Four years ago, the "Arab Spring" came to Syria. Today, four years later, Syria is a dying country. Its old cities are partly destroyed, half the population is displaced and more than 220,000 citizens were killed. The war between Sunni's and Shi'ítes is spreading. In a way the current war started in 1979, when Khomeini came to power in Iran and Saudi-Arabia embarked on a massive program of financial support for teaching its version of Salafism throughout the Middle-East and the world at large - through Koran schools and Salafist Imams. The major opponents in the ongoing wars between Sunni's and Shi'ites are said to be Iran and Saudi Arabia, neither of them known for moderation.
The so called "international community" is powerless to deal the current wars. It is no longer clear whom to support and how to do it. It is completely lost when dealing with the rising tide of refugees and the growing number of youngsters from all over the world joining holy war in Syria and Iraq. There is shocking indifference with respect to the worsening persecution of the Christians in the area. Arial bombardments without the deployment of ground forces does not make much sense as NATO must have learnt in Libya.
The attached maps, reproduced with our thanks to Vox.com, may help to understand some of the long and turbulent history of the area.
When the Ottoman Empire collapsed in the First World War, the Middle-East outside Anatolia was carved up between France and Britain. Borders were drawn with little or no knowledge of the religious, ethnic and tribal composition of the populations. There was no basis upon which viable nation states could be built.
There are at least two things to remember:
(1) The so called caliphate is proclaimed in the same desert into which a hundred years ago, more than a million Armenians were deported to die from starvation. Read: Taner Akçam, A Shameful Act. The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility. (English translation) Constable-London 2006/2007.
(2) Middle-East Wars with direct involvement of the international community,were the wars between Israel and the Arabs - neighbors and Palestinians. Israel is no party to the current wars. For Israel's security the two-state solution no longer is an acceptable option.