The Geopolitics of the Syrian Civil War | Stratfor

The Geopolitics of the Syrian Civil War | Stratfor.

The Geneva conference has had discouraging beginnings.  Iran was invited, but is now out at the insistence of the rebels.

The inability to agree upon even who would be attending the negotiations is an inauspicious sign for a diplomatic effort that was never likely to prove very fruitful.

The mountain and desert terrain provided natural barriers that allowed different groups to develop in isolation.  Prior to the Sykes-Picot Agreement Syria was never a country for more than a few years, and the modern nation is far from a cohesive state.

Unlike the Nile Valley, Syria’s geography lacks a strong, natural binding element to overcome its internal fissures.

Without a reason to agree, the Assad regime and the various rebels groups will continue to fight.

The Syrian state will neither fragment and formalize into sectarian statelets nor reunify into a single nation under a political settlement imposed by a conference in Geneva. A mosaic of clan loyalties and the imperative to keep Damascus linked to its coastline and economic heartland — no matter what type of regime is in power in Syria — will hold this seething borderland together, however tenuously.

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More Problems in Mali

 

Geography in the News: Al Qaeda and Tuareg in Mali – News Watch.

The French have their work cut out for them.  After a military coup last spring

[t]he Tuareg and their surrogates, radical Islamists and al Qaeda, using heavy weapons confiscated during Libya’s uprising, quickly came to control most of the north—one of the poorest areas of the world.

Now they are advancing south, and the French, along with a Pan-African force not yet in place, are trying to stop them.

 

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