Amin Saikal writes: The Middle East is one of the driest regions in the world. The scarcity of water has often been touted as a source of national and interstate disputes in the area. Some scholars have predicted for some time the possibility of deadly national altercations and regional clashes over the distribution of water resources in parts of the region. Although no full-blown war has erupted so far, two current episodes illustrate this point: public protests in the Iranian province of Khuzestan and the growing discord between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over water dispensation from the Nile River. With climate change causing more droughts, the potential for conflict over water cannot be underestimated.
Omar H. Rahman writes: The development of open, friendly relations between Israel and some Gulf Arab states has emerged as a significant new dynamic of the 21st century Middle East.
Martin Philipp Heger and Lukas Vashold write for Brookings: Economic growth plays a critical role in raising living standards and enabling human progress. However, economic growth needs to decouple from negative environmental consequences, as these, in turn, degrade the very foundations of human development. One example of a negative environmental consequence is airborne emissions that lead to climate change and air pollution. To meet any emissions reduction target, the minimum requirement is that economic growth decouples from emissions growth. Hence, at best, emissions would be reduced from year to year, at a steady pace, even if the economy grows—a process called absolute decoupling. At second-best, the growth rate of the economy would outpace the growth rate of emissions—a process called relative decoupling.
Fan Hongda writes for Think China: Although China has made inroads into the Middle East as a major investor and economic partner, some are suspicious of its intentions in being all things to all countries in this fractious region. Thus, even if there is much hype about its ability to take over the US’s role in the region, China should remember that it still lacks the power and wherewithal to exert a major influence.
go to Think China website: Chinese academic: Can China challenge the US’s standing in the Middle East?, Politics News – ThinkChina
SHLOMO BEN-AMI writes for Project-Syndicate: Ongoing shifts in alliances in the region are being driven partly by Iran’s growing influence. But the real story is in the eastern Mediterranean, where the development of major gas reserves could lead to deep cooperation or breed further conflict.
go to Project-Syndicate website: Managing a New Middle-East Order by Shlomo Ben-Ami – Project Syndicate (project-syndicate.org)
Fan Anqi and Chen Qingqing writes for Global Times: After concluding a weeklong visit to some Central Asian countries, shedding light on regional stability, especially China’s approach on the political settlement of the Afghan issue, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Syria on Saturday and is scheduled to visit Egypt as well as Algeria this week, underscoring China’s independent foreign policy, again striking a sharp contrast from the West, while also unleashing a positive message to the Middle East in countering the negative influence of the US
The Middle East has already been the birthplace of a number of tech-led transport unicorns. Waze, a traffic and navigation app co-created in Israel, was acquired by Google in 2013 for over $1.1 billion. More recently, Uber purchased Careem, a regional ride-hailing app, for $3.1 billion.
- The United Arab Emirates recently hosted the Regional Dialogue for Climate Action Summit.
- Leaders from MENA, the US and the UK, committed to key climate issues such as reducing emissions and investing in a new energy economy.
- Regional collaboration is key to tackling climate change and enabling sustainable development.
The United States said on Sunday it carried out a round of air raids against Iran-backed armed groups in Iraq and Syria, in response to drone attacks against US personnel and facilities in Iraq, with the militias threatening to retaliate.
In a statement, the US military said it targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq. It did not say whether it believed anyone was killed or injured, but the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least five fighters were killed and several others wounded.