Recently in Middle East Affairs Category

Africa’s Population Growth’s Impact on Europe

“The wave of migrants coming into Europe at the moment has a proximate cause - sectarian war and chaos in the Middle East - but it isn't a transient phenomenon. The current migration is just the beginning of a long-term trend that will almost certainly last for at least a hundred years,” according to Nils Zimmerman, a freelance business journalist for  Deutsche Welle English.

Mr. Zimmerman said the reason is that, “Over that time-period, Africa's population is set to go from 1.16 billion today - exactly twice that of the European Union - to 2.4 billion by 2050. That's five times the EU's current population of 508 million,” he opined. “By 2100, according to the UN, Africa's population could be 4.2 billion - eight times that of today's EU.”

Mr. Zimmerman also said, “The arc of Muslim countries from North Africa and the Middle East through South and Central Asia is also in the midst of a demographic explosion. According to Pew Research Center, the world's Muslim population will grow from 1.6 billion today to 2.8 billion by 2050,” he added. To read more, see “Opinion: Europe's grand challenge - Africa's future.”

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Should Britain Make Syrian Christians a Priority?

George Carey, a former archbishop of Canterbury, opined in a September 5, 2015, article in the The Telegraph of London that:

Britain should make Syrian Christians a priority because they are a particularly vulnerable group. Furthermore, we are a Christian nation with an established Church so Syrian Christians will find no challenge to integration. The churches are already well-prepared and eager to offer support and accommodation to those escaping the conflict.

Some will not like me saying this, but in recent years, there has been too much Muslim mass immigration to Europe. This has resulted in ghettos of Muslim communities living parallel lives to mainstream society, following their own customs and even their own laws. Isn’t it high-time instead for the oil-rich Gulf States to open their doors to the many Muslims who are fleeing conflict?

Carey added: “Surely if they are concerned for fellow Muslims who prefer to live in Muslim-majority countries, then they have a moral responsibility to intervene.”

To read the entire article, see “Lord Carey: Britain has a duty to rescue Syria’s Christians.”

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Mr. Cameron, Syrians Have Suffered Enough

News out of Britain is that Prime Minister David Cameron and his cabinet are contemplating air strikes on Syria as if Syrian civilians have not suffered enough at the hands of all combatants in Syria’s four year-old civil war. The bombings mostly likely won’t have much impact on President Bashar al-Assad or the Islamic State in Iraq in the Levant. See “Britain Leans Toward Participating in Airstrikes on Syria” and “Cameron signals he would drop Syria airstrikes vote if Corbyn is Labour leader.”

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Middle East Conflicts Will Continue in 2015

Simon Tisdall, writing in the January 1, 2015, edition of the Guardian:

It would be comforting to think 2015 will bring an easing of the myriad problems facing the Middle East. But truth be told, the region is more unstable, more conflicted and more unpredictable than at any time in recent history. The hazards posed by this violent volatility are global in reach and rapidly intensifying. They menace us all, although, as is the case now, Muslims and most particularly Arabs will bear the brunt in the coming year.

To read more, please see “Middle East, 2015: further standoffs, tripwires and catastrophes.”

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Expediting U.S Access to Middle East Oil and Gas

“Following the bulk of western reporting on the Iraq crisis, you’d think the self-styled ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’ (ISIS) popped out of nowhere, took the West completely by surprise, and is now rampaging across the Middle East like some random weather event.” contends Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, investigative journalist, international security scholar and executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development in London, in a June 19, 2014, opinion piece in Al Arabiya News.

The author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization said, “The reality is far more complex, and less palatable. ISIS’ meteoric rise is a predictable consequence of a longstanding U.S.-led geo-strategy in the Middle East that has seen tyrants and terrorists as mere tools to expedite access to regional oil and gas resources.”

Mr. Ahmed perspective is thought-provoking. He notes that: “What is playing out now seems startlingly close to scenarios described in 2008 by a U.S. Army-funded RAND Corp report on how to win ‘the long war.’ Recognizing that “for the foreseeable future, world oil production growth and total output will be dominated by Persian Gulf resources,”

I highly recommend “The rise of ISIS in Iraq is a neocon’s dream.”

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Are City-States in Iraq, Libya and Syria’s Future?

Omar Shariff, deputy opinion editor at the Dubai-based English language Gulf News, notes in a June 14, 2014, post that: “The Middle East and countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan are currently reeling under the impact of violent sectarianism and rising extremism. This situation has reached a stage wherein the very existence of some nation states as united entities is under question.” See “‘Sectarian fault lines are bleeding the region dry.’”

Mr. Shariff quotes Abdel Bari Atwan, “Gulf News columnist and editor-in-chief of digital newspaper Rai al Youm (Today’s Opinion)” as saying:“We are witnessing a war to consolidate sectarian divisions. Co-existence has become impossible.”

“There are going to be three states in Libya, three in Iraq and maybe three to four in Syria,” contends Mr. Atwan, who spoke to Gulf News from London. “We are reaching a stage where we will have city-states.”

I found Mr. Shariff’s analysis informative and worth reading.

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