A century after the British and French foreign ministers sat down to draw the map of the Middle East, the region they created is unravelling by the hour. The potential for prolonged political-religious wars within and across boundaries, involving both local and foreign forces and militias and governments, is great.
There are several explanations for our arrival at this point. The US decision in 2003 to oust the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, followed by policies that reinforced sectarian rather than national identities, is one. This also helped to bring about a region in which Iran was left with few constraints on its ability to back Shia factions in Iraq, up to then its main regional rival, and elsewhere.
© The Financial Times Ltd 2014 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.