Stability in the Middle East and North Africa

Discussion in 'Syria, Mali, Libya, Middle East & North Africa' started by alib, Mar 19, 2011.

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  1. Cordesman Stability in the Middle East and North Africa: the other Side of Security
    My bold, this Arab spring malarkey isn't likely to be brief. Expect a bumpy couple of decades with regular oil shocks.

    The main report is worth reading. It has lots of graphs that are illuminating. Saudi scores very high on repression, as does Libya. Libya actually has a pretty respectable adult literacy rate, comparable with Lebanon. Libya is pretty bad on corruption but not as bad as Iraq. Both Libya and Iraq have terrible scores on government effectiveness. Iraq scores well on democracy, not as well as Lebanon, Libya scores badly but Saudi is worse. Both Iraq and Libya are very poor on rule of law. Libya did score well on political stability, Iraq scores very badly, slightly worse than Yemen, Iran and Lebanon aren't much better. Both Libya and Lebanon score high on inequality, Bahrain is the most equal, Qatar the least. Qatar's score are generally good. Libya spends sod all (1.2% of GDP) on its military which is nice, Oman is spending over 10%.
  2. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    the daft thing is that like saddams early days great leader had actually done some good things, the man made river project was a decent thing even though half of the 35 billion was probably siphoned off somewhere.

    he kept islamism at bay by making them read his green book and worship him instead - I wonder if he has heard of scientology?
  3. Earlier tonight tuned into R4 programme, letters from listeners, in this case arabic and israeli, the main theme being the unrest in the regions, most felt that the younger generation of "protesters" have now taken the reins from the old and bold, many of whom have been forced out of their homelands by repression, and have had to mount the anti government/dictatorship struggles from the west, ie: UK and the US.
    Armed with the power of modern communications and better educational standards they can and will inflict far greater change than their predecesors were able to.

    Now that the UN has finally got off it's collective arse and started to support the people we might be on the road to some sort of stability in the region, mind you a long way to go, Saudi next??
  4. Yes and Adolph built the Autobahns!!
  5. I can't see stability in the ME without a major population reduction - too many people chasing too few resources.

    This is something that was said in 2006 and I don't see that anything has changed to improve it,

    Demographics Of Africa And The Middle East Continue To Explode

    by Hichem Karoui

    UPI Outside View Commentator
    Paris (UPI) Apr 12, 2006

    Some analysts have been focusing on the economic and demographic pressures that drive the Middle East towards terrorism and extremism. The threat is driven by forces that are generational, rather than limited to a few years:

    The Middle East and North Africa are a long-term demographic nightmare. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the Middle East is a region where the population will nearly double between now and 2030. The total population of the Gulf has grown from 30 million in 1950 to 39 million in 1960, 52 million in 1970, 74 million in 1980, 109 million in 1990, and 139 million in 2000. Conservative projections put it at 172 million in 2010, 211 million in 2020, 249 million in 2030, 287 million in 2040, and 321 million in 2050.

    The Middle East and North Africa, or MENA, region had a population of 112 million in 1950. The population is well over 415 million today, and approaching a fourfold increase. It will more than double again, to at least 833 million, by 2050.

    The need to come firmly to grips with population growth is all too clear. Some of the most important, and sometimes troubled, countries in the region will experience explosive population growth. Algeria is projected to grow from 31 million in 2000 to 53 million in 2050. Egypt has a lower population growth rate than many of its neighbors, but is still projected to grow from 68 million in 2000 to 113 million in 2050.

    The Gaza Strip is projected to grow from 1.1 to 4.2 million, and the West Bank from 2.2 to 5.6 million. Iran is estimated to grow from 65 to 100 million, and Iraq from 23 to 57 million. Morocco is projected to grow from 30 to 51 million. Oman will grow from 2.5 to 8.3 million. Saudi Arabia will grow from 22 to 91 million, and Syria from 16 to 34 million. Yemen's population growth rate is so explosive that it is projected to grow from 18 to 71 million.

    Population growth is creating a "youth explosion." This growth has already raised the size of the young working age population ages 20 to 24 in the Gulf area from 5.5 million in 1970 to 13 million in 2000. Conservative estimates indicate it will grow to 18 million in 2010 and to 24 million in 2050. If one looks at the MENA region as a whole, age 20-24s have grown steadily from 10 million in 1950 to 36 million today, and will grow steadily to at least 56 million by 2050.

    The World Bank estimates that some 36 percent of the total MENA population is less than 15 years of age, versus 21 percent in the United States and 16 percent in the European Union. The ratio of dependents to each working age man and woman is three times that in a developed region like the European Union. The U.S. State Department has produced estimates that more than 45 percent of the population is under 15 years of age.

    Population growth presents major problems for infrastructure. Major problems now exist in every aspect of infrastructure from urban services to education. At the same time, population pressure is exhausting natural water supplies in many countries, leading to growing dependence on desalination, and forcing permanent dependence on food imports. Demand for water already exceeds the supply in nearly half the countries in the region, and annual renewable water supplies per capita have fallen by 50 percent since 1960 and are projected to fall from 1,250 square meters today to 650 square meters in 2025 -- about 14 percent of today's global average. Groundwater is being over pumped, and "fossil water" depleted.

    Much of the region cannot afford to provide more water for agriculture at market prices, and in the face of human demand, much has become a "permanent" food importer. The resulting social changes are indicated by the fact that the percentage of the work force in agriculture has dropped from around 40 percent to around 10 percent over the last 40 years. At the same time, regional manufacturers and light industry have grown steadily in volume, but not in global competitiveness.

    Employment and education will be critical challenges to regional stability. The Gulf already is an area where approximately 70 percent of the population is under 30 years of age and nearly 50 percent is under 20. It is also a region where real and disguised unemployment averages at least 20 percent for young males, where no real statistics exist for women, and where the number of young people entering the work force each year will double between now and 2025.

    This creates an immense "bow wave" of future strains on social, educational, political, and economic systems whose effect is compounded by a lack of jobs and job growth, practical work experience, and competitiveness. The failure to achieve global competitiveness, diversify economies, and create jobs, is only partially disguised by the present boom in oil revenues. Direct and disguised unemployment range from 12-20 percent in many countries, and the World Bank projects the labor force as growing by at least 3 percent per year for the next decade.

    Hyper-urbanization and a half-century decline in agricultural and traditional trades impose high levels of stress on traditional social safety nets and extended families. The urban population seems to have been under 15 million in 1950. It has since more than doubled from 84 million in 1980 to 173 million today, and some 25 percent of the population will soon live in cities of one million or more.
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  6. Il Duce made the trains run on time!
  7. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    and they are still in use, proves my point. even mugabe did good for his country at first
  8. He didn't, he just shot anyone who said he hadn't!
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  9. My to explain how?
  10. Simple answer, wars and emigration, that's what happens when you see demographics like this. The Arab Spring is liable to turn hot and nasty in places. Already has in Libya, going that way in Yemen. Reforms will be thwarted and disappoint in implementation too often, more radical solutions will be sought, young folk will vote with their AKs or feet. Do not expect this to go smoothly or in any particular ideological direction. The West needs to be very cautious about were it applies its very limited resources.

    Libya is a side show and something of an anomaly, that I hope is tamped down quickly. Bahrain has similarities but may be developing into a sectarian flashpoint of use to Qom. Le Pouvoir backed by Paris maintains a tight grip on Algeria so far. Egypt is pivotal, it also looks like the army is intent on minor modifications to the status quo into a Pindi model, which unfortunately is more palatable to DC than the risks of genuine reform the population desires. Iraq is unfortunately not an encouraging example, democracy needs to be more than elections followed by handing out patronage and licenses to steal. Sophisticated Lebanon struggles forward despite engrained sectarianism, the reactionary power of Qom and Riyadh meddling and occasional wars with Israel. The Kingships are our major interest, their populations will watch the Cario streets and may follow by example. The revolution in Egypt and beyond is far from over.
  11. Fixed all the road system and gave a 5 year grace before ****ing the economy.
  12. i thought the british army had eradicated drug use. let me remind the poster that a month ago libya, the islamic republic of, chaired the united nations human rights commission. its collective will.

    stability in the region? you are of course aware that the brother leader has hidden his SA-200's down south (with other toys), near niger and sudan, and might return them one day to theatre. you are aware that egypt has both let iranian ships through the suez canal and stopped controlling hamas. thus we have a salvo of 50+ 120mm mortars into israel, with 6 grad missiles over weekend, plus the terrorism today in jerusalem (the pros this time rather than the zealots). this contributes to stability and it will not kick-off. and saudi next? not only do you show contempt for their self-determination, but you gravely misunderstand iranian ambition vis a vis bahrain, qater and the uae. look at a map of area, historical too, of how and who britain established on the western gulf coast, (bahrain used to be a constituency of the persian imperial parliament for example). saudi next?, you should quake in your boots.

    if its not drugs then it must be the planet you come from, full of (unts.
  13. Hmmm CISI... now they have run out of commies they need new enemies I guess...

    Anyway, BS, why can't there be stability? Population numbers? Pah, so what? The reason people were restless and are rioting now is not becuase there *aren't* resources, it's becuase some warlord at the top is taking the meat and throwing them the bones. There is easily enough to go around, countries like the UAE and Oman, where the leaders, despite taking a lot, do at least sluice a fair amount to their 'citizens' are pretty stable (might have to eat my hat on this one). Case point, nothing going on in the UAE (don't think they could if they tried, they are quite feckless) and in Oman, there were protests *but* the protesters were appealing to the Sultan, i.e. they believe he would change it and was on their side. Contrast to Egypt and others where protesters pretty much instantly called for the removal of the government, precisely becuase they knew it was a bunch of shite.

    End of the day, the ME was messed up pretty bad by certain parties backing the strong man (Egypt, Saudi, Libya etc) or playing them against each other to keep them weak when one looked to break loose (Iran-Iraq, possibly Israel vs the rest). It worked pretty well, it even probably averted nuclear war at one point. For a while it was dandy, then some of the warlords such as Saddam decided they didn't want to play that game any more and questioned why they couldn't just take the lot. Couple a disastrous war that was seen as occupation, people getting more educated and having aspirations, it only took one guy setting himself on fire, one spark, and it goes boom.

    Good for them in a way, let's hope they get what they want. That is what will lead to stability, we'd do very well to keep our hands off this as much as possible and letting it sort itself out. Libya is different because Qaddafi is genuinely loony and just doesn't get that it would be best for him to cut and run right now like the rest, fat Saudi fake 'Sheiks' and all, will.
  14. I'd not underestimate the fat Sheiks. Beneath the blubber they remain a bunch of Bedu pirates just as brutal as Qaddafi, immensely richer, far better armed and unlike the batty Colonel own a good few folk within The Beltway.

    It's extremely naive to assume progressive revolutions in this resource rich region would magically lead to stability though this is an article of faith amongst the chattering classes. Wars tend to trail in behind these things like a pack of Hyenas scenting weakness.

    All I'd predict with confidence is disruption in supply and volatile oil prices.
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  15. On Naked Capitalism Guest Post: Violence, democratisation and civil liberties – The new Arab awakening in light of the experiences from the “third wave” of democratisation
    By Matteo Cervellati, Piergiuseppe Fortunato, and Uwe Sunde. Cross posted from VoxEU.