The Middle East is experiencing a Post-Arab Spring hangover. Many of the dictatorships in Libya and Tunisia has been replaced by hardline Islamist governments that is sobering new revolutionaries with the reality that power did not fully go to the people. The reaction by the liberal-moderates is now a re-revolution against the threat of new oppression by these authoritarian parties.
Egypt actually restored the military dictator of Hosni Mubarak with Sisi, ironically with popular support. The Islamists are now proven to be incapable of being inclusive in democratic government, and the slide back to strong-men or warlords with the most capable armies is unfortunately necessary until this generation of muslims are fed up with this nonsense in their own communities.
In Syria and Iraq, the bloodshed is at unprecedented levels of brutality as the Syrian regime, backed by allies in Hezbollah and Iran are able to retain a foothold on much of the Shiite/Alawite domains. The FSA and Islamist rebel groups are fighting a three-front war against the regime and the ISIS agenda, which we now see is what they had promised, the conquest and creation of a new country ruled by an emir and follows Sunni sharia laws. At best the FSA and rebels can do is carve out their own turf in the north, declare it a Free Republic of Syria with Aleppo as its capital, and build a new mini-state that isn’t ruled by Assad nor ISIS.
In Iraq, the breakup is becoming a reality, and the Sunni forces cannot hope to take Baghdad without drawing Iran into the fight. The Shiite Iraqis will rule the south. The Sunni forces will be able to hold Anbar and the northwest provinces and form a new Arab republic, if ISIS can transition out from a guerrilla force to a national army. Whether sharia law becomes the means of government will be up to the locals, but the secular Baathists may not give them the chance to take it too far. A new Sunni nation incorporating Eastern Syria and Western Iraq needs investments and allies, and Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and Qatar would support a new government but not a much larger guerrilla army bent on terror and assassinations.
America’s military involvement in muslim countries is almost over. The people are tired of endless war and of muslims killing muslims. The upheaval is exacerbated by the massive number of weapons circulating in these countries but those are getting destroyed with every battle. al-Shabab has no chance to recapture Somalia, al-Qaeda has been shown its ineffectiveness in overthrowing the Yemeni government, and the Taliban is gearing up to win the peace in Afghanistan once the Americans leave. Pakistan now has less need to be tolerant of the Taliban and will start to push them back across the border. The Sudan wars and Dafur are only going to flare up again.
Europe is distracted by the Ukraine war but that may now wind down from a negotiated settlement. The new realities and borders being drawn are clear that the post-Colonial structures are finally getting obliterated by the fires of resurgent identities. Kurdistan incorporating the Syrian territories and larger Iraqi areas will be recognized as a new country. Sunni Iraq will become separate from the Shiite Iraq, give them new names as long as they separate and stop killing each other over money and power. The people in the Middle East have rejected imposed American democracy, shown us its flaws, and are now seeking their own path freed of our influence. Half a million lives lost, almost all muslim from Mali to Libya, Sudan to Egypt, Syria and Iraq and still no system of government that can ensure the prosperity of these peoples.
It is simple chemistry, unstable compounds will always break apart at the slightest disturbance, sometimes violently, and then recombine to form a new state. Such as it was, and so it shall be.