In July, the American Armed Forces Journal published an article entitled, Blood Borders , wherein the author, Ralph Peter (a pseudonym perhaps) writes of a vision for a New Middle East based on hitherto unknown maps.

These maps may have been officially prepared and then leaked to the media, or they may have originated at American research centers. But subsequent statements by the American Secretary of State [Condoleezza Rice] since the Israeli aggression against Lebanon about the "birth pangs of a New Middle East" gives this forecast added importance, if not the outright endorsement of the highest levels of the American administration.

This new vision for the Middle East is based on a geographical re-division of the region based on nationality and sect, and the writer views the justifications for such a division as follows:

The borders of the current Middle East cause much of the ethnic and sectarian strife within or between states, and that this has resulted in the taking of unconscionable measures against ethnic and religious minorities, and instability across the entire region.

Therefore, it is suggested that the various sects and ethnicities that find themselves unable to coexist have separate states established for them (for example, one for the Shi'a in Iraq and another for the Kurds). But in view of the fact that adjusting borders usually requires the agreement of the affected peoples, this may now be impossible. Therefore, such a border correction may have to be carried out by other means, even if that requires the shedding of blood to realize the purpose.

Meaning that the article brings the good news that the borders of the New Middle East are to be drawn with the blood of its people (meaning our blood). This compelled the author to choose the strange title of Blood Borders for his article.

Under the plan for remapping the borders of the Middle East, some countries will lose land and others will expand by annexing lands at the expense of those which are to shrink, with a scenario that appears something like the following [See maps ]:

1) Iraq: To be divided into three states (Shi'ite, Sunni, and Kurd).

-- a) The Kurdish State: Includes Iraqi Kurdistan, which comprises Kirkuk and part of Mosul, as well as parts of Turkey, Iran, Syria, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

-- b) The Shi'ite Arab state: Made up of southern Iraq and the eastern portion of Saudi Arabia, as well as southwestern parts of Iran (Ahvaz Province), meaning that it comprises nearly a complete semi-circle around the east and west Arab Gulf.

[Editor's Note: It's interesting that this author refers to the Arab Gulf, rather than Persian Gulf, as Syria's supposedly close ally Iran would prefer it be called].

-- c) The Sunni Arab state: Built on the remainder of Iraqi territory, with a portion of Syria.

2) Syria: Would lose a portion of its northern territory to set up a Kurdish state, and parts of Iraqi lands would be added to that.

3) Iran: Would lose parts of its land to the Arab Shi'ite state, as previously noted, as well as portions to the Kurdish state and to a united Azerbaijan. Likewise, parts of Iran's southeast would be taken to set up the new state of Free Baluchistan, with the remainder going to a Shi'ite Persian state.

4) Afghanistan: Will lose portions of its southwest to the new Baluch state.

5) The new Baluch state, or “Free Baluchistan:” Will be founded on part of southeastern Iran and part of southwestern Afghanistan in the area called Baluchistan, which is inhabited by Baluchs, most of whom are Sunni Muslims.

6) Saudi Arabia: Would be divided into two countries, one of them a religious state (or, as the article calls it “an Islamic Sacred State”), which will include the Holy places of Mecca and Medina, in a political arrangement along the lines of the Vatican [the article calls it a Muslim Super-Vatican], and the other state, which would include the remainder of the territory of the current Kingdom.

7) Yemen: Would include parts of southern Saudi Arabia.

Jordan: Would become Greater Jordan, which would comprise the parts of Palestinian land occupied [by Israel] in 1967 and portions of northern Saudi Arabia, which would once and for all become a homeland for Palestinians, for those both in the Diaspora and under occupation.

9) The borders of the rest of Arab Asia would be left unchanged. As for the Arab countries of North Africa, they were not addressed in the article, and perhaps that is because they were considered outside the geographic bounds of the New Middle East.

After examining the available maps and the public statements of American officials, a number of objectives can be discerned, the most prominent of which are:

The fragmentation and weakening of the Arab region, making it easier for the United States of America to dominate its markets and its petroleum, (60% of world's proven oil reserves and 31% of its natural gas); and it would consolidate Israeli hegemony over its small and weak neighbors, which would force some of them to appeal to the Hebrew state for protection.

The incorporation of Israel into the region such that it would transform itself from an ostracized religiously-based state into one of a number of countries founded on the same principle, making its continued existence in its present environment possible - or rather, even in harmony with the natural order of things.

The draining away of strength from political Islam - or as its supporters would call it, Islamic awakening. In this way, sectarian conflicts would remain between countries in the region, rather than being directed at or fought against the United States on its own land, or against American interest in other countries.

At first glance, the project described above appears as if it were taken from one of the legends of the east or lifted from the tales of A Thousand and One Nights. But since the folly and adventurism of this American administration are fully recognized; and given what we know about the fundamentalist neoconservatives in the White House, who are infamous for their fanaticism and radicalism, we have little choice but to examine this plan and pay very serious attention.

If the American administration reformulates the frontiers of the Middle East in accordance with this or some similar project, we must expect that the region will be plunged into bloody and violent conflict, the opening scene of which is the Israeli aggression against Lebanon. The following scenes will witness a weakening of resistance forces in the region including in the forces of Hezbullah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, and the strength of [Washington's] regional opponents, primarily in Syria and Iran.

So that the core question that remains is this: who will write the final scene in the struggle that lies before us?

Without a doubt, the victors will write it, and the victors will be determined by which people are in possession of the skills and experience to undergo trials and suffering. They who experience the greatest testing will be capable of paying the price for victory, satisfied with the costs and the burdens.