Signaling a wider chasm
In the New Yorker, Robin Wright analyzes the meaning of this week’s vote for Kurdish independence. Read “Kurds Voted. So Is the Middle East Breaking Up?” in full at http://bit.ly/2ydozD4. Here’s an excerpt.
The Kurdish vote reflects an existential quandary across the entire Middle East: Are some of the region’s most important countries really viable anymore? The world has resisted addressing the issue since the popular protests in 2011, known as the Arab Uprising, or Arab Spring, spawned four wars and a dozen crises. Entire countries have been torn asunder, with little to no prospect of political or physical reconstruction anytime soon. Meanwhile, the outside world has invested vast resources, with several countries forking out billions of dollars in military equipment, billions more in aid, and thousands of hours of diplomacy — on the assumption that places like Iraq, Syria, and Libya can still work as currently configured. The list of outside powers that have tried to shape the region’s future is long — from the United States and its European allies to the Russian-Iran axis and many of the Middle East’s oil-rich powers. All have, so far, failed at forging hopeful direction. They’ve also failed to confront the obvious: Do the people in these countries want to stay together?