Tag: Middle East

Politics

More Arms in the Middle East

…the US Government instead chose the path of aggression and death in partnership with Saudi Arabia…

The civil war in Yemen began in 2015 and has been particularly deadly for innocents–men, women and children. It’s been made even more so due to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s use of remote-controlled weaponry, much of it produced in the USA which is one of the coalition partners.

On August 9th, a coalition airstrike killed at least 51, 40 of them children on a bus which was parked outside a market at the time of the strike. The deadly bomb used in the attack has been identified as a laser-guided MK-82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the largest US defense contractors.

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Culture

ME Primer 2: First Impressions

Even as a rabid student of geography, I must admit I had very little knowledge about the cycle of daily life in the Middle East prior to beginning my first teaching job there. I thought of the region as the ultimate exotic location–the land of Aladdin, Sinbad the sailor and genies who magically appeared from shiny lamps. So, before I can begin to share my overall impressions about Arabian Gulf culture through the eyes of my Omani friends and students, let me explain a bit about my own first impressions.
While I was studying at the University of Edinburgh in 2003, I met and became friends with student teachers from Oman and Syria who forever changed my view of people from this region. I found the Syrians to be very Western in both appearance and outlook as they mixed easily with the Europeans in the program. My Syrian friends were from wealthier families in Damascus and were quick to proclaim they were not religious. In contrast, my Omani friend, Abdul, openly bristled in social situations outside class and appeared to be generally ill at ease.

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Culture

A Middle East Primer: Part 1

Following US President Donald Trump’s first visit to the Middle East, it’s a good time to take stock and refresh our collective memories about past foreign policy decisions (those of the USA as well as others) and the effects they’ve had on the ground across this vast region. Learning from past mistakes certainly seems prudent since current events in the Middle East occupy a prominent place in the discussions that determine the foreign and domestic policies of Western governments these days.
In this series of articles, I want to address three areas: 1) the collective Western image of the Middle East and its people, 2) observations I’ve formed based on academic research and discussions with both locals and expats who call this region home, and 3) the effects of past and current Western influence and interference in the governments, and therefore the lives of the people, all across this region.

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