Christopher BinettiMiddlesex County College
It is very important to study Iraq and eastern Syria, since these regions are always in turmoil and often in the news. These regions together make up ancient Mesopotamia. I have found very strong correlations between the borders of ancient state formations and modern-day geo-cultural divides. In this article, I suggest that we take these long-term patterns seriously when deciding what to do with eastern Syria and Iraq. We should not dismiss the idea of making internal or external borders more in keeping with divisions of the land based upon identity politics in modern-day Mesopotamia. Also, this paper makes us all aware of easily-forgotten groups, like the Syriac Christians on northern Iraq and eastern Syria, who are often conveniently left off of mainstream news broadcasts. In sum, the Ur III bala taxation system correlates very strongly with the modern Shia/non-Shia divide within modern Mesopotamia.
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