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General Overview of the Region
The Middle East like all other regions of the world joins the globalization processes. Nevertheless, the assessment of globalization’s influence on the area is quite difficult as the region is extremely diverse in terms of political regimes, religious beliefs, level of development, and other factors. The Gulf states that export oil manages to achieve some positive results, so did Israel and Turkey in part, while most of the neighboring countries hardly reached an acceptable level of welfare or are still unable to effectively deal with poverty.
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During many years of post-colonial development in the Middle East, the problem of inequality in terms of the development of the economy and society remained unresolved. Statistics show the problems that arose just after the war, which ended with the fewest losses. As a general rule, the faster and less bloody military victory was, the harder it becomes to readapt after the conflict. Actually, American experts say that the absence of democratic institutions gives more grounds for terrorism than poverty. In particular, this relates to the Middle East, where absolutist, dictatorial, and corrupt regimes create conditions for terrorism. However, the aim of this paper is to investigate the consequences that the war in the Middle East had in regards to the levels of poverty, using the example of Iraq.
Evidence of Poverty and Economic Issues
The political processes, which take place in the Middle East currently, lead to a change in the structure of power in a number of countries, redrawing the system of political and economic ties, military and terrorist oppositions. The Middle East countries vary greatly in the level of ensuring food resources and their consumption. Some countries, such as Turkey, Morocco, and Israel, are the key exporters of food products and to a large extent can be self-sufficient in agricultural products (Belge and Karako?). In turn, the Gulf countries where the climate is very dry and unfit for agriculture due to lack of enough rain are highly dependent on food imports. The governments of these countries pay careful attention to the process of getting supplies and products in the foreign markets in addition to expanding the storage of food products within the countries’ available space.
The level of wealth of the Middle East countries is also significantly different. That is why the level of GDP per capita in purchasing equality of power varies from $ 54.7 to $ 2.5 in the UAE (Lofgren and Richards 30). In recent years, the food security of the region was much changed by the political worries caused by the negative effects of the so-called “Arab Spring.” The most affected countries, such as Egypt, Yemen, and especially Syria and Iraq, occasionally experienced growth in food prices (inflation of food prices almost reached 150% in Syria in October 2013), interruptions in the supply of food, and increased dependence on international support (Belge and Karako?). Even those countries that have been able to avoid large political unrest, such as Tunisia, still might suffer from political instability and uncertainty, which negatively affect the attitude of investors towards a country and slows down its economic development and food industry, in particular.
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As for these factors, it is not surprising that in the countries of the Middle East improving food security turned out almost the hardest in 2014 among all regions of the world (Rafati et al.). For these countries the food security index was 47.9% in 2014 when in Europe the figure stood at 75.4% and North America, at 90% (Lofgren and Richards 25). This was caused by the war in the region that, as a consequence, leads to poverty. These results serve as a direct outcome of the war and its impact on the poverty rates within the region of the Middle East. As it is seen from the numbers mentioned, the Middle East countries are weakened by the war, and because of this do not have good enough living standards.
Factors of the Poverty and Economic Issues
Damaging factor in the Middle East is the question of the state borders in the region. The leaders of most Arab countries believe that the entire region is experiencing serious changes that are the consequences of globalization as well as the political ambitions of the leaders of the West, the United States in particular (Rafati et al.). In this way, the military actions against Iraq could lead to unpredictable consequences, for example, to the unplanned spread of neighboring States to the territory in order to get out of control. The expansion of the tendency of forced democratization on other countries besides Iraq is also very dangerous (Siniver and Cabrera). 212).
Furthermore, displacement of the focus of world politics’ attention toward the Asia-Pacific region together with the dramatic changes in the Middle East proved to have an impact and showed the need for attention to the processes that are happening in the huge area from North Africa to the Pacific Ocean. This is particularly important because these processes take place close to the borders of Russia and directly affect the national interests of Iraq. Political changes, economic partnership, and the main trends in the Middle East are influential factors and the focus of ongoing monitoring and analysis of the specialists of the Center of Asia and the Middle East.
Moreover, globalization is affecting the economic situation. However, in the Middle East, which is populated mainly by Arabs and Muslims, this process is often thought to be one-way. It is frequently associated only with the imposition of alien ideas and conflicts in the internal affairs of independent states (Belge and Karako?). The basis of the input to the existing situation of anti-globalization in the Middle East has been made by the Arab states and Iran. Turkey and Israel as the Western-oriented countries see globalization processes in a calmer way. In general, the idea of globalization is fairly well lit by political and social sciences in the Middle East, and they are mostly similar in their positions on this problem (Pollard et al. 16). Most of them see globalization as something negative, which is likely to put the region in poverty and cause the wars that are very frequent anyway (Rafati et al.). With this in mind, it is possible to make a conclusion that war causes poverty, and poverty is also very likely to cause war.
Iraq Situation Overview
The poverty in Iraq is caused by the lack of proper government and a great number of wars all over the region. Timmerman, for instance, states that “most significantly, poverty is an underlying factor in the broader regional struggle with extremism.” Looking at the problem of poverty more closely, the author claims that “the Islamic State’s gains in… western Iraq cannot be understood outside the context of locals disillusioned with their material realities” (Timmerman).
In this state of things, the risk of poverty is very high. It is predicted to be followed by the degradation of non-extractive industries, which would negatively influence the innovation processes. As energy matters are global by their nature, they require the joint efforts of Iraq and the world community. It is reasonable to combine the policy of resource nationalism with the trend of the world trade and integration processes in the world economy (Rafati et al.). Then, this policy may be one of the most important competitive advantages of Iraq’s oil industry, a major trump card in the conduct of energy dialogue. Questions of resource potential, pricing, and energy supplies are generally included in the obligatory “set” of the agenda of the negotiations (Jones and Elgin 158). The imbalance of the energy market, especially the oil one, is very dangerous for the world economy, and Iraq’s in particular. The lack of clarity in relation to oil prices negatively affects the plans of the country’s economic development.
The matters of preserving the integrity in Iraq and creating effective control mechanisms on its territory are quite relevant as well. For this, it is necessary to take into account the post-war balance of powers in the country, including ethnic and religious characteristics of the country as well as the level the Iraqi regime can be democratized even with US support (Jones and Elgin 158). This is an important problem because of the opposition arose between democratization and religion, which does not have the means and tools for establishing proper democracy.
Clearly, the high price of oil, as well as very low, is disadvantageous for both producers and consumers (Rafati et al.). Oil prices affect the economic and political processes that determine the value of the shares of different oil companies, the rate of economic growth and inflation in the oil-importing country of Iraq as well as the intensity of centralization and concentration of production processes (Belge and Karako?). Oil prices provide a model for the formation of other energy prices. In this way, the lack of these resources and the war, which prevents the region from the proper functioning, leads to the reduction of the level of life (Pollard et al. 9). This gradually causes poverty in Iraq.
The economic dependence of Iraq on the export of natural resources, including oil and gas, reduces the motivations of the state to collect taxes from citizens. There is not much sense in the collection of taxes if there is the possibility to obtain income from selling resources abroad (Rafati et al.). It is much easier and more profitable. The question of taxation is one of the most important motivations for the participation of citizens in the political life of the country. In a sense, the citizens who do not pay taxes are not interested in their influence on the political processes. Secondly, money from oil sales allows the country’s regime to carry out populist policies, increasing social payments to citizens (Belge and Karako?). The true aim of social payments is aimed at buying the political loyalty of citizens and demonstrating the effectiveness and image of economic prosperity. However, it appears that economic effectiveness is just suffering (Rafati et al.).
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However, all the variations of natural resources lead to numerous problems for the economy, which is weakened by the war. One of these problems is food security (Pollard et al. 15). The problem of food causes various negative situations to take place, including the worsening of the Iraqi economy, health care, and others. Finally, all of these factors form a solid basis for poverty development within the country. One of the main weaknesses of food security in Iraq is the low cost of research and development in the agricultural sector. In this way, the instability of agricultural production in the region is growing. The lack of correct systems and irrigation practices lead to the fields of crops depending on the amount of precipitation. A significant impact on the agriculture of the region caused the war in Iraq, which had a negative impact on the volume of crop production in Iraq. The country previously was one of the main exporters of agricultural products.
Currently, the main aim of Iraq is to get involved in promoting international monetary cooperation and economic stability globally. This will serve as the basis for continuous economic growth that is essential to improving living standards and reducing poverty in the country when being engaged in the process of promoting the stability of both financial and macroeconomic character to prevent crises which have both economic and financial traits and can lead to the loss of jobs, loss of income and be a source of human suffering (Belge and Karako?).
In addition, the military conflict itself is a weak spot in the region as a negative impact on the index of political stability (Pollard et al. 4). Often, a military conflict because of natural resources is mixed with interethnic, interconfessional oppositions, and poverty. Iraq is the perfect example of the statement. If the international community could come up with at least some effective measures, then it would be possible to come up with solutions to such problems as oil mechanisms (Pollard et al. 15). The military struggle becomes a permanent state for many countries and is often used by large multinational corporations.
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Despite a large military capacity of Iraq as well as skepticism about the coalition’s success in the various political circles in the US, the armed forces in Iraq suffered a crushing defeat, and this war is remembered as one of the shortest in the history of humanity. The use of a new type of high-precision weapons by coalition let the experts speak about the beginning of a new era in the art of war and the war displacement in Iraq.
However, there was also a technological aspect, which is generally associated with the changes in warfare methods that in their turn lead to the displacement of war as well. For this purpose, it was necessary not only to equip the Armed Forces with the latest types of weapons but also to create a new way of thinking for the members of the military, from soldiers to senior management. The new thinking was supposed to include new forms of cooperation, training, and practical experience. Based on the experience in Iraq when “smart” bombs were used, the authors concluded that the operational knowledge to achieve critical superiority over the enemy was still not significant enough. This was another reason to displace the war in order to find the necessary points of impact and intervention. To do this, they need self-organization, which in turn leads to self-synchronization, in which the step function becomes a smooth curve, and the fight goes to a high-speed continuum.
The paper studied the key action of the triangle: war, poverty, consequences. It is possible to assume that the essential factors which created the war consequences for Iraq (such as poverty) are oil, globalization, and democratization (propagandized by the USA). Mass unrest of people in the Arab world, which appeared unexpectedly, turned a new page in the development of the region. It is difficult to say how exactly this development will continue. Thus, it is possible to state that the causes of the intense crisis in Iraq are mainly social, religious, and, finally, separatist. In Iraq specifically, the poverty rates are caused by the extraction of natural resources. In the case of war, there is no such possibility to control the extraction and obtain financial benefits from the process. This, as a consequence, leads to an increase in poverty rates. In addition to this, the weak and poor food safety, which is another consequence of the struggle, is the manifestation of poverty. All these factors have a tendency to be united and create a general negative picture of the country. Currently, however, the poverty rates in Iraq are improving. This happens because of the powerful attempts of the region’s authorities who have been creating a plan of the country’s recovery from the military interventions.
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