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A frequent occurence in Twenty Minutes into the Future
settings, especially those with some version of The War on Terror
. A strange coalition that seems to consist of most Islamic and/or Arab nations or just of numerous terrorist organizations (often themselves funded by a Western Ancient Conspiracy
of some sort) excluding Pakistan, Turkey and Iran. (Sometimes, writers who don't know better have Shia, Persian Iran uniting with Arab Sunni states like Saudi Arabia; the Islamic Republic of Iran has quite the record as a sponsor of terrorists, but they're generally not the same terrorists.)
This seems to often be used as a strange version of an Anonymous Ringer
for nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya and other Southwest Asian or Middle Eastern states.
Prior to the 1980s, these tended to be secular military dictatorships or socialist/nationalist regimes (like the real-life abortive attempt to set up a United Arab Republic combining Egypt, Syria and Iraq, as well as Libya's attempt). Since the rise in fundamentalism, Iranian Revolution and especially 9/11, a more popular idea is to combine it into one huge poorly defined "Inevitable Caliphate" theocracy. This is al-Qaida's primary war aim, but it is probably not in the stars — at least not if Iran and Turkey have anything to say about it. Beyond that, al-Qaida is, at the end of the day, a lunatic fringe; most other Islamists are non-violent nationalists who probably have a worse view of Osama bin Laden than most Westerners ("You're making us all look evil!
" is what they usually say), and al-Qaida itself—according to the CIA, MI6
, French Intelligence, Russian Intelligence, and pretty much everyone else—is down to about 300 guys on the run in the mountains of Pakistan and Yemen.
Israel's state with this power around is rarely mentioned. If Persians and Arabs are being conflated, there's often no mention of what the Kurds or Turks think of all this, and the Arab Christian population is — er, wait, there are Arab Christians
See also Space-Filling Empire
. Compare United Europe
and Expanded States of America
. Contrast Balkanize Me
Often portrayed as a sort of Spiritual Successor
to Red Scare
. (For fairly obvious reasons on the writers' part.)
May or may not be a Qurac
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Type I: International, Governmental Entities
Anime And Manga
- Code Geass had the "Middle Eastern Federation". Not given much depiction; conquered by Britannia fairly early.
- In Worldwar War Of Equals, as the aliens come closer and closer to Earth, every nation within the Middle East agree to help each other fight The Race invaders. Hell, we even have Israelis teaming with the Egyptians.
- The monumentally-tasteless cult film Americathon parodies this trope, featuring an anti-Western, oil-hoarding Hebrad coalition of Middle Eastern states, that includes both Islamic nations and Israel.
- The ''Ender's Shadow'' series has one of the main characters made Caliph. This one's borderline, since the Caliphate is not formally a government; instead, it's a secret, pan-Islamic shadow government that counts Israel as its closest ally. It becomes more public in Shadow Puppets, when the Caliph conquers India and defeats China.
- The Caliphate in Stuart Slade's TBOverse actually subverts this trope in that the stories show the proposed caliphate to be unworkable due to its internal contradictions and it collapses in barely more than a decade. By the time of the last story, set in 1986, "The Caliphate" has collapsed and the ruling authorities are trying to rebuild their relations with the rest of the world.
- In Tom Clancy's Executive Orders the ayatollah leading Iran manages to unite his country and Iraq with an eye towards further expansion but it doesn't last.
- Note that Iraq doesn't do this willingly - Saddam (the book was written prior the 2003 invasion of Iraq) is assassinated by an Iranian deep sleeper agent, paving the way for Iran to move in and take over.
- In Wild Cards, the Caliphate of Arabia runs from Sudan to Egypt, although some independent arab states still exist. The Caliphate becomes a real problem when it decide to stop selling oil to western countries.
- Some of H. Beam Piper's short stories mention an Islamic Caliphate, or "Kaliphate" in "The Mercenaries," where it's one of the world's four great power blocs. The Caliphate in the TFH story "The Edge of the Knife" is clearly pro-Western in 1973, shortly before World War III.
- The Caliphate in Lee Konstantinou's satire Pop Apocalypse.
- In Dark Future there's the The Pan-Islamic Congress. Due to the books primary setting being North America, they only get a passing mention in the news bulletins in Krokodil Tears and Demon Download, but the capital is Tehran, the Congress is currently occupying Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro. They're also pursuing Neil Gaiman for his blasphemous work ''Tintin In The Land of The Ragheads.''
- Tom Kratman's Caliphate: While the core Middle Eastern lands do become a Caliphate, it does not take part of the story. And with good reason.
- Matt Ruff's Mirage has the United Arab States, a constitutional republic that occupies most of the Middle East although it has a nasty problem with Christian extremist terrorists.
- A distant future version was the Global Caliphate in Dan Simmon's Illium. It was a genocidal evil empire hellbent on conquering the world and destroying the Jews. Eventually they became so insanely fanatical that they tried to destroy the world using black hole loaded missiles.
- The Grand Jihad in Maurice Dantec's ''Cosmos Incorporated resulted in a Caliphate encompassing the entire Mediterranean, Great Gritain and the east coast of the United States. By the time of the book it has broken up politically although the European and American portions remain Islamic.
- One of these is mentioned in the Star Carrier series. They're barely tolerated by the Terran Confederation of States because Islamic terrorists were responsible for World War III in the backstory, started by their nuking several major Western cities.
- They also refuse to adopt the White Covenant, forbidding proselytization, a requirement for joining the Confederation.
- Present in the Alternate History duology Wolfish Nature by Vladimir Vasilyev with the nation of Turan (some amalgamation of Turkey and Iran) effectively running the show. It's more like EU in Real Life than an actual govenment.
Live Action TV
- The FTL Newsfeed near-future news program that ran on the Sci Fi Channel in the mid-1990s had a Holy Islamic Federation covering the whole of Africa (except Fortress Israel).
- The Middle Eastern Alliance in the Battlefield-inspired Tabletop Game Battlefield Evolution.
- Turkey, Cyprus and Syria were taken over in the mid-2030s by militant Muslim sects (under the umbrella of "Alliance for Allah") and formed an alliance called the Second Jihad to launch an invasion of Europe. It ultimately failed, and the three countries have since broken free from these militant sects' control.
- The countries of the Arabian Peninsulanote merge in 2055 after prodding by the Islamic Unity Movement, forming the Arabian Caliphate. It then absorbed Jordan in 2063.
- There's a reformed Islamic Caliphate in GURPS Transhuman Space. Sunni only, and a bit of thought has gone into how it happened; it was formed by a number of moderate middle eastern countries. By no means does this cover the entire region. Iran (which has become secular by 2100) is specifically excluded. Despite this the author has gone on record that he wishes he'd thought of a different name.
- The setting for Ground Zero Games's Full Thrust, Dirtside II, and Star Grunt II have something called the Islamic Federation as one of the factions, which evidently controls the Middle East and north Africa (having swallowed the territory of Israel along the way), along with a number of colony planets. In a bit of a twist, the IF has problems with the breakaway Saeed Caliphate.
- Israel in the setting was destroyed by nuclear terrorism, but has a (literal) Spiritual Successor in the form of the New Israel colony at Epsilon Indi.
- The default campaign setting for the miniatures wargame Tomorrow's War has two, both founded in the mid-23rd century after the 2nd Iran-Iraq war, the United Arab Emirates consists of the original UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, and what's left of Iraq and is largely Sunni and moderate. The Union of Islamic Theocracies, consisting of Iran, Basra (Shiah parts of Iraq), the Indonesian Islamic Republic, Sudanese Islamic Caliphate, and Islamic Republic of Bangsamero, is considerably more fanatical.
- The Middle Eastern Coalition from Battlefield 2 is the Trope Namer.
- A more polished, professional-looking version appears in the Project Reality mod.
- UFO: Alien Invasion has the Middle-Eastern Alliance. Its existence is a major suprise to its founders, Iran, Syria, Jordan and Afghanistan, who originally created it to defend against expansionist China. By the end of the Second Cold War "their position was simply too good to allow it to crumble." (Turkey, along with Israel, is part of the Greater European Union.)
- In Hearts of Iron II, you can 'liberate' countries whose territory you conquer. If you conquer the Mideast, you can created a united Arab Federation which includes the territory from Egypt to Yemen/Oman and Iraq. (But not Iran/Persia, Turkey, or Libya.)
- In Tropico 4, "the Middle East" is one of the external powers you need to deal with.
- AlternateHistory.com frequently parodies this trope (especially if it's linked to bad research on the author's part), resulting in hilarious Memetic Mutation terms like "the Random(id) Caliphate", "the Obligatory Supercaliphate", etc.
- The Arab League, although it's really quite a bit weaker in unity than other such bodies like the European Union, as it's a case of We Are Struggling Together.
- The Islamic Caliphate that existed while Europe was in The Dung Ages, which al-Qaeda and other pan-Islamic organizations ostensibly wish to restore, and add all Sunni nations to.
- Keep in mind that the Caliphate broke apart after a few generations due to the Sunni/Shiite schism.
- Uniting the Arab countries (at minimum Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, and usually Mauritania and most of Sudan) is the goal of the various pan-Arab/Arab nationalist movements; this includes (at the soft end) democratic Arab socialism and (at the hard end) the Ba'ath Party (which rules Syria and used to rule Iraq under Saddam). Under no circumstances were Turkey or Iran invited. There have been quite a few attempts in real life to achieve this. In chronological order:
- The Arab Federation, a confederation consisting of Iraq and Jordan for a short period in 1958. This one was unique in that it was bound dynastically: both Jordan and Iraq were monarchies under the Hashemite dynasty (King Faisal II of Iraq and King Hussein of Jordan were second cousins). However, Faisal II was overthrown in a republican coup in 1958, making the Federation a dead letter.
- The United Arab Republic, a union between Egypt and Syria between 1958 and 1961. This one had a promising start, but President Gamal Abdel Nasser, despite his personal popularity with the Arab street—even in Syria—and his government fumbled the details. He favored fellow Egyptians over Syrians in high posts, and generally treated Syria as a junior partner—or to be more precise, as a group of new Egyptian provinces—rather than an equal partner. The union was dissolved by a coup in Syria, supported by the country's disgruntled business community and bureaucrats, that reasserted Damascus' independence. Egypt continues to use the formal description "United Arab Republic" until after Nasser's death in 1970; in 1971, it adopted the description "Arab Republic of Egypt".
- The United Arab States, a wider and more loosely-connected confederation of the above UAR that also included Yemen and existed during the same three years.
- The Federation of Arab Republics (1972-1977), a federation between Libya, Egypt, and Syria, which Sudan also intended to join. It was ratified by all three countries, but ultimately fell apart because its leaders couldn't agree on the specific terms of the merger. The stalemate in the 1973 War, which some Egyptians and Syrians blamed on the failure of promised Libyan (and Algerian) assistance to materialize, note did not help matters. The straw that broke the camel's back, however, was Egypt's decision to enter peace talks with Israel, announced by Sadat's trip to Jerusalem and speech before the Knesset in November 1977.
- The United Arab Emirates (which still exists to this day), formerly known as the Trucial States, counts on a technicality. Although internationally considered a single country, it is actually a relatively loose federation between seven different Emirates in the region.
- The Ottoman Empire, though Turkish-run rather than Arab. From the 16th up to the end of World War I, the Ottoman Sultan also claimed the title of Caliph. In fact, the last Ottoman Sultan managed to still maintain the title of Caliph for about three weeks after the abolition of the Ottoman Empire.
- While the Ottoman Sultan claimed the title, the Ottoman Empire was not this trope.
- Real life will enforce the failure of this trope at every possible attempt. The Arab nations are incredibly varied across all dimensions — wealth, democracy, individual freedom, education, the legacy of colonialism (and who did the colonizing), etc. — and there are multiple "Arabic" languages; the homogenous Middle East that most people imagine is a myth. Moreover, Lebanon, an Arab nation, is no longer "Lebanon," as the majority of its population is now a diaspora, with the Christian population displaced and Syria taking control. Historically, the Arab nations have never been in universal agreement about anything and prolonged instability has given each nation a chance to hold a grudge against another. At best, national sentiment and stereotypes about other Arab nations are similar to jokes between the French and the Germans, and at worst, We Are Struggling Together is invoked.
Type II: Non-Governmental, Terroristic Entities
- The Global Liberation Army from Command and Conquer: Generals is supposedly a terrorist organization, but in reality it goes far beyond that, with armored divisions, entire armies of soldiers, a (small) airforce, chemical and biological weaponry, weapons factories, and most of the Middle East and Central Asia under their control. They're so powerful that they conquer the Middle East and launch a full invasion of Europe!
- The Independent Liberation Army from the Real War series.
- The first Civilization II expansion pack includes two scenarios that feature a unified "Middle East" bloc, although one of them is a post-apocalyptic scenario in which the Middle East is overrun by terminator-style robots. Various Arab and Turkish empires are seen in the other games and scenarios in the franchise, but they're all historical.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer is concerned about Bart's new Jordanian friend, simply because the boy is Muslim. Homer has a dream where "their kind" takes over the world, and turns Springfield into a Qurac...and wakes up screaming. Eventually, (emphasis on "eventually") he learns that Bart's friend and the parents of Bart's friend are just regular people, not terrorists bent on World Domination.