Conflicts and tribal violence appear to be ramping up across the globe so peaceniks hoping for harmony and geopolitical stability in the decades to come will have to think again – our secret columnist in Brussels Schadenfreude reports
Syria is in turmoil with an uprising against its president. The West might normally regard the struggle as a popular movement deserving support against a ruthless dictator. But it is also a jihadi grab for power with a vision of a new Iraq-style Syria state. In 1919, the British and French drew new political maps of the Middle East without reference to the inhabitants.
The West intervened in Iraq and reputedly accomplished its mission to pacify the country, which is again locked in communal strife now. Afghanistan seems to be about to return to the ultra-Taliban regime that the West thought it had weakened, but which now claims a share in government on its own terms. Powerful Saudi Arabia silently, although relentlessly, supports Sunni Moslems against the Shia. No outside country dares to question or even think about Saudi policy.
Iran wants to live up to its glorious Persian history. However it, surprisingly for an oil rich country, also wants to be nuclear – civil, of course, just when established civil nuclear countries are turning away from nuclear generation. Israel, armed with nuclear missiles, does not believe it. Under United States leadership, other Western countries make the best of a bad job and hope that Iran will not surreptitiously go on developing a military nuclear capability.
South Sudan fought to obtain independence from its northern overlord. It is now the scene of clashes between would-be ruling factions. In Turkey there are violent demonstrations – with reprisals – against the ruling faction, which is accused of corruption. In Ukraine, the security forces battle with demonstrators who oppose the prime minister’s pro-Russia policies. So much for world peace in the 21st century, there is not a hope in hell of that scenario.