clearly happening in California & Texas & is currently being reversed in the Baltic states - whether there is or ought to be an inherent right to immigrants to take territory in the same way as historic communities may does not appear to have an obviously principled answer. Also neat lines rarely exist as per the pocket of Baluchis surrounded by Pashtun shown here or the Catholic half of Belfast surrounded by Protestant countryside.

Nonetheless with the caveat that doing if airly is necessary & not always possible I agree that disaggregation may often be the answer. In black Africa virtually the only country doing well is Botswana which is relatively unitribal. In the rest of the continent there is endemic conflict as to which tribe runs the country & gets the goodies.

Wednesday, 20 May, 2009  

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