Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vali Nasr muses about the Middle East and the NYT writes a whole article about it

I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that the fact that everyone hates ISIS is not going to completely reshape the political landscape of the Middle East. The U.S. and Iran will quietly cooperate with each other to fight the militant group, while publicly maintain their hostile stance to each other. Sunni and Shia powers in the region might both hate ISIS, but they will still find a way to stay at odds with each other as well. And the pipe dream of Israel suddenly getting official recognition from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States will remain a pipe dream.

Maybe the PKK will come off the State Department's list of terrorist groups, but, like the list of state supporters of terrorism, that list has always been a crock. Groups get off that list when it becomes politically expedient for them to, and they can remain on the list largely because of where the U.S. government thinks its interests are, or the interests of its allies. And in any case, the PKK's removal would hardly be the kind of sweeping restructuring the politics of the region that Nasr's musings are about overall.