A large area of instability, or absolute chaos, is spreading widely across the Middle East and in North Africa. That should concern primarily the Europeans who carry on with their lives distracted and inert in the face of an epochal drift. We Europeans have already become the main target of the inevitable setbacks of that drift.
Paradoxically, but only up to a certain point, the crisis sees excelling (so to speak) other protagonists: the regional powers, each with its short-sighted goals (Sunnis against Shiites, Kurds against Turks, Arabs against Arabs ... ), including Israel, and the usual 'big ones', among which Mr. Putin stands above everyone else with his activism, even next to a Chinese warship!
The attacks in Paris are almost certainly the prelude to an upcoming performance of stronger muscles that will generate more destruction and massacres in an area already sorely tried, but without a clear goal in the medium and long term.
We react ( as usual) in light of emotions, rather than acting. Those emotions should also arouse, if not disdain, at least strong fears for the price we may have to pay soon: the redefinition of the borders established at the end of World War I ( in an area which has always been a mosaic of peoples), by introducing new political and institutional entities cut along ethnic and sectarian facts. This potential outcome involves two consequences we are not sufficiently aware of: future deportations and mass genocide.
On closer inspection, the first signs are already before our eyes. What is worse is that the outcomes of this folly are flowing and will flow more in the direction of Europe.
In this time of history where the role of the great diplomats has vanished and farsighted statesmen are impossible to be found, the last word remains fatally in the hands of bombs, capable of destroying, but unaware of any possible future.
Professor Paolo Branca theaches at Università Cattlica del Sacro Cuore of Milan and he is the author of many books on Islamic contemporary issues.
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