Map shows Middle East based on who actually holds territory

Originally published at:


"Say what?"


At first I read it as “Middle Earth.”

(Leaves downhearted… but NOT disappointed! Definitely not disappointed!)


This is what you get when you mix Sykes-Picot imperialist arrogance with priest-ridden backwards desert tribal cultures. What a stinking mess – the West is better off leaving the middle part of that map and accepting it for what it is: a blood-soaked battleground in a regional war between two crappy regimes grounded in superstition (KSA vs Iran).

Not far off in effect, given the medieval nature of the local players.


Color me skeptical about that “American establishment fantasy map”; it’s linked to from, which has been running hog wild with conspiracy theories for years.


My favorite country is “Desert”


It’s probably the most peaceful place in the region.


yeah, is a longtime promoter of ideologically tinged propaganda/fake news


That territory belongs to the Great Maker, Shai-Hulud.


Mine is the Saudi Homelands Independent Territories (SHIT for short).


the article in question

My current understanding is that some of these states were designed to be ungovernable, except by a complete bastard with access to Western munitions.


Ah, de facto and de jure borders… Most convenient source of casus belli ever!


A Casus Belli is a valuable asset. It enables you to declare war without any stability loss.


Indeed. It’s often far easier to get the troops together to conquer thy neighbor than it is to find the necessary excuse. That’s one of the things that makes Civilization so much more casual than Europa Universalis or Crusader Kings. Yeah, there’s war weariness; but if you feel like some conquest you can pretty much just go for it; and keep whatever you capture; not what fits within the ‘war score’ or doesn’t up your infamy too much.

On the other hand, if you have enough influence to get your enemies excommunicated, that is good fun.


Thanks for the link; interesting stuff. As I suspected: Someone made the map as an exercise – it doesn’t represent the goals of the “American establishment”, as the original post suggested with its description and the linked article flat out alleges.

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I was a bit surprised by the…presentation…surrounding that map as well. I’m no subject matter expert; but it was presented as a ‘not commonplace enough that we don’t have to teach it to you; but this isn’t exactly cutting edge scholarship/based on recently declassified documents/controversial-avant-garde-theory’ fact that Sykes-Picot arrangement(and its various more-or-less-immediate-and-usually-violent amendments and successor states) are about as far from producing stable, functional, nation-states as you could reasonably imagine; and that some of the especially nasty internal politics reflect the fact that various areas that are all one color on a map are bolted together from disparate groups who mostly hate each others guts.

It is certainly true that PNAC and friends(now mostly hiding similarly bad ideas under less discredited names) had some plans for the region that seem to combine callousness veering into sadism with cluelessness veering into delusion; but the map shown here is largely just an “imagine, if you will, that we had instead chopped the place up so that the borders align with the cultures without too much ethnic cleansing” exercise. With the rather tenuous state of some states, certain parts of it have become visible in practice; but you’d have a difficult time finding someone to get up and suggest formalizing the arrangement in public.

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I’d have preferred Dessert frankly…

If there wasn’t a bunch of oil there the West would mostly ignore it as they do with most of Sub-Saharan Africa since independence in the 60s.

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Re Civilization. I have just discovered the tactic of taking relatively worthless cities from your neighbors and then trading them back for relics and works of art.

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