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Excellent diary.  But I have to agree with TG on Iraq.  While I do think that there are some true believers inside the Policy Wonk Land of think-tanks in DC, I don't think the real players give a damn about the Iraqi people.  However, I have little doubt, afer talking with so many people, pro- and anti-war, that the public does care a great deal about the Iraqis.  That's the only reason the Bushies have been able to keep the war going.

Much of Islamism has its roots in recent history, but the conflicts are much deeper than simply anger at the elites and countries like the US, Israel and Britain (and Denmark and so on).  Remember that countries in the Middle East are divided by a bunch of bullshit borders drawn up after World War I.  Do we really think the Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'ites would've wanted to share a country?  We need only look at the television to find the answer.

And, yes, Muslims in the Middle East are still angry about what happened in the WWI era.

There's a great deal of nationalism inherent to the Islamist movement, and it has been present for much longer than Islamism, itself.  Islamism -- and this is, basically, what Jerome said above -- simply provides a unifying theme in an area where there isn't really any other alternative.  There are no (American) "liberals" or "conservatives" or "socialists" or (American) "libertarians" in the ways we think of these terms.

It's a much more narrow fight, once we look above the tribe level.  But, again, at the tribe level, there are deep tensions between various nationalists, too.  And I think those tensions fuel what is happening in the region.  Those tensions also, unfortunately, open individuals and groups to exploitation from both sides at the national and supranational levels.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 2nd, 2006 at 08:26:13 AM EST
This all didn't really start as a result of the First World War, though. Until then the region was controlled by the Ottoman Empire for about 400 years.
by asdf on Thu Mar 2nd, 2006 at 08:44:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, and that, too, connects with the issue of nationalism.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 2nd, 2006 at 10:06:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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