Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Political Implications of Map Drawings on the Middle East

Dr. Ami J. Abou-bakr
King's College London

The political changes seen throughout the Middle East and North Africa this year have caused many academics and policy makers to reflect seriously on the primary geo-political, cultural, religious and ethnic drivers of conflict and unrest in the region. One of these underlying causes of tension derives from the way the States in the modern Middle East were mapped (drawn) in the early part of the 20th Century. This conference, with its title of "Crossing the Line" and its focus on drawing in the Middle East and cross-disciplinary understanding, offers a unique opportunity to explore how the (mis)drawing of lines on maps significantly contributed to much of the unrest in the modern Middle East.

This paper will briefly explore the drawing of the state of Iraq and the mapping of the state of Israel (including ongoing border disputes between the Israelis and the Palestinians) to highlight how a seemingly innocent two-dimensional drawing can have lasting multi-dimensional political consequences.

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