I appreciate Mr. Feffer's refresher course on the post 19th century history of the Middle East; but I think he's far too cavalier in dismissing what U.S. and NATO forces conscientiously tore asunder; nor is any mention made of the Neo-con agenda as per The Project for a New American Century. To those who are unfamiliar with this document, it lays out a plan for virtually crushing numerous nations across the Middle East. The actual on-the-ground logistics show that this plan was indeed instituted.
That's why a conclusion of the following nature was known at the onset:
"Outsiders can’t impose a state system, as the colonial powers attempted to do after World War I or the Bush administration tried in Iraq after 2003. But they can help reduce the amount of violence in order to create space within which the critical discussions over what kind of state is appropriate can take place."
Neighbors in civilized urban centers probably get along until food or water runs out, or power only comes on for a few hours a day. The purpose-driven attacks on Iraq and surrounding nations exacerbated already difficult living conditions. This, in turn, fired up existing tribal and internecine conflicts. And all of this could be (and likely was) predicted before the first U.S. forces began their campaigns of plunder.
Many people believe in the law of karma. Part of its precept is that "those who live by the sword will die by it."
Since the Middle East was rendered Dante's 8th ring of hell, fire, brimstone, and damnation, the world's billionaires--most of whom came by their ill-begotten gains through less than savory practices--should purchase a large sect of land for each displaced group. If a territory could be marked off for the Jews who managed to escape Hitler's carnage, territories should be equally earmarked for those groups dispossessed by recent conflicts.
Barring that, a retroactive tax on Wall Street's many transactions could also create the funds that would house the homeless and feed the hungry. It would be wonderful if this more enlightened Pope Francis starts the process with a major gift of largesse direct from the vaults of the Vatican.