The geographical region known as the Middle East, where 60% of the world’s oil reserves are concentrated, has been changing, as has been reported, following the geopolitical dominance of the United States in the area.
Today, it is not uncommon to hear about conflict in the Middle East, especially when it comes to the war in Syria or Iraq, or when coverage includes North African or Asian nations.
The explanation – in my view – must be sought in the common denominator of this geopolitics: the role of the United States.
Washington’s latest act of war and destabilization – Donald Trump’s announcement to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem – is part of a long-standing history, ever since the persecuted Jewish victims of WWII were given Palestinian land.
Zionist expansion was the trigger – today seen in thousands and thousands of settlements – that exacerbated tensions and diminished the possible peace between Palestinians and Israelis. From the very beginning, the United States has supported and militarily supplied Israel.
The disrespectful announcement of Trump was one of the biggest slaps in the face to the international community in 2017. When the UN condemned the decision, the President issued threats, and is already cutting off U.S. aid to those countries that voted against him.
Trump began by significantly cutting the U.S. funding budget to the United Nations itself.
SYRIA DESTROYED; IRAQ MUTILATED
The Syrian nation has suffered the worst war in the region in the last six years, while Iraq continued to suffer from the mutilation caused by the U.S. invasion and occupation. Tens of thousands of foreign mercenaries, mainly from Europe, terrorists from the region financed from abroad, and groups formed according to ethnic factions have all participated in this destruction, alongside the common denominator: the United States.
Since 2014, a so-called international coalition led by Washington has been bombing Syrian territory – without the permission of the country’s authorities – on the pretext of defeating the terrorists of the Islamic State. However, these actions have in most cases been directed at Syrian Army positions and civilian facilities including homes, schools, churches, and others.
Given this context, the government of Bashar al-Assad requested Russia’s military support to eliminate the terrorists. Russian aviation was deployed to the area in September 2015, and by December 2017, alongside local forces of the Syrian Army, they had managed to liberate almost the entire country from the presence of armed terrorists.
In this bloody war against terrorism and those who support it, Syria invested 67% of its Gross Domestic Product, according to the EFE news agency.
At least 346,612 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in 2011 and more than 5.9 million Syrians have been forced to migrate and live as refugees in other countries.
Iraq has also experienced a year fighting against the terrorism of the Islamic State, which emerged in its territory.
Today, the destruction caused by the extremists adds to that which was left behind and never rebuilt following U.S. and NATO bombardments.
For Iraqis, 2017 drew to a close amid the destruction and the ungovernability of the country, with clashes between historically opposed factions.
More than a million Iraqis have been killed or injured and a wealth of cultural heritage sites destroyed.
LIBYA, DOES IT EXIST OR NOT?
Many sources refer to Libya today as a “failed state,” while others ignore altogether the very existence of the North African country. For many media outlets, Libya is only mentioned in reference to the migration of hundreds of thousands of African refugees who cross its territory en route to the Mediterranean to reach Europe. Thousands die in the attempt.
The most developed country in Africa a decade ago, today Libya’s human development indicators are truly striking.
A press note indicates that after seven long years of war, Libya has lost practically all its infrastructure, and the chaos due to the lack of authority has forced the population to find its own means of survival.
Basic services like the water supply are inexistent, to the point that people are forced to break through the asphalt on those streets that have survived the war, in the search of old water pipes, even though the country has the third largest aquifer in the world.
Meanwhile, the business of people smuggling has inundated the nation, and the methods used to prevent the hungry and those fleeing tribal and other wars from reaching European countries, have been condemned by the international community as detrimental to the physical well being and moral integrity of hundreds of thousands of human beings, who today find themselves trapped in the country in search of a way out.
It is worth remembering that Libya, bombed by NATO when the United States decided to overthrow President Muammar Al-Gaddafi, following that terrible massacre, saw an unprecedented racial and ethnic cleansing. Some 55% of Libyans have been forced to flee their country to neighboring states.
According to UN data, 65% of the country’s hospitals are closed, while the dinar (local currency) has collapsed and oil production has plummeted from 1.9 million barrels per day to just 250,000.
To assess the situation in Afghanistan, albeit briefly, it must be noted that this Asian nation is today much poorer than when it was invaded 16 years ago by U.S. troops.
It is also more unstable, ungovernable, and violent.
Terrorist groups have not been eradicated, nor has the country been rebuilt. Not a week goes by without an attack, mainly against the U.S. troops still based there, or against the Afghan military trained by them.
The U.S. President wants to reverse this situation by sending a further 6,000 troops to the country. Over 15 years of war in Afghanistan, Washington has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and officers, modern warfare and all kinds of intelligence services. But little or nothing has been invested to alleviate the situation of the impoverished Afghan people.
The Pentagon has spent 828 billion dollars, while more than 2,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed and 20,000 injured.
YEMEN: BOMBS AND FAMINE
Yemen is one of the poorest nations in the entire Middle East and has fallen prey to rivalry between different ethnic groups.
In addition, Saudi Arabia is involved in the conflict and air raids against the country are common.
Suffering the war between rival factions and foreign military action, 2017 came to a close with 18 million Yemenis in need of urgent humanitarian aid. Two million Yemenis have been displaced, 190,392 have fled to neighboring countries, and 280,395 are seeking security in their own land.
According to the BBC, Yemen is in danger of losing its future, with 500,000 severely malnourished children. In two years of war, homes, hospitals, and schools have been destroyed by bombings.
According to information from the United Nations, more than 10,000 people have been killed and at least 40,000 have been injured.
In an incomplete analysis of 2017, adverse indicators are noted, such as some 40.2 million people going hungry in the Middle East and North Africa, in the wake of the conflicts that affect the region, warned the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), according to the agency EFE.
In both Syria and Yemen, between 70% and 80% of the population depend on humanitarian aid, a percentage that is around 30% in Iraq, and 20% in Libya.
This is the most tangible result of a geopolitics whose common denominator is war and its main promoter: the United States.