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August 7, 2013

Arab Chaos: How Much Does it Matter?


In a piece written by Robert D. Kaplan, Chief Geopolitical Analyst at Stratfor, he puts forth some challenging ideas.

In them he fails to mention had the administration been at all successful in negotiation with Iran to halt their nuclear ambitions, that country would not be among the stable ones in the region.

He also left out the Obama administration's aiding and abetting Syrian rebels by sending war material to Syria.

If as he proposes, said chaos would make it difficult to plan attacks on major U.S. assets at home and abroad, that of course would be good.

With Iran not playing well with others, I would not bet against al Qaeda putting together plans to bring major chaos to U.S. Soil.


Kaplan writes at Forbes (emphasis added) :

Chaos is sweeping the Arab world. Tunisia is in political disarray and can barely control its borders. Libya hardly exists: Tripoli is not the capital of a country but the weak point of arbitration for tribes and militias in far-flung desert reaches. Egypt wallows in a political stasis in which the government has trouble functioning, ideological divisions between the military and Islamists split the country and guns and vigilantism abound.

The Sinai Peninsula has become a mini-Afghanistan. The government of Yemen may on a good day control half of its territory. Syria is in a full-fledged civil war with over 100,000 dead. Iraq, too, barely exists as a state and low-intensity violence there is a feature of life. Bahrain and Jordan are much weakened states compared to previous decades. Significantly, none of this anywhere will be solved anytime soon.

The conventional wisdom is that such chaos is bad for the United States: that anarchy anywhere presents a challenge and threat to the American people. That is certainly true in a values sense, particularly about what it says about our planet. I wrote about that in a 1994 Atlantic Monthly essay, "The Coming Anarchy," in which, among other things, I foresaw chaos in places like Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, both of which collapsed a few years later.

But what if that is not true in terms of the cold logic of power politics? What if Middle Eastern chaos, in terms of America's geopolitical interests, is not quite as bad as we think?

But don't transnational Islamist terrorists like al Qaeda thrive in weakly governed areas? To a degree, yes. And there is a significant threat stream emerging now from new and more autonomous al Qaeda cells throughout a Middle East crumbling into anarchy, as Washington experts and officials have correctly noted during the recent spate of embassy shutdowns. There is another side to the story, however.

Transnational terrorists certainly exist in weakly governed areas witness post-Gadhafi Libya and the attack on the U. S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi last year. But really thriving is another matter.

Thriving in an ungoverned area means to have a zone of control, where you don't have to worry about security threats, so that you can build training camps and develop plans for sophisticated attacks on third countries like al Qaeda did in Afghanistan in the late 1990s through 2001. ...

More here.

Cross posted (edited) from We The People Blog

Posted by DancingCzars at August 7, 2013 11:18 AM

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