The Birth of West Asia

Dr. Jan Best de Vries:

The terms Near East, Middle East and Far East are all European notions, coined from the perspective of the geographical position of Europe in colonial times. So let us, to begin with, henceforward speak of West Asia, Central Asia and East Asia. As for the borders of contemporary states in West Asia, these were all constructed by France and England, both being colonial powers at the time, with the permission of the American president Woodrow Wilson between 1919 and 1923. Iraq, Syria, in those years Palestine, Lebanon and Turkey are all colonial constructions, because  they were mandates of France and England at the time, with the exception of Turkey. Herein Atatürk considered East Anatolia as his own mandate, making it part of Turkey. The populations now living within the borders of all these states were never asked if they wanted to do so; more accurately, their ancestors even protested strongly against these arrangements from the very beginning!

Within the regional elites which “governed” these states after becoming independent the colonial mentality still prevailed. In Turkey the Kurds of East Anatolia became “mountain Turks”. Since the PKK started in 1984 as a liberation movement, Turkey, from its very start a terrorist state, forced its American and European NATO partners to style the PKK as a “terrorist organization”. Iraq, a clever pupil of its former master England, tried to confiscate the oil fields of Iran and Kuwait; Syria tried to incorporate Lebanon; Israël is busy with colonizing the West Bank. It is clear to everybody with even the slightest historical insight that the bigger nonsense states of Iraq and Syria will fall apart. A tripartition of Iraq will result into an independent Kurdish state in the north, a Sunni state (thanks to the Americans not that of IS), in the center, and a Shiite state in the south. Everybody happy at last.

Someday a realistic Israeli government will offer to the state of Palestina, as its economically good neighbor, a corridor between the West Bank and Gaza and, together with the Assad regime, Hezbollah will disappear from Lebanon in which moderate Muslims and Christians will live peacefully together again.

What is now the most interesting part of Syria is the northern one. It will be unavoidable that Aleppo with its province will one day claim independence. Before it was wasted by the Assad regime, it was an internationally-oriented business and cultural capital in the region and both its remaining and fled inhabitants will want to repair it from its current mess and expand their territory to the Mediterranean seacoast in order to avoid their vulnerability to any other brutal regime, in whose hands the seacoast should not be.

However, the strongest opponent of this development will be Turkey, which wishes to enlarge its influence in the region by claiming from its NATO allies a zone of some 50 kilometers for its “self-protection” within present-day Syria. The barrier, however, to Mr. Erdogan realizing his plan is the presence of the democratic mini-state Rojava, governed by democratic representatives of Kurds, Arabs, Yezidis and other minorities in the region whose free Christian, Muslim and Zoroastrian beliefs do not interfere with their common interest in an autonomous state. Over the border of Turkey, IS-jihadists from all over the world cross, at least unhindered if not assisted by the Turkish government, into the three cantons of Rojava seeking to demolish it so that Turkey may occupy its “protective” zone without having Kurds in it. The lovely Kurdish name Rojava means “(the) West” and, from a geographical point of view, this indeed means “the West of Kurdistan” and not the French and English West from which Turkey learned in 1923 its colonialism….

One day my grandchildren may see a free, democratic and prosperous West Asian Union of which all countries mentioned above will form a part! Amen.

Reference: Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World 

Image – Wikipedia

Dr. Jan Best de Vries is an archaeologist and historian, decipherer of the so-called Byblos Script from Aleppo and Alalakh (‘How to Decipher the Byblos Script’, Aspekt Publishers 2014, ISBN978-946-153-420-0)   

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