Saturday, August 9, 2014

3 articles that explain 45 maps that explain the "Middle East"


Earlier this week, I toyed around with making a Google Maps display of the recent events across Iraq.

Good thing I didn't, because the smart parts of internet are tossing them around like Frisbees. 

First up, there's Vox
The conflict has roots in Iraq's complicated history, its religious and ethnic divisions, and of course in the Iraq War that began with the 2003 US-led invasion. These 27 maps are a rough guide to today's crisis and the deeper forces behind it.
Then there's The Atlantic's wry take on "explainer" articles, complete with plenty of yesteryear "what-if" scenarios. 
But for all these maps don’t show, they do illustrate one thing: the sobering fact that no one map—or even set of maps—can ever explain the region’s complex history and politics.
Finally, the incomparable GeoCurrents -- who has been writing about the Yedizis long before the ISIS genocide crisis -- weighs in:
Abandoning the idea of the intrinsic unity of a country such as Iraq or Somalia by acknowledging instead the reality of Iraqi Kurdistan or Somaliland, such reasoning has it, would potentially destabilize the global world order. It would do so by encouraging other disgruntled ethnic, religious, or regional groups to seek their own independence, thus fostering secession, rebellion, and warfare. This argument, however, fails from the onset by assuming a degree of international stability that simply does not exist. [emphasis mine]
Real or imagined, all maps tell stories rooted in what is, what was, and what could've been.

Where the Middle East goes from here is anyone's guess...or their stroke of a pen.

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