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Peacefully redrawing Middle East borders

Several years ago, Dr Sheldon Cooper FTW outlined a clever plan to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Dr Gablehauser said that Dr Cooper was a nut but everyone knows that Sheldon's IQ is 187 which means something.

This map is perverse but it also shows that these loons have some visions, unless most of the civilized world.

Here, we are going to solve not just one problem of the Middle East but all of them. ;-) A general problem is that the existing borders don't really reflect the conditions on the ground too well which is why there are civil wars and why the current borders are being questioned. Despite the constant interventions, the U.S. and others have no clue how they want the region to evolve and what the supposed political map will be in 2030, for example.

On the other hand, the Islamic State has drawn ambitious maps – see the example above. What I am going to present is less ambitious but much more reasonable and could actually win the support of a large fraction of the people in the region as well as the international community, thus reducing the desire of everyone to fight. Of course that the regional and/or international armies would have to co-operate to bring the planned rearrangement into reality. The plan was prepared from the viewpoint of maximum pragmatism which isn't something that many people in the region (and even in the West!) are used to but they may get used to it, anyway.

If you would read the proposals below without this paragraph, you would have to ask yourself: It's ingenious, how is it possible that it works? Everyone seems to win! The answer is that Iraq and Syria are really the territorial losers. Given their current problems with the ISIS, they will be happy that they're happy at all – that they survive in some form. In this sense, the Islamic State hassle is what makes the peace in whole Middle East possible! Assad would have to be guaranteed the legitimacy over the reduced territory and Iraq may be renamed to Mesopotamia to make its significant decrease of territory less visible.

OK, the following countries and would-be countries will have their borders redrawn:

  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Jordan
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Palestine (de facto)
  • Iran
  • Turkey
  • [Islamic State]
  • [Kurdistan]
For your convenience, this is a current map of the region:

Let me enumerate the main changes in words:
  • The Islamic State is created and given about 1/2 of the "core territory" that it currently controls in Iraq and Syria
  • Kurdistan is created on the natural territories now belonging to Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran
  • Turkey is compensated by a piece of Syria, around the Golan Heights
  • Iran is compensated by a piece of Iraq
  • About Eastern 50% of the West Bank is attached to Jordan to create the Jordan-Palestine confederacy, or Jordanistine
  • Within Jordanistine, the West Bank along with a matched piece of Jordan proper will form the Palestine province
  • Muslims vacate Jerusalem; Israeli developers will be tasked to built a replica of Jerusalem at a special place of Jordanistine
  • Similarly, the Southern 70% of the Gaza Strip is attached to Egypt, and declared an autonomous status as the Province of Palestine along with a piece of Egypt proper
  • Israel receives a compensating piece of the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt
  • Some additional supervised expulsion with financial compensation will be applied to make the new countries more monocultural
As you can see, a country for the Palestinians without a Jewish control is created but a completely independent country for the Palestinians is avoided because it would be pretty much guaranteed to be a failed state that is nothing else than a hotbed of terror. The Jordanians and the Egyptians will teach their Palestinian brothers how to live a moderately productive life while the possibility of a future independence status will be open.

A technical comment for the Nobel Peace Prize committee in Oslo. You can send me the money via PayPal. Thanks. ;-)

As you can see, I am mostly joking – but not quite. I do think that similar ideas should be voiced, discussed, argued about. It's not happening in the region, it's not happening in the West, it's not happening anywhere – which is a reason why no progress is taking place. There can exist a setup that will be better for everyone than the neverending conflicts. Such a setup is worse for each side than this side's most ambitious plans and dreams – but it is better than what each side is actually getting in reality.

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reader Uncle Al said...

"I don't want war! All I want is peace...peace...peace...! "

A little piece of Poland
A little piece of France
A little piece of Portugal
And Austria perchance

A little slice of Turkey
And all that that entails
Und then a piece of England Scotland
lreland and Wales

A little nip of Norway
A little spot of Greece
A little hunk of Hungary
Oh what a lovely feast

A little bite of Belgium
And now for some dessert
Armenia Albania
And Russia wouldn 't hurt

If Japan had kept it in its pants re Pearl Harbor, the EU would have been united a a half-century earlier. Eastern Europe would have been spared the Cold War. Stalin would have been quashed. Asia would have been Japanese, sparing the US Chinese economic totalitarianism in the 21st century.

OTOH, no Milton Friedman, Ben Bernanke, or Paul Krugman. yay!

reader lukelea said...

Historically the Hashemite clan which now rules in Jordan also controlled Mecca, which they managed with a moderate form of Islam. That changed when Ibn Saud with his radical Islmacist Wahabi allies conquered Mecca, which they have ruled ever since. Today, of course, Saudi Arabia, with its immense oil wealth, has been a fount of militant fundamentalist Islam, financing militants and reactionary mosques all over the world (including in the West) to saying 20 of the 21 highjackers on 9/11.

So, as long as we are dreaming, I would propose that the Jordanians be encouraged to reconquer Mecca as recompense for their permitting an autonomous Palestinian entity along the lines you outlined. We might also consider stripping Saudi Arabia of its oilfields along the shores of the Persian gulf, converting them into a series of small Shia-controlled emirates with Western security guarantees.

reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL, a good idea. Everyone is supposed to add some fixes in other countries - so that we may create a truly world war at the end if it doesn't work. ;-)

reader BMWA1 said...

Too bad then that this one wouldn't work!

reader Swine flu said...

I think it is also important to look at the legal aspects. For example, Pakistan has a blasphemy law. Even if most Pakistanis treat their religion as a private matter or don't give it much thought altogether, a law like that has a chilling effect on the level of freedom in the country, even if this law is unlikely to affect an average person of any faith.

Religion and state can form a dangerous combination and are best kept apart.

reader Tilo said...

The reason why it is ineffective is because the US government fails to recognize that the middle east is a two layer pile of dung. The first layer is the dictators and under them are the religious fanatics. The desire to remove dictatorships and encourage democracy may be admirable, but the next layer to come to the surface after the dictators are always the jihadis. And while there are many, many people who would like the right to choose their own systems of government in the ME, they are not as ready to kill and be killed as the Islamic fanatics. So even if they are the majority, it means that power ends up in the hands of fanatics. Obama's idea was that he could overthrow a dictator by using "moderate" Muslims. His first mistake was to overestimate their degree of "moderation", and his second mistake was in not understanding that the extremists, by virtue of their willingness to kill and subjugate, were going to come out on top, over the moderates. And of course the extremists are backed up by the text of the Quran, the Hadiths, and the Sharia.
I knew that supporting the rebels in Syria would have a bad outcome almost as soon as that war started. And I knew that Assad was the lesser of the evils. The fact that Obama is stupid and could not see that does not mean that the US has malevolent or imperialistic intentions in either Syria or Iraq.

reader Swine flu said...

"However, the U.S. was extending its sphere of influence to Western Europe"

Isn't the US influence in Western Europe a bit too soft at this point to be considered "imperial" in nature?

reader Swine flu said...

Medina is not in Palestine and is not under any sort of dispute, which is what Qsa and I were discussing. It is also not a cradle of Jewish civilization in any way.

I did see somewhere that it is the 2nd most holy city in Islam, which would put it ahead of Jerusalem in importance, but Qsa stated that Jerusalem is the 2nd most important one. So, I am no longer sure which one is number two.

reader QsaTheory said...

What is your point? Sectarian strife started from day one in Islam, just as in Christianity and Judaism. Weren't the Jews accused of murdering Christ the Jew. Even before Islam, war between tribes was the norm. the 40 year war

What about WWI,WWII ...tens of millions killed.

reader QsaTheory said...

It was some years ago when I tried to be smart and find out how foreign policies are made and executed in detail. I came up across an article in the famous periodical, Foreign Policy sold in bookshops that explained in a quick way with a very long article. Foreign policy of any country is a STATE SECRET. It also said, you are free to analyse all you want of the event, media , official statements, whatever. Got the idea!

The US can go directly and take out Assad, they can and have done so in other places when geopolitics allowed. I suspect the geopolitics is not ripe, so may be they have a trick or two to get into that position, with Russia and China watching closely, maybe.

reader Rehbock said...

Seeing Lehrer as nothing more than a cynic and failing to see that his insights have continued relevance , now that is my definition of dumb.

reader QsaTheory said...

Yes of course, more and more people have asked for reforms starting long time ago, many reforms have been instated, many others have become acceptable by society. That is why I said earlier that the people have become the victim and not the perpetuate. But I am sure the society as a whole is going forward albeit very slowly with hiccups due to these political potholes.

reader Tilo said...

Obviously my point is that it does not require the intervention of an outside "imperialist" power, as cynhold suggests, to cause Muslims to begin murdering each other or to produce fanaticism in the ME.

reader QsaTheory said...

sure, but I presume you have heard of "divide and rule", which can be done with many techniques, maybe some not even invented yet.

reader Gordon said...

Hmmm, news to me that Saudi is allied with Israel. I know that the US govt has ties to the Saudi Royal Family. I agree that the US should stay out of it, but should Israel simply defend itself if someone is attacking it, or should they punish the attackers so that they stop? It seems to me that if Hamas stopped lobbing missiles into Israel and coming through tunnels to kidnap people, that Israel would have no excuse for attacking anyone.

reader QsaTheory said...

Dear Tilo,

Your point is so valid and works against you. The details that you listed is a highlight only, the actual realities is hundreds time murkier. How do I know that. Look, I watch news almost exclusively(only some youtube late night sometimes). We have TV stations that bring guests with all detail analysis in Arabic and English. Such as BBC, French news, CNN(English)Sky, RT, AlJazeera Euro-news, Arabia, almayadeen just to name a few.

Besides, our newspapers are full of reporting and analyzing.

reader QsaTheory said...

Do you really think a 100 year(since 1917) conflict will be resolved by such simple mined analysis.

They usually have a truce, it is broken by Israel by killing some high target(drone maybe) that is very "dangerous". Or, take some action to deliberately break the truce. HAMAS has no real interest to provoke Israel.

Maybe some Gaza fighters might also make a stupid/untimely decision.

But to picture the whole thing as HAMAS firing rockets is a very naive idea fed to the unsuspecting westerners mind for obvious reasons.

reader Swine flu said...

If I contributed to mixing the two issues, it would have been unintentional. It's just that you and I started and didn't finish a discussion a while back on whether Islam is mostly a personal religion or whether it has a strong presense in the public sphere as well, and I wanted to revisit that topic, since I find the issue to be both interesting and important. I think I kept it separate from the Palestinian issue, but there have been so many posts that it's hard to be entirely certain wich thread one contributes to.

Regarding reform, can one say there has been a degree of regression as well in some countries? (Of course, that depends on the point of view of what the desirable direction is - I define it to be towards reducing the role of religion in a country's laws.)

reader QsaTheory said...

Please, do not inject irrelevant and unsubstantiated/incorrect info into the discussion, that will take us to deep off topic territory.

reader Gordon said...

you seem to be ignoring what I said---yes Israel can protect itself but should it simply try to shoot down missiles lobbed into its territory, or should it try to stop the process? Also, if the neighbors like Iran and others directly say their policy is the annihilation of Israel and its citizens, why shouldnt they take it seriously. Perhaps if the Arabs stopped threatening Israel, Israel would stop retaliating. But the Arabs will not stop threatening Israel. Go back and read my neighbor analogy. Of course I feel that Israel's retaliatory responses are extreme, but who is it who provokes the attacks?

reader Gordon said...

I don't accept that the Saudis are allies of Israel. They simply are concerned with the Iranians (Sunnis) and certainly won't fight for the Israelis.

reader QsaTheory said...

Sorry, you misunderstood me, I guess I was not clear I was trying to make it short.

I was not saying that you did the mixing but the political parties/countries involved. I must confess, it had worked wonder for Israel. I am also being brief here.

As to regression, that is what I meant, it has always been two step forward one step backward, but this world propaganda has made that process much difficult at times by complicating many issues. But also each country is different with the pace.

reader Swine flu said...

My outsider's impression is that there has been an upswing in the role of religion in some countries. I remembered seeing Cairo University graduating class photos from several different eras somewhere on the internet a few years ago and just googled for "Cairo university graduating class" or something similar. Here are three links among those that came up - I can't guarantee some of these sites aren't hostile in their attitude, I didn't screen them for content, but I am only citing them for the photographs, which are the same, but bigger in size at some of the links:

Clearly, the dress standards for women have changed in Egypt over 50 years or so, at least for those of a certain social class. I don't know if that consitutes "regression" - who am I to judge how people choose to dress in different countries - but it does make me wonder just where Egypt is and what sort of reform one could expect there at this point.

The more relevant viewpoint would be simply to note a certain ongoing divergence between the Western and some Muslim countries on the issue of the status of women, which may seem like just an question of customs, but is actually one of the biggest area of mutual incomprehension nowadays between the two civilizations.

reader Gordon said...

"Hamas has no real interest to provoke Israel: LOL

reader QsaTheory said...

you gloss over these articles until I prepare my response.

reader QsaTheory said...

Again the Arab/Muslim world is vast and hard to generalize. But the dress code is mostly along side of city/rural-affluent/poor divide. As you could see from the article you will not imagine how the women will put the makeup while wearing Hijab or even Burga. Also, many women wear most sexy dresses( western style) in all the major cities whether with Hijab or without it. Rural areas choose to dress a bit more modestly, but as rural population move to cities their habits are also changing.

But also the marital laws are now mostly in favor of women with hefty alimony and child custody. And any domestic violence is mostly considered as normal criminal case essentially.

reader QsaTheory said...

BTW. in our local idioms we call wives "Nisra" for female eagle, they can cut you to pieces. You can marry any of those at your own risk.

reader QsaTheory said...

Let me be more succinct, in the 60's my aunts used to wear mini jooub(short skirts) they just thought it was cool and hip and sign of the times. As this religious Hola started people reverted to more "modest"(as in pictures) dresses. But I tell you today women and men are 10 times more deviant despite the modesty show, let me not say more.

reader QsaTheory said...

Tell me the reasons, please. Thanks

reader Swine flu said...

Once Egypt under Al Sisi joined forces with Israel in sealing off Gaza, the blockade became very effective, and allowing it to continue indefinitely is not something Hamas could really afford. So they did have a good reason to challenge the status quo. It is not clear, however, if the timing of the latest round of fighting was what they had in mind all along or if the events took on a life of their own. I am inclined to think the latter. The tunnels must have been for a large-scale hostage-taking operation, and that never materialized.

reader anna v said...

evidence? I do not have access to documents and proofs but the west and US particularly are playing geopolitical games in the region, and work with the "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" tool , which has backfired, and not for the first time.

reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL, how do you operationally establish the objectivity?

In Czechia, most consumers will equally tell you that Kofola - a communist drink produced from the 1960s that doesn't even try to imitate the colas any closer - is better than all its foreign competitors, and while it was a supercheap drink, it's typically more expensive than Coke these days! ;-)

reader Luboš Motl said...

You're a nutcase. I am not going to read this whole junk of yours, and next time you spam my blog with the same amount of hateful idiocy, you are banned. Deal.

Borders are sometimes being redrawn at random peaceful times - that's what Khruschev did when he included Crimea into Ukraine after he got drunk, to prove himself that a Soviet dictator can do really everything. However, more typically, borders are being redrawn at critical moments, and that was also the case when Crimea reunited with Russia. It escaped from the fascist terror and civil war that were just getting started in the rest of Ukraine.

reader Peter F. said...

I'll be migrating to any territory kEPT in 'czeck' under Motlaw!
And good on you for trying to muscle-in on the silly Norwegians, to grab a piece or their Peace-prize money! :-)

reader NikFromNYC said...

"Give the Middle East to the Jews"

reader Luboš Motl said...

Very funny but if taken as a real proposal, I think that it would ultimately be the Israeli Jews who would oppose this plan!

reader br said...

I'm still a bit confused about how an object falls into a black hole (though not related to Laura's paper, which seems wrong). After doing some reading, and I can follow the maths, I can see that the object falls in with finite proper time. But I'm still confused as to how an external observer sees this - it still seems to take an infinite amount of time, externally. So for example, if the external observer shines light on the object, and times how long it takes to return, then the light hitting the in-falling object as it crosses the event horizon will take an infinite amount of time to return. There will be no time at which the observer is not receiving reflected light. So, as far as the observer can tell, the object does not cross the event horizon. Is that correct? But for all practical purposes, the black hole has formed in finite proper time of the external observer?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear br, right, if I understand you.

I have used the following exercise for an audience of 10-year-old kids but I hope it's OK for you, too. ;-)

An infalling observer counts One Two Three Four Five Six... Ten (singularity, death).

The counting looks totally normaly to him. But after "five", he falls through the horizon. The observers outside see and hear him count

One Two Thhreee Foooouuuuuuuuuuurrrr FFFFFFFFFiiiiiiiivvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveee **************

The last "e" in "five" extends indefiniteliy. The words are increasingly slowed down, the frequency of the sound and light is lowered, the overall energy coming from the observer is dropping even more, and so on. The observers outside never hear "six" or "ten" because those are events (said sentences) that occur inside the black hole where they simply don't have access.

At the end, the situation is isomorphic to a plane that escapes faster than sound. When the supersonic plane is slow, it just hears things that are said nearby the plane. But once it flies faster than sound, it can only hear things that occur in front of it - it just escapes the sound signals behind the airplane. They are forever inaccessible to the plane.

reader Tea for 330 million said...

It would be cool to get a mulligan on the Treaty of Versailles.

reader br said...

Thank you, and I'm glad I'm not way off track. But, if you will indulge me, I would love to hear from someone who knows, how the external viewer sees the black hole grow - if it seems, externally, to take an infinite amount of time for anything to fall in, then it seems like it doesn't form. And yet it does, which is the chestnut addressed in your 2008 blog post. But those posts seem to be from the POV of the in-faller, not the external viewer, unless I missed it. I guess the issue of simultaneity comes in here - when can the viewer say 'there is a black hole over there, now'? Even if the BH expands in 'external proper time', swallowing surrounding matter, the external observer stills receives reflected light forever from all in-falling objects, even 'after' they are eaten. So can the viewer ever say that the object has 'now' been eaten?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear br, you are clearly still thinking in terms of an "absolute time". You think that there is an "absolute time" for an outside observer, and an "absolute time" inside, and moreover these two times are related by a simple redefinition of the variable.

But this ain't the case in relativity. Relativity prohibits absolute time. Time cannot be separated invariantly from the spacetime - it always mixes the space and if you want to discuss when things happen, you must discuss where they happen, too. At the end, all questions like that are answered by looking at the Penrose diagram that summarizes all possible moments-and-place - events - in the spacetime with a black hole, and their causal relationship. This diagram is OK for a black hole that is growing (in the initial stages, or later), and looking at it carefully easily answers all questions like yours.

reader br said...

OK, I had a closer look at Penrose diagrams, and may be getting somewhere. I see where my confusion was coming from - I was using proper time of the external observer (me), but assuming that so long as I was receiving reflected light, it meant the in-falling object was 'still there'. However, it only means that the object 'used to be there', as the light is only telling me about the past. There is a 'last chance' moment, given by the 45 degree lines, where I can send light to bounce off the object which I will just get to receive if I wait forever (top corner of diagram). If I send a new pulse of light later than my 'last chance' to check whether the object is 'still there' (as I could successfully do with any other object), it will never bounce off the object and return to me, as the object has crossed the event horizon on the Penrose diagram. Unfortunately I would have to wait infinitely long (or longer ;) ) to find out, but I am satisfied as to the answer. Thanks.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear br, I would probably have to see where you're pointing your fingers to see whether you read the diagram well - and especially where the exterior observer is located most of the time. ;-) But the broader point that one may read these things from the diagram is true.

reader ny-ktahn-gr-thoughts said...

Could not resist . . . Let me make some strange statements that might warrant correction then ask an even stranger question here.

Consider a Hausdorf Paracompact manifold $M$


Append onto it a metric $g$, a bilinear form on the tangent space $T_p M$ on each point $p \in M$


\indent This is a manifold with a lorentzian metric is constrained to obey einstein field equations. A search operator can be defined on the space to identify regions with non-minkowskian topology. The return values are equivalent to black holes.


Considering statiotionary flat spacetime which is invariant under action of $R$ under isometries.


$ g = -A^2 dt^2 + A^{-2} dr^2 + r^2 d\Omega^2$ ,


$\Omega^2 = (n - 1)$- sphere


$A^2 = {1 -\frac{2m}{r^{n-2}}}$

how do we define a distributed split that accounts for time when crossing the horizon under strong fluctuations.
What is the proper mathematical formulation for why the observer experience is different from the other guy. PS . . . some random lines from some sophisticated Garbage I am put together some time ago.
I look forward to be corrected.

reader Shannon said...

Extreme Judaism can be tough on women it seems :

reader Leo Vuyk said...

Could also not resist.
If fermions are compared with spinning strings( propeller alike) then I assume that the deformation of space around black holes is able to repell fermions, leading to a different BH with an electric potential with "lighter "electrons at the outside and quarks at the inside.

reader ny-ktahn said...

Those arrows really drove the point home Leo . I have been observing your posts on this blog for quite some time now. I asked one of my top coders to run some tests to determine if you are a human, At this point we are considering hiring reinforcements from Japan to look into it.

reader br said...

What I had in mind was the following. The little red circle is the last chance that the space ship (green line) has to make contact with the beer can (blue line) and receive something back (red lines). Even if the space ship waits forever, it will only see the beer can hovering at the horizon, and yet I reckon one can still tell that the black hole must be there due to all the red-shifting, and the topology.

reader Swine flu said...

Qsa, thanks for the links and your personal observations. I realized a few months ago that Saudi Arabia did not entirely conform to the stereotypes when I saw that the birth rate there was only 2.17 children per woman.

reader John Archer said...

The following to be given an ear-splitting megaphone delivery 6 inches from your face:

"I look forward to beING corrected."

There! How's that?

Happy now? :)

I have bodkin-tipped arrows by the quiverload, but it isn't paper I'd like to rest them on. Oh no, I'd much prefer to bury them deep inside skulls — those of most of our parliamentarians for example.

reader John Archer said...

I have bodkin-tipped arrows by the quiverload, but it isn't paper I'd like to rest them on. Oh no, I'd much prefer to bury them deep inside skulls — those of most of our parliamentarians for example.

reader QsaTheory said...

You are welcome. In general, in the Muslim world the Arab countries, Turkey and Iran have more GDP per capita and less rural population than Other parts in the Muslim world where you could see more "traditional" family behavior.

reader Leo Vuyk said...

Indeed Nu ktan,

It seems a blasphemy of the sacred GR. however see:

reader Peter F. said...

Almost everyone annoy me by being dim or confused about this type of topic. These two are no excEPTions. ;(

reader Peter F. said...

IMO it is not very illuminating to anyone to be told that "religion is in our genes" but on the whole I liked what you wrote. :)

reader Peter F. said...

Maybe that Islam is like an ideological slime that relatively easily provide "primal pain derived" hatred with an opportunity to really take hold and grow outward?

reader Casper said...

Got an enemy shortage? Don't worry the MIC will soon fix that.

reader Mickey said...

" would soon or later become possible to attack any result in science and team up with journalists who will do the job"
Over in Evolution science the same organized destruction appears to be taking place. The same division of a "traditionalist" bloc, which seems to be nothing more than those committed first to rigour and robustness than a particular belief and those who form alliances and cross cite in pursuit of the strategic goal of out inflating those with difficult questions, progressively marginalizing. The media easily roped into that. The media also dominated anyway, with the same ultimate goal.
Or do you see no general pattern? I just think that people see the same things, more or less. But our circumstances - what extent we are dependent for our bread, or anonymous or think so - make our willingness to be frank and call a spade a spade, pans out differently, at different levels, respectively. But of the same thing.
Dawkins....he succumbs at a given level. Probably the minimum sell-out he felt he had to do, for the most status and privilege he could bear to put in danger. In his case not a lot.

reader tmtisfree said...