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Imagine you have a whole sprinkling of tribes, provinces, and vassal states, ruled over by a single empire, that then fell apart[1].

Then imagine that a couple of other empires grab this area, and divide it up based on the lines that make it easiest for them to rule over it[2].

For each of those areas, the ruling empire would pick a particular tribe/clan/family. This group would be picked for being a minority and then supplied with weapons and made into a local proxy for the foreign power (while being hated by the majority abd entirely dependent on foreign support) [3].

And then, eventually, with the waning power of their foreign backers, the rulers of these countries lose control of the majority, overstep themselves, and are overthrown in violent revolutions or military coups[4].

However, these countries are still based on semi-random lines drawn on the map by foreigners, cross numerous tribal lines, and are inherently an unstable mess, frequently supported by numerous foreign countries who use them as proxies, want their resources, and support whoever is the enemy of their enemy[5].

With nationalist, tribalist, and religious infighting being the norm, along with low levels of education, and constant turmoil, this leaves huge societal gaps for religious extremists to fill.[6]

All of which is greatly simplified, but hopefully gives a basic idea of why things the entire area is such a disaster[7].

If you want to know what we _should_ be doing, then part of that recognises that those lines on the map are probably unsupportable, and that short-term measures that support them are probably making things worse in the long run[8].



[1]The Ottoman Empire, which lasted from 1299 to 1922. Seven years too early to be an anagrammatic pair.
[2]The Sykes-Picot Agreement between the UK and France.
[3]Client States being the technical term.
[4]Egypt in 1952, Iraq in 1958, Iran in 1979, etc.
[5]Hence the US arming Saddam Hussein during the Iran/Iraq war, before deciding that had been a really bad idea. And arming the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviets, including Osama Bin-Laden.
[6]Hence Al-Quaeda, and then ISIS/ISIL/Da'esh
[7]And I haven't even mentioned Israel! Where things are more complicated than you think!
[8]This lays out the options pretty well.
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