Once upon a time, Iran's president said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map. Last month, British budget airline BMI beat him to it; the low-cost, no-frills airline caused a stir among London-Tel Aviv passengers who noticed that the map in the plane's in-flight brochure had omitted their country of destination. In its place: "Mecca."
Well, Israel is no stranger to massive relaliation: last week the Israeli ministry of tourism launched an advertising campaign in Britain whose accompanying maps do not delineate the occupied Palestinian territories, but rather show a bright yellow Israel from sea to Dead Sea.
Poof! Israel, gone. Palestine, gone.
So with both Israel and Palestine wiped off the map, the political geography of the Middle East is undergoing a transformation not seen since the Sykes-Picot conspiracy drew wide arcing lines all over the sand in 1916.
First, a group of development investors from Dubai swooped in on the now-wiped Holy Land and claimed it; they plan to call it "Dubai West" and fill in the Dead Sea with islands in the shapes of an olive tree and a Magen David.
Iran, vexed at missing the opportunity to wipe Israel off the map itself, had to settle for wiping the Sinai off the map instead. As an upside, this now settles the debate about whether Egypt is African or Asian.
Kuwait settled its old score with Iraq, wiping it off the map and replacing it with the glib "Kuwait II".
The United States, seeing the chaos ensue in its favourite oil garden, quickly moved to annex Saudi Arabia as the 51st state; they had to tweak the name a bit so it sounded more Native American.
Oman sold out to the highest corporate bidder, wiping itself off the map. And Lebanon finally threw in the towel versus its rival Syria; if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Ladies and gentlemen, here it is: your new Middle East map.
Unless there's more map-wiping to come.