The New Map of the Middle East

 

The map you see above, and also embedded below, was the main illustration for the piece, which appeared in the January/February 2008 issue. I introduced the conceit of the story this way:

As America approaches the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the list of the war’s unintended consequences is without end (as opposed to the list of intended consequences, which is, so far, vanishingly brief). The list includes, notably, the likelihood that the Kurds will achieve their independence and that Iraq will go the way of Gaul and be divided into three parts—but it also includes much more than that. Across the Middle East, and into south-central Asia, the intrinsically artificial qualities of several states have been brought into focus by the omnivorous American response to the attacks of 9/11; it is not just Iraq and Afghanistan that appear to be incoherent amalgamations of disparate tribes and territories. The precariousness of such states as Lebanon and Pakistan, of course, predates the invasion of Iraq. But the wars against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and especially Saddam Hussein have made the durability of the modern Middle East state system an open question in ways that it wasn’t a mere seven years ago. Continue reading

Truck with rockets, artillery shells captured enroute to Gaza

CAIRO — Egypt, pressed by Israel and the United States, have
reported the seizure of a major rocket shipment bound for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Egyptian security forces were said to have captured one of the largest weapons transport smuggled from Libya and headed for the Gaza Strip.

Officials said Egyptian military and police units intercepted a truck near Libya that contained 108 BM-21 Grad rockets and 400,000 rounds of anti-aircraft artillery shells. Later, the Egyptian-controlled media said about 20,000 rounds were found. Continue reading