Hybrid Wars 4. In the Greater Heartland (II)
(Please read Part I prior to this article)
“The Eurasian Balkans”
As promising of a potential that the Greater Heartland has in fulfilling what seems to be the world’s inevitable multipolar destiny, it runs the risk of being held back by the adroit manipulation of its “Eurasian Balkan” socio-political vulnerabilities. To bring the reader up to speed real quick, this is the idea first espoused by Zbigniew Brzezinski that the mass of territory spanning from North Africa to Central Asia is riskily threatened by large-scale fragmentation along identity-based lines (ethnic, religious, historical, etc.), mirroring on a much larger scale the demographic “irregularities” that intensified the fratricidal Balkan Wars of the early 1990s.
These preexisting identity differences never played much of a role in domestic or regional affairs until the US began experimenting with them in the mid-2000s until the present day, and the fruits of its socio-political labor have already led to the manufactured “Sunni-Shia rivalry”. Given that the US has been wildly successful in militantly reviving as distantly dormant of a conflict as the more than millennium-old sectarian divide in Islam (hitherto peacefully expressed for the most part), it’s not unlikely that it could do the same with less grandiose and more recently occurring identity conflicts such as the ones that will be concisely (but not comprehensively) enumerated below:
The successor state to the ancient civilization of Persia is comprised of a multiplicity of identities that include the Azeris, Kurds, and Baloch. For the most part, shared civilizational patriotism among the disparate ethnicities and the explicit militancy expressed against them by the external American enemy over the decades has kept all of the demographic units largely united, but current trends point to a possible weakening of this civil symbiosis. For starters, rising Azeri nationalism could pose a secessionist challenge to the authorities if it’s not kept under control, as this group is estimated to constitute a whopping 25% of the population by some metrics and is heavily concentrated in the country’s northwest economic hub.
Furthermore, there’s also the Kurdish minority that lives in close proximity to this zone and along nearly half of the Iraqi border. It’s well known how nationalistic the Kurds have been over the past couple of years, and with the War on ISIL steadily drawing to a close, it’s predictable that this transnational ethnic group will take on a more influential and independent role in regional affairs. The New Cold War struggle between the unipolar and multipolar worlds in winning Kurdish loyalty is absolutely key in determining the future security of Iran, since if this influential group comes to side more with the US than its rivals, it could be used as a destabilizing proxy in militantly trying to achieve a pro-American transnational “Kurdistan”. (…)
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