Since the end of World War II, US policy toward the Middle East has ostensibly been dedicated to protecting the free flow of hydrocarbons to sustain the global economy. In reality, America’s pursuit of energy security has increased insecurity in the region through conflict, militarization and support for neoliberal authoritarians. Jacob Mundy explains why oil for security is a myth and how the current glut of oil presents a dangerous new twist.
Trump’s war on immigration from the Middle East, enacted through multiple executive orders and proclamations since January 2017, is collectively known as the Muslim ban. Eventually approved by the Supreme Court, it hit the Yemeni community particularly hard with overwhelming costs and other hurdles to family reunification. Louise Cainkar explains the evolution of the Muslim ban, its unconscionable effects and what is being done to contest it. This article is from the forthcoming issue of Middle East Report, “Exit Empire – Imagining New Paths for US Policy.”
The Trump administration’s aggressive stance toward Iran defines much of US policy toward the Middle East. Any effort to imagine new paths for US policy in the region will need to reformulate US-Iran relations. Middle East Report reached out to seven scholars and policy analysts for their thoughts on some critical questions. This forum is a preview of MERIP’s forthcoming issue, “Exit Empire – Imagining New Paths for US Policy.”
The coronavirus pandemic is highlighting glaring inequalities and the lack of resources for vulnerable communities worldwide. Joe Stork, in a prescient analysis from 1989, explains how health care is always mediated through politics and power. With vivid examples from across the Middle East, this article from the MERIP archives is indispensable to understanding the current crises in public health.
While people around the world are under lockdown, Palestinian workers in Israel continue to labor in the now accelerated construction sector. While Israel’s project of control and expansion exploits their labor, Palestinians are put at greater risk without proper testing, accommodations or healthcare.
Refugees everywhere are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza are legally under the protection of the UN and Israel. Are these authorities meeting their obligations? Amahl Bishara talks to Badil director Nidal Al-Azza to find out and to learn how communities are coping.
Lebanon’s highly privatized system of health care is presenting challenges to implementing a public health approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the country already suffering from multiple political and economic crises, containment of the coronavirus has been more effective than expected. But serious obstacles to the public’s health and well being remain.
Andrea Wright talks to South Asian migrant workers in the Gulf to find out how the pandemic is affecting their lives. They explain that if they stay in the Gulf, they risk abandonment by their employers and coronavirus infection from cramped living conditions. If they return to India under lockdown, they face starvation, mounting debts, joblessness and anti-Muslim sentiment. There are no good choices.
Is the Algerian state using the COVID-19 crisis and the suspension of weekly street protests as an opportunity to put an end to the Hirak social movement? What is the Hirak doing now? How is the government responding to the pandemic? Muriam Haleh Davis interviews the Algerian journalist Selma Kasmi to find out.
Pharmacists in Turkey, like the author’s parents, are working overtime to serve their communities and to adapt quickly to shifting government orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. While steps are being taken to mitigate the impact of the virus on the most vulnerable, various forms of inequality entrenched across the country mean that certain groups suffer much more than others.
Voices from the Middle East: Doctors, COVID-19 Patients and Dilemmas of Treatment under Sanctions in Iran
Caring for COVID-19 patients without the proper equipment and medicine is difficult anywhere. In Iran it is especially devastating to know that lives are being lost due to US sanctions. Two pediatricians at provincial hospitals in Iran describe their experiences.
In Iran, the state at first wavered in response to the spread of the coronavirus but eventually led a mass mobilization across the government and military to try to monitor, treat and contain COVID-19. Beyond the official response, charities, mosques and professional groups are responding to the rapid changes in public life with new forms of social organization and grassroots mutual aid.
Jordan’s strict nationwide curfew and ban on car traffic in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is complicating crucial aid delivery to refugees. Amanda Lane, executive director of the Collateral Repair Project, explains how they are coping with the new restrictions and why the situation was already so precarious for refugees.
The Jordanian government’s severe restrictions on movement to contain the spread of COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting refugees and low-income Jordanians. While the government has established a national fund for needy Jordanian families, resources for the large population of already insecure refugees are drying up as international agencies scramble to shift gears.
Gaza’s health system has been severely weakened by 13 years of Israeli land, sea and air blockade. With 2 million residents and not enough hospital beds, protective equipment and other essentials, the arrival of COVID-19 could spell disaster. Danya Qato gets the details of Gaza’s dire situation and the response of health care workers to the pandemic in this interview with Salam Khashan, a doctor in Khan Yunis.
Mona El-Ghobashy pays tribute to the scholar Ellis Goldberg and his pathbreaking work on Egypt. Living in Egypt at the time of the revolution in 2011, Goldberg provided in-depth commentary on events in his blog, Nisr al-Nasr. El-Ghobashy’s appreciation of Goldberg explains why his insights were so unique and so influential for MERIP writers and readers.
US sanctions against Iran, along with Iranian government policies, have created insurmountable obstacles for domestic drug manufacturers who are struggling to provide people with the health care they need, especially now as COVID-19 ravages Iran. An Iranian pharmaceutical company employee explains why procuring supplies has become so difficult.
Saudi Arabia and Russia cooperated for years to maintain the value of their chief export—oil. This month, that collusion collapsed into a price war with both countries unexpectedly boosting production. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and China’s decreasing oil demands, fears of an uncertain future are shaking the fossil fuel economy.
As Iraq now confronts the arrival of COVID-19, its war-damaged medical infrastructure and degraded environment will make it harder to combat the virus. In 2019, Omar Dewachi explained how these same conditions transformed innocuous bacteria into dangerous drug-resistant strains.
Iran’s parliamentary elections in February handed the conservative supporters of the Supreme Leader a major victory. Abedini and Armin explain how and lay out why the regime is poorly positioned to deal with popular discontent, crushing US sanctions and the spreading coronavirus.