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07/28/2011

The Middle East

I was reading the July 2011 National Geographic and there was a story titled “Young, Angry and Wired.”

“Armed with cellphones, social media, and sometimes just sheer determination, youth from North Africa to the Middle East are struggling to take ownership of their future.”

60% of the people in the Middle East are under 30 years old and heretofore their lives have been miserable. Education was awful, when jobs came they paid little, they often waited to get married and were living at home too long, and they had no real freedom.

So now the Arab Spring has hit, and, coupled with access to the Internet, they are seeing how other people live. Social media allows them to share their frustrations, while in numbers there is power.

But the Muslim world includes Arabs, Persians, and Kurds, all of whom speak different languages. As Jeffrey Bartholet of National Geographic writes:

“Some countries are rich in oil, some are not. Leadership and control vary in brutality and intensity. Syria is a kind of dictatorship; Morocco is a constitutional monarchy.   Yemen and Libya are plagued by tribal rivalries; Jordan and Lebanon host large populations of Palestinian refugees; several countries suffer sectarian splits. When anger spills out along these fault lines, it’s often destructive.”

Navtej Dhillon, a former Brookings Institution fellow who led a study of youth in the region, says, “The region faces a scenario of double dividend or double jeopardy." Meaning, in Bartholet’s words, “Leaders could capitalize on the youth bulge to create a virtuous cycle of higher growth, higher incomes, and higher savings. Or they could continue to stifle young people’s ambitions and experience double jeopardy: lower growth and social strife. For better and worse, the strife has begun.”

Total population and percentage under age 30

Morocco 32 million …56%
Algeria  35 …55%
Tunisia  10.6 …50%
Libya  6.6 …60%
Egypt  82.1 …61%
Lebanon  4.1 …50%
Syria  22.5 …66%
Jordan  6.5 …64%
Iraq  30.4 …67%
Saudi Arabia  26.1 …60%
Yemen  24.1 …73%
Kuwait  2.6 …54%
Bahrain  1.2 …48%
Oman  3 …63%
Iran  77.9 …57%

United States… 313.2…41%

Percent of the world’s proven oil reserves

Saudi Arabia 19.9%
Iran 10.1
Iraq 8.6
Kuwait 7.7
Libya 3.3

Sources: Wayne White and Graeme Bannerman, Middle East Institute, Blake Hounshell, Foreign Policy

Hot Spots returns in two weeks.

Brian Trumbore

 


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Hot Spots

07/28/2011

The Middle East

I was reading the July 2011 National Geographic and there was a story titled “Young, Angry and Wired.”

“Armed with cellphones, social media, and sometimes just sheer determination, youth from North Africa to the Middle East are struggling to take ownership of their future.”

60% of the people in the Middle East are under 30 years old and heretofore their lives have been miserable. Education was awful, when jobs came they paid little, they often waited to get married and were living at home too long, and they had no real freedom.

So now the Arab Spring has hit, and, coupled with access to the Internet, they are seeing how other people live. Social media allows them to share their frustrations, while in numbers there is power.

But the Muslim world includes Arabs, Persians, and Kurds, all of whom speak different languages. As Jeffrey Bartholet of National Geographic writes:

“Some countries are rich in oil, some are not. Leadership and control vary in brutality and intensity. Syria is a kind of dictatorship; Morocco is a constitutional monarchy.   Yemen and Libya are plagued by tribal rivalries; Jordan and Lebanon host large populations of Palestinian refugees; several countries suffer sectarian splits. When anger spills out along these fault lines, it’s often destructive.”

Navtej Dhillon, a former Brookings Institution fellow who led a study of youth in the region, says, “The region faces a scenario of double dividend or double jeopardy." Meaning, in Bartholet’s words, “Leaders could capitalize on the youth bulge to create a virtuous cycle of higher growth, higher incomes, and higher savings. Or they could continue to stifle young people’s ambitions and experience double jeopardy: lower growth and social strife. For better and worse, the strife has begun.”

Total population and percentage under age 30

Morocco 32 million …56%
Algeria  35 …55%
Tunisia  10.6 …50%
Libya  6.6 …60%
Egypt  82.1 …61%
Lebanon  4.1 …50%
Syria  22.5 …66%
Jordan  6.5 …64%
Iraq  30.4 …67%
Saudi Arabia  26.1 …60%
Yemen  24.1 …73%
Kuwait  2.6 …54%
Bahrain  1.2 …48%
Oman  3 …63%
Iran  77.9 …57%

United States… 313.2…41%

Percent of the world’s proven oil reserves

Saudi Arabia 19.9%
Iran 10.1
Iraq 8.6
Kuwait 7.7
Libya 3.3

Sources: Wayne White and Graeme Bannerman, Middle East Institute, Blake Hounshell, Foreign Policy

Hot Spots returns in two weeks.

Brian Trumbore