Economic realities underlying Middle East violence
Economic breakdown is the MENA region's most dangerous long-term problem.
Through the fog of war, civil war, terrorism, separatist movements, sectarian and ethnic violence and millions of displaced persons, it is easy to overlook aspects of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) which in the medium- to long-term will be equally or even more dangerous.
Perhaps first on the list of overlooked topics, is the economy. All of the factors mentioned above are negative for the economy of the MENA region, and in some cases catastrophic. In some countries, such as Libya and Syria, there is no national economy left. Most of whatever productive assets have not been destroyed or damaged, are in the hands of one or another of the contending sub-national groups.
In other cases, such as Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, although there is still a much reduced national economy, large segments are in the hands of the same kinds of political, religious, terrorist or ethnic groups as in the case of Libya and Syria. It is simply a matter of degree.