Map of the Day: When Ethno-Religious Groups Can't Play Nice in the Sandbox

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At the height of sectarian violence in Iraq in May, 2006, Joe Biden penned a column in the Times proposing to decentralize the Iraqi federal government, "giving each ethno-religious group -- Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab -- room to run its own affairs."

The plan called for "three largely autonomous regions," but it stopped short of partitioning the nation, even thought that's how it was widely interpreted. But imagine if the Middle East were indeed partitioned into new ethno-religious states.

A month after Biden's column, Ralph Peters of Armed Forces Journal proposed such an idea in an article called "Blood Borders." Calling the current lines "awful," he argued that "without such major boundary revisions, we shall never see a more peaceful Middle East."

Of course, trying to take land from nations like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia -- among the most authoritarian on Earth -- would unleash new waves of violence. But say the map below was imposed, would it create peace or breed even more resentment?

(h/t Strange Maps)

New Middle Eastern Borders

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Patrick Ottenhoff has been writing The Electoral Map blog since 2007. A former staff writer for National Journal Group and project manager at New Media Strategies, he now attends Georgetown's McDonough School of Business. More

Patrick Ottenhoff attends Georgetown McDonough School of Business in the Class of 2012. He previously served as a project manager in the Public Affairs Practice of New Media Strategies and was a staff writer for National Journal Group. Patrick has been writing The Electoral Map blog since 2007. As the name implies, the blog covers news and commentary at the intersection of politics and geography, but it also analyzes the stories, people, culture, sports, and food behind the maps and the votes. Patrick is a native Virginian and graduate of Union College in New York. You can follow The Electoral Map on Twitter and Facebook, and follow Patrick on YouTube.
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