Abstract: It has been a hundred years since the outlines of the modern Middle East first took shape. Britain and France, having emerged victorious from the First World War, set out to divide the remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire. The borders they drew have survived till this day; the political orders they established evolved, but never quite escaped their multiple dependencies on outside powers, giving rise to endemically dysfunctional state systems. This century-old order/disorder came under sustained challenge during the 2011 popular uprisings that coursed through the MENA region. The subsequent collapse of several Arab states in turn provided opportunity to two groups of non-state actors to erase borders they deemed unjust and work toward creating new ones: the Kurds, who had suffered grievously in their struggle for a state denied them 100 years earlier; and adherents of the Islamic State, who seek to found a worldwide Islamic Caliphate that would transcend nation states. That both groups have failed so far in their aspirations attests to the durability of the MENA region’s borders. Their chance may yet come, but in the meantime, the answer to unjust borders may lie in the creation of better functioning political arrangements within them. As Middle Eastern societies start pulling themselves out of conflict, as Iraq seems to be doing today, this is the challenge they must face: to refashion social contracts and establish governing structures able to equitably accommodate a highly diverse population’s needs and peacefully manage territorial disputes with neighbors.