May 25, 2017
The Real Crisis in the Arab Middle East – James L. Gelvin (History News Network)
The Arab Middle East faces numerous threats to human security, beginning with violence and bad governance.
According to The Economist’s “Democracy Index 2016,” among the 22 members of the Arab League, 16 are labeled as authoritarian – the worst proportion of any region in the world.
Dramatic increases in population have led to diminished water resources, overgrazing, and soil exhaustion. By 2025, 18 out of 22 states in the region will be below the water poverty line.
Besides oil, the Arab Middle East has little to export. The region was less industrialized in 2000 than it was in 1970.
Of the top 300 universities in the world, only one – Abdul Aziz University in Saudi Arabia – is in the Arab world.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report, the Arab world is the worst region to be a woman. Of the bottom 20 countries out of 144, 11 are in the Arab world.
- The writer is professor of modern Middle East history at the University of California, Los Angeles.