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Reshuffling the Middle East: A Historical and Political Perspective


The Middle East is experiencing one of the darkest periods in its history and a new regional order is still far from being established. Yet, it appears increasingly clear that few matters will affect its developments more than the ongoing regional demographic dynamics. The region’s history and spatial background provide a framework for approaching these epochal shifts and critically examining the ‘ethnic stabilisation’ thesis, which interprets current demographic movements as a kind of normalisation of the region’s ‘original’ demographics. Instead of this ‘medievalization of the Middle East’, many people in the region are keen on ‘getting back into history’ and ‘regaining possession’ of their multifaceted past: a powerful antidote to the geopolitical reductionism so popular nowadays.
Keywords: Middle East; demographic trends; Sykes-Picot; medievalization; sectarianism; ethnocentrism