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Conflicts and Crises in the Middle East

The Middle East crisis and conflicts are extremely complicated issues in the region making it the most volatile region in the world.

A Brief Introduction to the Middle East

The Middle East is a geopolitical region that comprises several countries such as Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Yemen, Palestine, Israel, and Syria.

Why Crisis in the Middle East?

The bone of contention in the Middle East is a race for power. Maximum influence on the region, competition for energy resources, hegemony over waters, and intervention of world powers are adding salt to the injury.

Ethnicity: the bone of contention in the Middle East

The Middle East is the home of three religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. There is a sub-division in each religion. The most widespread religion is Islam. Islam has two major sub-divisions: Shia and Sunni. Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Bahrain are Shea Muslim countries while the rest of the 85% population of the Muslim countries is Sunni. Because of diversity in beliefs, conflicts and rivalry between these Muslim states are obvious. Apart from inter-sect conflicts, inter-religion conflicts are also contributing to the instability of the region.

Major Players for Attaining Maximum Influence on the Region

Middle East

Saudi Arabia and Iran are the major players in gaining maximum influence on the region. Both are fighting proxy wars in different countries in the region. For example: in Syria, Iran is backing the government whereas Saudi Arabia is supporting rebel groups in Syria. Another example is Yemen where Saudi Arabia is helping the government, but Iran is backing rebels. Both of the countries wish to be the representative of the Muslim countries in the world.

 Anticipation and Indications of Water Wars in the Middle East

Rivers are the source of freshwater in the Middle East. Owing to global warming, most of the rivers have lost their annual flow. So, water conflicts are much more likely to happen. In addition to it, dam construction is uplifting water evaporation rate which results in water scarcity. It would lead to tensions between states because building a dam blocks the access of other countries to water.

Some Case Studies

Euphrates and Tigris Rivers

Several dams constructed on these rivers in the Fertile Crescent region are the mean of power supply to many. Because of this importance, Islamic States have been fighting for taking control of dams.

 Haditha Dam

Opposite the flow of the river Euphrates, there is the Haditha dam which controls the water flow across Iraq. The United States protected it from Islamic State militia groups via airstrikes.

Mosul Dam

The dam on the Tigris is an unstable source of energy. In case of failure, it could flood Mosul city of Iraq in just 3 hours and then Baghdad in just 72 hours. It was captured by IS in 2014, but Iraq successfully retook it with the help of the US.

Tabqa Dam

Tabqa dam is of great significance for Syria. It supplies water to the city of Aleppo by filling the Assad Lake. IS attained control of the dam in 2017, but Syria took it back with the assistance of the US.

Role of Other countries in the Middle East Crisis

The whole international community has deep concerns about the Middle East because of its energy resources. Many times, world powers get involved in conflicts in the Middle East. The latest example is the involvement of the UK and the US in the proxy war in Syria and Yemen.

Crises in the Middle East

Palestine-Israel Conflict

Palestine issue is considered the most long-running issue in the world. It is the conflict of two religions, Palestine representing Islam and Israel representing Judaism, to get sovereignty over a specific piece of land.

Syria Crisis

It is a civil war between the government and a rebel group in the country. Other countries also fighting a proxy war in Syria. Iran and Russia are supporting the government of Bashar al Assad whereas Saudi Arabia and the US are backing rebels.

Yemen Crisis

Yemen is suffering from the largest humanitarian crisis. This conflict broke out between the government of Yemen and the Houthis. In this civil war, Saudi Arabia, the US, and the UE are supporting the Yemeni government. Iran is clandestinely supporting the Houthis.In short, the Middle East enriched with energy resources has been a point of attraction for the international community for so long. The instability of this region may cause the worst effect on the whole world.