Is peace possible in the Middle East? This question weighs heavy on the minds of many individuals and international players. Turmoil and conflict in the Middle East not only affects the people inhabiting this region, but also has global consequences. To answer this question, one must analyze the sources of conflict in the Middle East, historically, currently, and in the future. The limited amount of natural resources in this region has arguably served as the most major source of conflict in the Middle East. Other contributing factors to conflict are the leadership styles of the key players in positions of power, and religious strife. History is often the best indicator for the future. Unfortunately, the Middle East has had a history of much violence and conflict. Just in the past 50 years, it has been engaged in numerous serious conflicts such as the Israel-Palestinian issues, Iraq-Iran war, and Iraq invasion of Kuwait. It may be possible for peace in the Middle East, but given it’s history, and considering the sources behind the conflict, I think it is a bleak future as far as peace goes for this region.
The article, “Why Is There So Much Conflict in the Middle East?” written by Mirjam E. Sørli et. al corresponds a great deal with the text Politics and Change in the Middle East as far as the reasons for conflict in the Middle East. Sørli et. al disputes the idea of “Middle East exceptionalism,” which says that there is something different about Middle Easterners that make them prone to violence and conflict (142). Sørli et. al says this is not true, but rather there are very simple reasons as to why there has been conflict in the Middle East. As stated, the lack of regional natural resources such as water, oil, and arable land have been the root of many wars and bloodshed.
Sørli et. al names greed as a major contributor to the on-going conflict in the Middle East (145). The ambition of the often autocratic leaders to acquire more land, which may bring them access to oil, water or arable land. The problem according to Sørli et. al is “scarcity” and “abundance” (147). Water is scarce, and oil is in abundance, but the access to both is limited. According to our text, the new “water wars” have emerged as a major source of conflict, in addition to the “oil wars” (Anderson et. al, 226). Water is scarce in the Middle East, and will continue to dwindle as the population rises. Not every country has the same access to the water sources, which will naturally cause problems. For example, Israel has control of the Golan, and Egypt of the Nile, and Kuwait of the Persian Gulf. Oil is in abundance, but only to a limited number of countries in the Middle East causing great economic disparity between those who have, and those who do not. Kuwait, having access to the Persian Gulf, produces a large supply of oil to international players. Given its high value internationally, and its worth, oil is much sought after.
Another source of conflict as...