The Critical Role of Demography in the Middle East

(Israel Hayom) Prof. Eyal Zisser - The Jewish majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is stronger than ever, among other factors because of immigration from Russia and Ethiopia, and rising birth rates in the Jewish sector. In Syria, Sunnis represented 60% of the population on the eve of the civil war, compared to President Assad's Alawite sect, which comprised 12%. The Assad regime and its allies, Russia and Iran, carried out an ethnic cleansing during which nearly 1/3 of the population - 8 million people, the vast majority of whom were Sunnis - were either expelled or fled. 10 million Syrians currently reside under Assad's control, and the percentage of Alawites has doubled to 25%, if not more. In Iraq, the percentage of Shiites who rule the country has grown to 65%, with the remainder comprising Kurds and Sunni Arabs who have been relegated to secondary status and many of whom have fled to Jordan and even Syria. In Lebanon, the Shiites have become the largest sect in the country, nearly 1/3 of the population, while the Christians represent 1/4,and the Sunnis and the Druze represent 1/3 of the population. One in every three Lebanese (2 million out of a population of 6 million) is a Syrian or Palestinian. In Jordan, 1/3 (4 million out of a population of 11 million) are refugees from Iraq or Syria. The Fertile Crescent is no longer as Sunni as it was for a thousand years. This serves the hegemonic interests of Iran. The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.

2022-01-10 00:00:00

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