ISSN : 1997-1052 (Print)
227-202X (Online)
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Climate change causing political instability in the Middle East region: A critical analysis
Shahida Akther, Golam Mahbubul Alam

The perception around the Middle East and as observed as the international battleground for oil and gas is slowly fading away. Falling economy and social corrosion brought by wars, droughts, famines, and other ecological pressures deplete the region’s potential and attraction. Yet could climate change make things even worse, bringing instability in the region closer to collapse? The Middle East has already been a victim of climate change and is likely to suffer more due to rising temperatures and withering precipitation in the coming years. Falling agricultural production driven by droughts and desertification has been fuelling conflicts in the region. At the same time, tensions between ethnically fractionalized countries are likely to grow due to climatic disasters, leading to inter-communal violence. Likewise, intra-state conflict over natural resources is also connected to the discrimination occurring between diverse ethnic and religious groups. Considering those aggravating tensions and challenges, the study explored the connection between contemporary climate changes, rising conflicts, and political instability in the Middle East region. This study is the critical analysis of how climate change causing political instability in the middle-east region while for various reasons, ‘eco-sectarianism’ and ‘horizontal inequalities’ contributing to instability as well. In this connection, an example of Syria and Iran has been explored. Overall, an exploratory qualitative methodology has been followed for undertaking this research. While analysis of this research is based on secondary sources, including academic journals, articles, government, and non-government resources, acknowledged media platforms, statistics from the World Bank, UN agencies. Study analysis reveals that climate change contributes to political instability in the Middle-East is largely shaped by geopolitical influences. Climate change has been simply exploited as another vehicle of war, propaganda, or destabilization. Climate change is certainly not the individual trigger of war, violence, migration, or instability. Nevertheless, the absence of adequate water, unsuccessful watershed management, and the effects of sectarian conflict and external interests, manipulation of natural resources, and social inequality are all causes of political instability in the region.

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