A quarter of a century after the end of Communism swept away the ideological conflict of the "short 20th century", a new world is once again taking shape, this time in the Middle East. But what does the crisis in the region, and its refugee exodus into Europe, signify for the future of the world? And why has the noble dream of nation-building failed? Focusing mainly on religion, ideology or economics, most analysis ignored one crucial factor: asabiyyah, or group feeling, something outlined six and a half centuries ago.
Over the summer of 2013 Egypt witnessed its worst anti-Christian violence in centuries, with dozens of churches burned down by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. In Syria Islamist gunmen occupy the faith’s holiest site, while the Civil War has given Sunni extremists the chance to empty Christian villages through ‘religious cleansing’. And 10 years after the fall of Saddam, Iraq’s pre-war Christian population has fallen from a million to 200,000 and now barely clings on.