The legacy of nation-states after western occupation 100 yrs ago might not be the natural state of organizing territory and societies in that region… given the degree of complexity of cultural, religious and ethnic blends and differences.. and many thousands of years of history..
The Middle East may be sliding toward a warlord era, with nation-states increasingly struggling to control all their territory and millions living under the rule of emergent local chiefs and movements.
Armed irregular forces hold effective power over growing areas of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya where central government authority barely reaches. Motivated by religious ideology or regional separatism, they have grabbed oil facilities and weapons, imposed taxes or changed school curriculums, and fought each other as well as national armies.
“It is almost like the whole regional order that was built in the 20th century is collapsing,” Nadim Shehadi, associate fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House in London, said in an interview. “Non-state actors are filling the vacuum.”
The breakdown, in a region that holds more than half the world’s oil, has allowed extremist groups to thrive and drawn in external powers bent on stopping them.