Middle East future shock

Almost a hundred years ago, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the last in a succession of Islamic caliphates stretching back more than a millennium, transformed the Middle East — first, into European protectorates, later into a collection of independent nation-states.

A second historic transformation — not just the blossoming of a sunshiny “Arab Spring” — is now underway.

Start with Syria which, as it enters the fourth year of a grueling civil war — 140,000 killed and 9 million refugees to date — has fractured into three de facto entities.

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