21 January 2014
To the outside world, the Middle East and North Africa is a cauldron of intractable conflicts within intractable conflicts, much like sets of Russian dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. The list of animosities is endless: Palestinians and Jews hate each other. Arabs detest Persians. Turks distrust Kurds as agents of colonialism. Sunnis despise Shiiites. Israelis see black African refugees as a mortal threat. Gulf citizens envision hordes of Asian and Arab workers claiming title to their family-run states. And Muslims eye non-Muslims as impure encroachments.
Yet as disparate as the concerns of Arabs, Iranians, Israelis, Turks, Sunnis, Shi’ites, Christians and Kurds seem, they all are rooted in often existential fears frequently exploited for elites’ political expediency.
… James M. Dorsey is a Senior Fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture at the University of Wurzburg and author of forthcoming book “The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer”.
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