Almost three years after the Arab Spring began its region-wide sweep – ostensibly in search of democratic change – scant attention has been paid to one of its most dangerous consequences: the fraying of borders.
Weapons, militias, foreign Special Forces, smugglers, gangs and crooks now regularly traverse borders from the Levant to the Maghreb to the Persian Gulf. And these territorial infractions across Yemen, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and other states will inhibit prospects for “democracy” more than any single development in the region.
The logic? Very simply, this: If you don’t have territorial integrity, you don’t have a “state.” If you don’t have a state, you cannot build institutions. If you don’t have institutions, you will never have representative government.