Coronavirus and the Middle East

(Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Col. (res.) Dr. Dan Gottlieb and Lt.-Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar - The collateral damage of the pandemic will be extremely meaningful for the Middle East beyond the direct medical implications. The sharp fall in oil prices resulting from reduced demand has badly hit the economies of oil-producing Arab countries. Countries that rely heavily on tourism (Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, and, to a lesser extent, Israel) have suffered severely from the total halt in visitors. Government credibility all over the region has been challenged because of suspiciously low official figures on coronavirus victims. In Lebanon, unemployment has passed 40%, and there is a general expectation of a Hizbullah takeover. The Turkish lira has fallen again, and President Erdogan's popularity is in sharp decline. It is almost certain that Turkey's economic problems will have a significant influence on its intervention in Syria and Libya. The Palestinian issue has been pushed to the sidelines. One sees more and more people - mainly on social media - saying openly that they no longer care about the "Palestinian cause." The Arabic hashtag "Palestine is not my problem" has spread all over social media, though many oppose it. Every state in the region stands alone in its struggle against the virus and its ramifications. No one speaks of an Arab - let alone an Islamic - fraternity or solidarity, ideas that have been revealed once again as hollow rhetorical slogans. Col. (res.) Dr. Dan Gottlieb served four rounds of service in different parts of Africa. Lt.-Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior research associate at the BESA Center, served for 25 years in IDF military intelligence.

2020-05-28 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive