MIDDLE EAST ROUGH DRAFT 10
Countries in the Middle East region have taken up the physicalenvironment and the riches it possesses to their advantages. However,there are some countries in the region that have suffered immenselyas a result of the riches presented by the physical environment. Mostcountries in the region are endowed with gold, oil and other naturalresources which have become a source of conflict in the region (Kemp& Harkavy, 2015). It is worth to start with analyzing how somecountries in the region have impacted the physical and the culturalenvironment to their benefits. Some countries in the Middle East haveexplored the natural resources they have to better their economies.It is abundantly clear that the Middle East remains the majorproducer of oil and the region controls the world oil prices to date(Dumper, 2015). Countries such as Saudi Arabia have become extremelyrich from the sale of oil. Stable governments such as the ones inIran and Israel have seen these countries explore the physicalenvironment to their advantage (Longrigg & Jankowski, 2015).There have been oil exports from these countries and this has enabledthem to create immense wealth. Countries such as Israel have beenregarded as some of the most progressive and prosperous nations inthe 21st century. Although some physical environments aredesert in nature, some countries such as Israel have managed to useirrigation to foster agricultural productivity and the growth offlowers (Kemp & Harkavy, 2015).
Countries such as Iran have also suffered from the lack ofsufficient rainfall and projects such as the Kur River plan are meanto provide water for irrigation and conserving the rest. These justbut some of the countries that have taken the physical environmentpositively in the region to their advantage. The existence of analmost universal religion of Arab with a few exceptions of Islam hasenabled peaceful co-existence between the people and as a resultsuccessful economies (Kemp & Harkavy, 2015). The physical and thecultural environment has had some negative effects on the region aswell. The region has impacted the physical and cultural environmentto its disadvantage. The dry nature of the region has influenced theagricultural activities in the region. There is little or noproduction of food in some countries in the region and they have torely solely on imports. The cultural aspect of Islam in Iraq and Irancontinue to elicit conflicts (Longrigg & Jankowski, 2015). Thisis the negative effect of cultural environment in region.Additionally, the fight between Israelis and Palestine is as a resultcultural differences. It is clear that the cultural environment hashad number detrimental effects on the social and economic status ofcountries such as Iraq (Roskin & Coyle, 2012).
Region’s geography and conflict
The Middle East is a largely semi-arid land with just 20% of theregion receiving sufficient rainfall. Areas within the Middle Eastwhere there are no flat land is occupied by mountains and hills. Themost mountainous countries in the Middle East include Iran, Iraq,Syria, Turkey and Lebanon. The region has been divided into variousareas such as the northern Africa, Levant, Arabian Peninsula andother countries which include Israel, Iran, Turkey Eritrea andSomalia. Research has indicated that there is no single agreed upondefinition of the Middle East (Kemp & Harkavy, 2015). This isbecause the region cannot be defined in terms of religion, languageor even ethnicity. For this reason, the region has largely beendefined with regard to the countries that constitute it. It is usefulto note that the region’s physical map has been changing over theyears with some countries such Armenia and Azerbaijan leaning towardsEurope owing to their social and economic developments (Kemp &Harkavy, 2015).
The region is in an area that is over 5 million square miles andmost of the land is dry and flat. Deserts such as Arabian Peninsulaand Sahara in North Africa are all areas in the Middle East which areinhabitable. As mentioned earlier, there are regions where there aremountains which are occupied with snow especially during winter(Dumper, 2015). The geography of the region indicates that there arewater bodies around the Middle East which makes water transport easy.It is however worth noting that some regions have shallow waterswhich inhibit water transport. This is for example in the regionbetween Mediterranean and Black seas. The map below is arepresentation of the map of the Middle East and its environs:
It is clear from the map above that the region under discussion inthis paper is surrounded by other major continents such as Africa,Europe and Northern Asia. This gives the region an added advantage interms of trade due to the ease of water transportation. SaudiArabia, Iran and Afghanistan occupy a large area in the region(Dumper, 2015). It is clear that the small countries such as Israeland Palestine are the ones engaged in conflicts year in year out.
The map below is clear indication of how the region is strategicallyplaced in such a way that it has access to many continents via sea.The arrow points to the region where there is immense oil and thearea which constitutes the Middle East. Areas where there are immenseoil deposits have been labeled clearly. Other continents surroundingthe area have also been shown.
The Middle East has been embroiled in conflict for decades mainlyover boarders. One of the primary conflicts is one between Israel andPalestine. The source of the conflict between these two states is theboarder. Whereas Palestine want Israel to stick to the 1967 borders,Israel Believes that the modern boundaries should be enforced. Thishas led to an endless conflict without any of the two countrieswilling to compromise. The Gaza strip is a small piece of land whichboth countries claim to own. The Jews from Israel base theirownership from the Bible while the Muslims and Christians inPalestine claim the land since they have lived in it for hundreds ofyears (Arberry, 2014). No country wants to leave the strip of landwhich is approximately 10000 square miles to the political control ofthe other. It is useful to state that despite the people from the twocountries being different in terms of religion their beliefs do notconstitute the cause of the conflict.
There have been religious and culturally based conflicts in someparts of the Middle East. For instance, the conflict in Iraq wasbetween the Sunni and the Shiite. The two religious groups were allfighting for the political and economic control of the country. InSyria, conflicts and fights between the ISIS and the governmentforces are continuing (Arberry, 2014). ISIS has managed to takecontrol of almost 60% of the country. It is largely argued that thegovernment is formed by the Alawite who are fighting against theSunni dominated rebel groups. There are numerous conflicts in theMiddle especially when these forces are fighting over oil and otherresources (Arberry, 2014).
Iraq has been another country in the Middle East that has hadenormous amount of conflict due to leadership wrangles. Thedictatorial leadership of Saddam Hussein raised conflicts in thecountry which is endowed with Oil. The links to terrorism of Husseinwas the major source of conflict in Iraq. Other countries such as theUS and Britain invaded the small country to try and bring back peaceand end the possibilities of terrorism. The country’s leadershipwas accused of planning mass destruction through dangerous weapons(Drysdale & Blake, 2012). The invasion of the country led to whatwas later called the Iraq war. This war led to immense destruction ofproperty in the country. The countries such as the US which invadedthe country found no weapons of mass destruction as they hadpostulated. The war affected the economy of the country to a verygreat extent (Gaile & Willmott, 2013). There was lack ofpolitical stability in the country and numerous innocent people werekilled. It is abundantly clear that the effects of the war weretremendous and disastrous. In other words, it can be argued that thewar effects of a conflict will hardly be positive.
I feel that it is high time that the countries fighting within theregion found a lasting solution for the conflicts. It is essentialfor the countries such as Israel and Palestine to find solutions forthe conflicts which have led to death of numerous innocent men, womenand children. I feel that there are other ways such as negotiationswhich the leaders from the conflicting countries can use to settlethe conflicts. It is essential for the countries to look at theriches that come from the oil and stop the conflicts hence buildtheir economies (Telhami, 2012). The international community has avery huge role to play in the Middle East. Bodies such as the UN mustengage the various conflicting parties in a bid to find a lastingsolution to the conflicts. It is essential for countries such as theUS to avoid attacking countries like Iraq in a bid to get out weaponsof mass destruction. It is high time that the world realizes thatfighting will never solve anything and that peace talks are the wayto go. I honestly feel that the conflicts in the Middle East asdriven by hidden interests. Considering that the region holds almosttwo thirds of the world’s oil reserves is a reason enough for otherforeign countries to be interested in the region. A little researchhas indicated that most of the countries with oil such as Nigeria,Somalia and Sudan are embroiled in unending conflicts over thecontrol of the oil fields. Critiques have argued that America andBritain, as well as the other countries which invaded Iraq wereinterested in the oil and not to bring freedom to the people of Iraq.
There are no positive effects of the conflicts in the Middle Eastregion. The conflicts have only led to numerous deaths of people anddestruction of property. The conflicts affect the income from oil andinterfere with its exploration and drilling. The conflicts in theregion have affected the prices of oil in the entire world (Longrigg& Jankowski, 2015). Lack of peace in the region attracts theattention of other world leaders such as the US and the UK. Theregion has been reduced to a region of war and conflict for decades.The effects of the conflict have made the region to lag behind interms of development.
There are a number steps that can be taken to resolve the conflictsin the Middle East. To start with, the conflict between Israel andPalestine regarding the Gaza strip can be ended if one of thecountries would compromise and release the Gaza strip. It isabundantly clear that Israel is invading the strip and it would beprudent for the country to relinquish the land (Longrigg &Jankowski, 2015). It is essential to have negotiations between thetwo leaders from both Palestine and Israel to try and resolve theconflict without bloodshed. This should be through the UN and otherstakeholders. Respect for the rule of law is a paramount to endingthe conflict in Gaza. Both parties must abide by the agreements theyenter into (Longrigg & Jankowski, 2015). Other conflicts in theregion are mainly caused by political power struggles. Countries inthe Middle East such Iraq and Iran must learn to be democratic and torelinquish political seats after the end of their terms. In otherwords, the major issue in the region is the lack of democracy.Leaders in the Middle East must embrace democracy if the conflictshave to be brought to an end.
There is a need to develop a plan on how the income from oil saleswill be distributed. It is clear that the proceeds from oil salesform the basis for the conflict. The government and the opposition inthe countries with conflicts fight over the proceeds of oil. Thereneeds to be a written agreement on how every citizen in the MiddleEast will benefit from the proceeds of oil. The Gaza strip, which isa major source of conflict, can be explored for oil and Israel andPalestine can agree on how to divide the proceeds from the oilwithout any of the two countries owning or claiming to own the strip.
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