The Middle East of the early 21st century is looking more and more like the Thirty Years’ War of the early 17th century that tore apart the Germanic states of the Holy Roman Empire. Religious sectarianism? In the 17th century, Catholics and Protestants killed each other with gusto. Disunity? Yes, within and among the various Germanic states of the Holy Roman Empire. Great power intervention that made matters far worse? Yes, Protestant Sweden and Catholic France intervened in a big way, among a host of other lesser powers. Privatized, for-profit militaries that threw more fuel on the fire? Yes, Albrecht von Wallenstein, the greatest mercenary captain of the age, created his own empire until he was assassinated in 1634.
The war finally ended when it burnt itself out, and…
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