Climate Change increases Middle East Suffering
Climate and topography have major impacts on people and their culture. Compare the drastic differences in the topography and climate between the vast aridity of the Middle East (ME), and the richness and variety of nature of Europe. Tall snow covered mountains supply water to wide rivers across Europe, creating natural borders, lush forests and rich soils. These differences point up why the ME has been in poverty and a source of instability for thousands of years.
It seems to me that the sequence of factors causing this instability is: 1) the combination of harsh desert conditions, explosive population growth, and diminishing water supplies- leading to: 2) continuous struggle for limited resources, leading to violence. 3) Requiring strict rules of conduct, and thus the imposition of a very controlling culture and religion: Islam.
The main reason that Islam is so demanding is to control the population. It does so by keeping the people uneducated and obedient to a central ruler: God, or a king or a dictator. The controlling nature of Islam drives its adherents to their knees, literally and figuratively. Islam does not allow their culture to progress: it permits only a strict pious education. It does not allow freedom to question, to think, or to act independently. No deviations are accepted: break the rules and you could be hanged or stoned to death. And repeated polls show that the majority of ME Muslims support these strict Sharia Laws.
Suppression of natural human needs, from sex to freedom of thought, lead to violence. Violence is an ingrained part of the culture, and is seen by many Arabs as a sign of strength, an expedient way to gain objectives. It is not different if it is between the various sects of Muslim groups, or if it is the relationship of the Palestinians to Jews. Arab terrorism against Jews started over a century ago, and since the world at large did nothing to quench it in its infancy, it spread globally. Terrorism is a very effective tool: with little resources, you can upset entire nations. The USA is spending over a hundred billions yearly, attempting to protect ourselves from Muslim extremists.
Climate Change's aggravates impacts:
Syria is a good example of instability made worse by climate change. The northern third of Syria has had continuous drought for over a decade, which has been expanding due to temperature increase driven by climate change. With more people to feed, due to the high birth rate, and less water and soil productivity, most youth have moved to the already crowded cities. With no housing, no jobs and no future, anger has driven some of the youth to rebellious groups, from IS, to anti- Assad militia. They are now "somebody!" because the culture rewards violence and martyrdom.
Climate change will continue to increase the aridity of the region and drive more people from their centuries-old farms to cities. There are 7 million Syrian refugees displaced inside Syria, and 5 million in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Europe. This extremely unstable situation could cause civil wars in Lebanon, Jordan or Iraq, expanding further the refugee problem.
These were released after I drafted this paper: AP- A recent 14-year dry spell in the Middle East was the worst drought in the past 900 years, according to a new NASA study released this week.
And this: Last year, researchers at Columbia University and the University of California Santa Barbara found that drought triggered a collapse in agriculture in Syria and the migration of 1.5 million farmers to the cities, straining resources.
The US Department of Defense has projected that climate change will generate hundreds of million refugees globally. As an environmental scientist, I know that we have been doing almost nothing significant to curtail climate change! So the refugee problem of the ME is just in its infancy.
The rich oil resources of the ME have been valuable only in the last 75 years, but the poverty and harsh conditions have been there for millennia. Also, oil income has benefitted mostly the authorities and has not been shared with the population.
Climate Change will continue aggravating the conditions there. Here is what the "Father of C.C." just wrote:
"The tropics and the Middle East in summer are in danger of becoming practically uninhabitable by the end of the century if business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions continue, because effective temperature could approach the level at which the human body is unable to cool itself under even well-ventilated outdoor conditions. Lesser warming still makes life more difficult and reduces productivity in these regions, because temperatures are approaching the limit of human tolerance and both agricultural and construction work are mainly outdoor activities.".... Dr. James Hansen, Global expert on Climate Change 3/2016
In Conclusion: The ME is inherently in a very bad shape and the future is not promising. Can we curtail terrorism emerging from there? Just a little. Not to the level we hope for. Even if a very tiny fraction of the Muslim population is supporting terror, it is still an immense level of support that will be nearly impossible to suppress from the outside. The change must come from within, and it would take a very long time. For the near term the Muslim ME will need benevolent dictators, such as el- Sisi of Egypt, or King Abdulla II of Jordan. Both want to find peace in the region, and el-Sisi is fighting aggressively the terrorism of Hamas and ISIS in the Sinai. We must give both maximum help. However, benevolent dictatorship is rare. It is very hard for outstanding Muslim leaders like el-Sisi, or Anwar Sadat, to emerge, or survive. We must recognize them early and support them quietly. It is difficult to see any other promising way...
International military intervention must be used early to stop this powder cake of religious fanaticism from murdering innocent people. And from spreading terror and refugees globally.
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