Monday, September 29, 2014

Islamic State (7) Reshaping the Middle East

The shape of the Middle East is changing. The nationalism that has dominated history for the last few centuries is losing its power. National states are beginning to fragment and fail.

Nationalism is a relatively modern notion. For most of history people belonged to a local community. They surrendered their freedom to a local leader in return for protection. By the end of the 17th century, these small local political units were no longer viable. With the beginning of the industrial revolution, much larger markets were needed to support economic growth. Modern warfare needed a much large economic base to pay and equip a large permanent army. A few hundred soldiers loyal to a local leader were not enough.

Better communication and travel allowed people to expand their range of contacts to a much larger group. All over Europe and North America, the nation state emerged. The principalities and provinces of Germany were united in a single nation. The same thing happened in Italy.

World War 1 and World War 2 were fights to the death between powerful nation states. The wars were fought with all the resources of the nation. Co-opting the wealth and people of the nation allow war on a massive scale.

The season for nation states is already passing. Globalisation has opened a worldwide market that makes national borders redundant. Many of the functions of the state are shifting to larger regional unions. Scotland does not need to be part of Britain, when it can belong to the EU and NATO.

Events in Scotland are sign of the times. This bid for independence failed, but the next will succeed, but that is not the end of it. We will see small groups breaking away from nation states all over the world.

Nationalism has never been as strong in the Moslem world. The lack of a distinction between church and state makes Islam a much more political religion than Christianity. The spiritual leader of Islam was always a political leader too. The nation states established at the end of World War 1 were a creation of the European powers. They were imposed by the European colonialists to protect their economic and religious interests. Local culture and history was ignored. The north eastern border of Jordan extends way up towards Iraq like a land bridge between Syria and Saudi Arabia, so the British could build an oil pipeline from Mosul to Haifa. It now provides a path for the Islamic State to push back to to Jordan.

The artificial nation states created by France and Britain after World War 1 are falling apart. They will be replaced by new powerful players reflecting the dominant principalities and powers.

  1. Iran will continue to be powerful force, as the leader of Shia Moslems. It will continue to be controlled by the Prince of Persia.

  2. The Islamic State will become the leader of Sunni Moslems. The centre of power will shift from Saudi Arabia to the Islamic State. The Islamic State will be controlled by the Assyrian Spirit.

  3. Egypt with 80 million people will continue to be an important player. Isaiah describes the principality and power controlling Egypt as a fly, in contrast to the Assyrian bee (Is 8:18). Whereas the Assyrian spirit stings like a bee, the spiritual power controlling Egypt is attracted to death and disease. Egypt will be a strong influence, but less important as a military power.

The Islamic State is a project to do away with the artificial borders and puppet states created by the Europeans powers. Bombing campaigns by the imperialistic powers will be seen as an attempt to protect their interests and prevent Moslems from establishing their own identity.

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