Birth of a nation(s)
Srdja Trifkovic, on the Ever More Complex Levantine Puzzle, via Ad Orientem.
The British and French got out their rulers and drew lines on a map to create the modern states of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan. While they were at it, they carved off Antioch from Syria and gave it to Turkey, and pretended that Kurdistan, a geographically, linguistically and ethnically contiguous nation in its own right, did not exist.
Current events show there are three nation-states struggling to be born in this region: a Shia/Alawite dominated polity on the Mediterranean coast, a Sunni nation stretching eastward into Iraq, and a Kurdish nation in the northern latitudes. (There are doubtless local subtleties of which I'd have no knowledge.)
The foreign policy goal of the former Imperial powers and of the US, since 1945, appears to be the preservation of the borders drawn up by the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Paradoxically, the result of this specious stability is instability. Increasing resources are required to maintain this arrangement. A confounding factor is the efforts of the ruling clans of Saud and Qatar to re-establish the Sunni Umayyad.
One solution would be for an overwhelming foreign force to carve up the resource-rich areas and parcel them out among the competing nations, but I doubt any foreign actors have the will or necessary insight to do that successfully.
I think the best anybody can do is assure the parties that they will get neutral trade agreements and whatever humanitarian aid anybody sees fit to give them. Otherwise, the conflict will be quarantined--no emigration and no materiel--and they will just have to sort this out for themselves.
That's my geopolitical analysis. Can I bill NATO for this?
UPDATE: War Nerd on I.S.I.S.