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Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Problems in The Middle East” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Problems in The Middle East

Oil that is what the modern Middle Eastern geopolitics have usually been about. Given the vast energy resources that form the backbone of western economies, influence and involvement in the Middle East has been of paramount importance for the former and current imperial and super powers, including France, Britain, USA and the former Soviet Union. Prior to the discovery of oil, the region had been a hotbed for religious conflict, and wars over other rich resources and arable land. The interests that the West (primarily Britain and France during European colonial times and now the US) had were been due to the energy and resource interests and to battle against the Ottoman Empire. 

This cultural stereotyping and racism has occurred in the modern times too. Often, especially in the 1980s, war films depicting an Arab or Islamic group as the bad guys were common place. Even in the 1990s, those ideas continued, where the bad guy is often a despotic Arab from one of the “rogue states” ‘and as a result of the terrorist attacks against the US in September 11, 2001 and the resulting “War on terror”, such imagery is likely to continue. Over such a long time then, such boundaries of discourse about the Middle East have already been framed. To overstep those boundaries is to be labeled anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi, anti-West or some other equally negative label. For most journalists in the mainstream then, self-censorship is often the course, sometimes unknowingly.

The Middle East is the most militarized region in the world and most arms sales head there. A suppressed people that sees US influence as a major root cause of the current problems in the Middle East has led to a rise in Islamic militancy, acts of terrorism and anti-west sentiment, anti-US in particular. When looking at some of the actions of the US, it can often be seen why this is unfortunately so.

 After the Second World War, with former Imperial Europe weakened, countries around the world had a chance to break for their freedom away from colonial rule. This struggle for freedom and the Cold War had a geopolitical impact on the Middle East. Control of resources and access to oil became paramount, to the extent that dictators and human rights abusers were supported. Within this backdrop, we see another complex reason for the rise of terrorism and extremism. Iran has had a turbulent history in just its recent past. From a democracy in the 1950s, Iran seems to have moved backwards, from an authoritarian regime (backed by Britain and the US) that overthrew the democratic one, to a religious fundamentalist regime toppling the authoritarian one and taking an anti-US stance. The US ended its support for Iran and instead supported Iraq in a brutal war through the 1980s against Iran where over 1 million people died.

Madeline Albright, then US Secretary of State, was asked on US television if she thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children from sanctions in Iraq was a price worth paying, Albright replied: “This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.” Saddam Hussein, a brutal dictator whom the West supported until he overstepped his bounds (and Kuwait’s), had been largely unaffected by the (US/UK-enforced) UN sanctions that were responsible for over one million deaths since the Gulf War ended. Hardly reported by the mainstream, Iraq was bombed almost daily at some points during the sanctions. Medical supplies were denied for fears that they could be used for chemical or biological weapons. Yet the sanctions themselves have been described as weapons of mass destruction. Even though members of the US administrations had admitted that Saddam Hussein had been contained and was no longer a threat, in 2002 and 2003, US president George Bush and UK Prime Minister attempted to convince the world that Iraq was a threat to the world, and a mostly unpopular and illegal war (for not having United Nations authorization) was, waged. Around the world protests were immense. Saddam Hussein was eventually toppled though, but the aftermath has led to insecurity in Iraq while fears of geopolitical interests by the US and UK for the war are coming to the surface. Furthermore, the justifications used by the U.S. and U.K. for war are proving false leading to implications of war crimes.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is perhaps one of the most sensitive issues in the Middle East. From the religious backdrops (the region being centers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) to the regional ally for the US that Israel is, the Palestinian people have been denied a right to their land. Recent events have destroyed the “peace” processes and extremist sentiments on both sides are on the rise again. The US mainstream media provides a very biased view of Palestinians. Arab leaders too are criticized for not truly representing their people. The West have heavily armed and backed the mighty Israel. To the West, Israel is an ally only because of the oil interests in the Middle East region.

Often when Islam is mentioned negative impressions of fundamentalists, intolerance and terrorism is conjured up; Islamist movements and organizations are automatically linked with terrorism and are blamed for the lack of progress in the Middle East peace process. Islam is stereotyped as a threat to democracy without distinguishing it from terrorism or corrupt leaders who use the ideals of Islam to their own ends.

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