The Middle East on Fire

Source: FAO Aquastat, Oxford Analytica

When people from the West and its mainstream media try to analyse what's happening in the Middle East all they talk about is armed conflict and war. But never do they mention the deep fundamental drivers of energy, water scarcity and climate change

Many countries in the Middle East are extremely vulnerable and on the verge of break down because they cannot deal with mounting economic/energy and environmental costs. Only a little disturbance is needed to make these states fall apart and then all hell can break loose. It has nothing to do with what type of people they are, its simply a matter of survival that brings out the worst in people. When water resources dry up, agriculture collapse, there's no way to make and income and food becomes unaffordable people tend to riot no matter which country. Thats what happened during the French revolution, after 1 million died from famine and peasants turned on the ruling elite.

Displaying a complete lack of understanding of the situation, and utter lack of morality, the imperial powers decided to try and grab the regions oil resources by getting rid of Saddam Hussein but instead created a power vacuum that was filled by al-Qaeda extremists who rapidly transformed into the Islamic State. Then followed by a proxy war over resources and power between many different actors in the region. Never ending fighting with no real benefits for anyone involved. The US "divide and rule" strategy is an utter failure. 

Intensifying the fight against extremists doesn't deal with the fundamental drivers of why they exist in the first place. Instead its producing more extremists as the conditions that laid the groundwork for the rise of IS are worsening. The long-term ecological crisis of especially water stress is worsening in the region. Severe drought conditions intensified by water mismanagement and climate change have led to failed crops and lack of clean drinking water. Leading to increasing food import reliance and pushing people to move into the cities where there are no job opportunities, creating tensions. Then government subsidies for food and fuel get slashed as state revenues from falling oil exports decline. This at a time when oil and food prices have steadily risen and have had major spikes on the international market. That's the perfect storm

Absolutely nothing have been done to build local capacity to cope with extreme weather or manage ecosystems more sustainably. The conditions of deepening water scarcity are projected to intensify in coming years and decades. Meanwhile population keeps growing. And that's why the future in the region looks bleak. The US idea of turning Iraq into a booming oil economy is simply nonsense. Even if there is still more oil left in Iraq, compared to Syria, Yemen or Egypt, they too will face peak oil within a decade or so. Hedging your entire future on oil is utterly idiotic and as we witness very destructive.

Yemen reached a production peak in oil in 2001 and has now practically collapsed. Acute water scarcity and lack of food is reaching levels of mass famine. Nationwide fuel shortages are routine and economic activities have come to a halt. Livelihoods are destroyed, people starve and live in misery, and yet the US and UK support Saudi Arabia's bombing campaign of the country. 

The Conflict Shoreline by Eyal Weizman. Shows the aridity line, areas of about 200 millimetres of rainfall a year, considered the minimum for growing cereal crops on a large scale without irrigation, and western drone strikes in red dots

Egypt has become a net importer of oil and food and is struggling to pay its bills for a growing population. Poor water management (irrigation, pollution, dumping of waste) and growing demand has led to water scarcity in the country. Cairo residents don't have access to water for large portions of the day. The U.N. World Water Development report for 2018 warns that Egypt is currently below the U.N.’s threshold of water poverty and dramatically heading towards absolute water scarcity (500 m3 per capita).

Even if we are able to limit global warming to 2 degrees the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will become unbearably hot and many parts unlivable in the coming future. Prolonged heat waves and dust storms will plague the already arid region. Destroying much of the region's agricultural potential. Researcher are expecting a climate exodus from the region. Of which we have seen only the beginning. 


Out of the ashes into the fire

0 kommentarer: