Nations around the Middle East region are interestingly famous for sharing almost similar religion throughout the region and sources of wealth, and at the same time illustrating similar sources of conflict and insecurity. The major culprits in the scope of unending conflict and insecurity are Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Syria. The major source of conflict within this region is oil control, political control, religious differences, land and international interests and meddling of the region affairs. Insecurity in the scope of food, security, water and education raises from various forms of major conflict sources within the Middle East region. The history of the conflict dates back to the ancient times at the birth of the major world religions in the area such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Tradition of the conflict and insecurity in the Middle East region has remained to be influenced by fear of domination by other nation’s culture, religion and political dimensions, with respect to making, sharing and utilizing of wealth.
Major sources of conflict in the Middle East region
Perhaps the most famous of all conflicts that have lasted for a couple of centuries is the battle for ownership and control of the Gaza strip between Israel and Palestine. The number of death resulting from the battle between Palestine and Israel for control of Gaza strip numbers in thousands of people (combat and non-combat). The two warring nations have extremely different religious and cultural practices and, thus perhaps the inability to accommodate each other when solving the conflict. It raises the question of why it is so important for two nations to gain control over the Gaza strip. One thing for sure is that the area in question is either profitable or of historic purpose to any of the two nations. There have been suggestions that these nations should make a sacrifice, and pullout from areas won during the war; for example, Israel pulling out of The West Bank, which was captured in 1967 war. Thorpe suggests that the pullout idea would not work, as “even if the sides signed an agreement”, to pull out “discontent would eventually fester in the land, and it would result into new renewed hostilities” and hence “Gaza pullout would not defuse the conflict in The Middle East” (Thorpe, 2006). This is because the conflict is fueled by dangerous and childish ego based on the historic and religious views. For example, the Prime Minister of Israel had to go slow in signing a unilateral pullout engagement pact, merely because he hated the Palestine leader, Yasser Arafat.
Johnson (2007) identifies that in the modern times, “inequalities of wealth, external influences, clan loyalties and repressive security policies of the east Asian republics have begun to blur the boundaries between followers of jihadists, Islamists, Christianity and Judaism”. Most of the Middle Eastern nations ‘eat and drink’ the Islam religion that has extensions for “serving the cause of Allah and faith” by engaging in a holy war (Johnson, 2007). The holy war in question accommodates the activities of a criminal group, such as jihads, that pretends to honor their nation and protect their people through their criminal activities. Perhaps, this is the flexibility of major religions which control the Middle East to accommodate the holy war, which stands as the major source of energy to fuel the conflicts.
Oil is the most precious commodity of the Middle East and a number of nations of the Middle East have oil reserves. Control for the oil reserves raises a lot of domestic and external conflicts. Having in mind groups such as Islamic Movement of Turkestan, Chechen fighters and Hizb ut-Tahrir, it is easy to understand the conflict arising from control and access of oil in the Middle East. For example, Chechen fighters have participated in numerous fights in pursuit of control of oil within Afghanistan and Iraq.
Major sources of insecurity in the Middle East region
Religion is the theme of almost all activities in the Middle East. In the Middle East, especially in nations that recognize Islam as the ideal religion, the day to day activities are reviewed on the scope of religious limit. Due to religious influence and cultural practices, there is high insecurity for the mode of education in the Middle East. The conflict rising from Middle East also raises insecurity in the provision of equal education to the residents of the Middle Eastern nations. The problem of early marriage, for example, in Saudi Arabia poses a threat to education. Social institutions, such as work place, schools, game events and rehabilitation centers are largely dictated by the Islamic religion in Saudi Arabia (Mansbach, 2009). Nations within the Middle East are adamant to accept western or any imported form of education that does not comply with traditional Islamic approach to education. This in return exposes the Middle Eastern children to lack of standard education, as per the emerging global trends. In the modern era, where the internet has made the world a global village, there is opposition by Islamic activities in usage of internet as they argue that the students will be exposed to immoral influence. Most parents, acting as educators in the social learning unit of the family, do not encourage their children to use the internet for learning. This is because the parents are chained and brainwashed by Islamic religious activities and views that the internet exerts harmful influence on the children. Some TV channels are also banned in Saudi Arabia, especially those that broadcast programs that go contrary to religious activities and views. On the same note, the education system in the majority of Middle Eastern nations is gender biased, as the girl child is neglected.
Cultural and religious beliefs hindering access to the equal and modern forms of education lead to the underdevelopment as many youth find themselves jobless. Underdevelopment exposes a nation to insecurity in the scope of basic needs, which is the case in a number of some Middle East countries. Insecurity in the basic needs in the Middle East is prevalent in the dimension of food and water. Israel stands in the Middle East as a nation that has been able to meet the challenge of basic needs such as food and water due to its ability to focus on the modern technology and education. However, a few nations within the Middle East have not been able to tap into their natural resources to make ends meet. Factors contributing to such disability include environment, wars and lack of skills to utilize the environment fully. Israel is located on the periphery of a desert. it’s the most stable source of water is located in Mountain Aquifer, which is under conflict of control of Israel. There is no doubt that the conflict will continue, because Israel cannot agree to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, leaving the control of its main source of water in the hands of Palestine and Syria. The water insecurity adds more energy to the already existing conflict (Kliot, 1994). The conflicts also create a security worry as investors may shun Middle East due to the existing conflict. The environmental conditions of the Middle East are not favorable for meaningful agriculture as most lands are either arid or semi-arid. This poses great insecurity in the provision of food. For example, since the year 2006 most parts of Syria have had to rely on the aid. In return, due to the food insecurity a number of people have had to migrate to favorable areas.