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The World in Flames, by Henry Kissinger

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The World in Flames – Henry Kissinger (Sunday Times-UK)
(dailyalert.org, Sept. 3, 2014)

In the purist version of Islamism, the state cannot be the point of departure for an international system, because states are secular and hence illegitimate; at best they may achieve a kind of provisional status en route to a religious entity on a larger scale. Non-interference in other countries’ domestic affairs cannot serve as a governing principle, because national loyalties represent deviations from the true faith and because jihadists have a duty to transform the world of unbelievers.

The conflict in Syria and Iraq and the surrounding areas has thus become the symbol of an ominous new trend: the disintegration of statehood into tribal and sectarian units, some of them cutting across existing borders, in violent conflict with one another and manipulated by competing outside factions, observing no common rules other than the law of superior force.

When states are not governed in their entirety, the international or regional order also begins to disintegrate. Blank spaces denoting lawlessness come to dominate parts of the map. The collapse of a state may turn its territory into a base for terrorism, arms supply or sectarian agitation against neighbors. Zones of non-governance or jihad now stretch across the Muslim world.

In an era of suicide terrorism and proliferating weapons of mass destruction, the drift towards pan-regional sectarian confrontations must be deemed a threat to world stability warranting co-operative effort by all responsible powers, expressed in some acceptable definition of at least regional order.

If order cannot be established, vast areas risk being opened to anarchy and to forms of extremism that will spread organically into other regions. From this stark pattern the world awaits the distillation of a new regional order by America and other countries in a position to take a global view.

(Click on the article’s title to see the whole article…Ed.)

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