Middle East in Crisis

By Khalid, Prof Dr Iram; Naz, Uzma | Journal of Political Studies, Winter 2018 | Go to article overview

Middle East in Crisis


Khalid, Prof Dr Iram, Naz, Uzma, Journal of Political Studies


Introduction

Thomas Hobbes is known as the political scientist who observed that the core of human behavior is based on selfishness and its own interests. According to him, the notion of international law, moral, political and ethical norms a society preaches is hypothetical in its nature. This observation of Hobbes can be viewed in contemporary Middle Eastern politics where a large number of actors, state as well as non-state, are involved and playing the regional dynamics in their own interests. Though all the regions are facing different crises, ranging from economics to political, security or environmental but Middle Eastern region proved to be tumultuous region as it is facing all these issues simultaneously. However, this research paper focuses upon political and security crises that Middle East is witnessing currently.

Middle East is home to a lot of crises which are significant in the history of international politics due to their complexity and longevity. Till now, none of the issues are resolved completely and new crises are emerging, adding to the complexity of Middle Eastern political scenario. The convoluted dynamics of Middle East are serving as a barrier to the peace processes and stability in the region. This article would analyze multiple crises that Middle East is facing and would determine the role of various actors that are disturbing the tranquility in Middle East (Pollack, 2015).

Middle East- A Geo-Political Introduction

Unlike other regions in the world, the term Middle East is not self-explanatory and is stretched into various directions and geographical demarcations. Marked by Alferd Mahan in 19th century, the term Middle East is originated by British Indian office in early 19th century. The region that was termed as Middle East was located between current Arabian Peninsula and South Asia. Geographically, it might be difficult to demarcate exact boundaries of Middle Eastern region, but it is usually defined as a region that starts from present day Arab world, Turkey, Iran and Israel. It is a diverse and considerably large geographical area, with a total area of 3500,000 square miles (Kublin). The region is extended from the Arabian Sea in the South to the Black Sea in the north and from the Mountains of Iran in the East to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. More specifically, to north, the region is separated from Europe by Caucasus Mountains. To southwest, the Middle East is connected with Africa. And to its East, it has Central Asian and South-Asian regions. Its geostrategic significance is multiplied because it is surrounded by major seas namely Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Black Sea, and the Red Sea.

The Middle Eastern region is comprised of multiple ethnic and religious identities. It is home to of Arab world largely; however, some non-Arabs States are also included. Following countries are Part of the Middle East region; Israel, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Iraq, Lebanon, Qatar, Yemen, Jordan, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Cyprus.

The region of Middle East is a place of rich civilizations. It is composed of broader Arab and non-Arab ethnics. Besides, there are many sub-ethnicities as Kurds are one of the large ethnicities living across the border of multiple Middle East Countries. These irredentist trends are one the major regional dynamics that shape and reshape the intensity of the existing conflicts in the region. Moreover, there is also a sectarian diversity (Younis, 2017). Majority of the Middle East states have Sunni population but some states have Shiite majority and few others have considerable Shiite Minority. For instance, Iran, Kuwait and Iraq have Shiite majority while Lebanon has considerable Shiite minority, however, all other States have Sunni majority population. This diversity breeds a space for sectarian violence in the region. Not only sectarian diversity but religious differentiation can also be seen. …

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