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Fareed speaks with Robin Wright, author of Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, about tensions in the Middle East.
You had a terrific piece in The New York Times a year ago that struck me in which you mapped out a new Middle East based on really, the realities of the ground. Describe for us what the new map of the Middle East looks like.
Well, in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings, we saw a kind of combustible situation emerge that allowed rival ethnicities and tribes and religions begin to fight for their rights with dictators now absent from the scene. And that exploded.
Syria, of course, lit the match. And we're now seeing Syria already at least into three different pieces. And that has been explosive in rippling across borders, challenging traditional boundaries established a century ago. We see that play out in Iraq today, where we see the emergence again of at least three different parts of the country – the Kurds particularly in the north, almost kind of de facto establishing their own boundary with the rest of Iraq by deploying Peshmerga, their own militia, along that border.
But it plays out not just in this part of the Levant. It is also playing out in North Africa, where you see the end of Gadhafi's rule three years ago unleashing again rival tribes and all the sources of identity that come alive again. And here we're seeing in Libya those who live around the capital in Tripoli looking increasingly toward the western Islamic world and those in Benghazi looking toward the eastern Islamic world. And they have been longstanding rivals over resources and power.
And then you have the south, which is much more like Africa than it is like North Africa. And so you see these dynamics that are rippling across the region.