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Conditions of the Middle East Through History

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As I have read and learned from my class, In the eighteenth century the Middle East went through a period that witnessed a fundamental transformation in its economy and society. I have always been thinking although the world trade grew at unprecedented rates and the middle east got wealth generated by oil many of the region’s peoples remained below standard for some reasons.

Throughout my lectures learning, I have known that Before world war two in the eighteenth-century trading patterns in the middle east and north Africa changed significantly because of the Ottoman empire, in the sixteenth the empire was sending silk and carpets, it imported more than it exported to Europe, the ottoman also traded with Asian countries, it imported pharmaceuticals, perfumes, precious stones, spices, indigo, and cloth.

The end of Napoleonic wars changed political orientation of European powers, this helped me develop a deeper understanding why Europe expanded and started looking for new exports markets all over the globe in search of food, raw materials, markets, and outlets for its energy. While substantial investments and improvements were made in some high-value crops, for me the most useful thing happened that some of the countries like Egypt were exporting cotton, Lebanon specialized in silk, Tunisia in olive oil and phosphates, Palestine in oranges, Algeria in wine, on the other hand Europe exported manufactures products, tea, coffee and sugar to the region, between 1830 and 1911 Europe took over financial control of the governments of Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco releasing that it’s because they struggled to repay their large foreign debt, I may assume that due to the large foreign debt and some other reasons European powers expanded their control over the middle east.

Generally speaking because of the different economies in the world there is a lot of people travel to work, I have noticed that the middle east especially has so many opportunities for international workers to work and that’s why many people actually travel to the middle east to work, many people from South Asia travel to the middle east to work. Not only in the middle east but also around the world there are a lot of labor migration for example North America, both the US and Canada has also a big labor migration, many people started to travel to these countries in order to work and to settle there as well, there were two types of migrants, legal migrants people who travel legally and there was illegal migrants people who were travelling illegally, for example many people from Mexico tried to illegally go to the united states so that they will be able to get jobs, Also there was many African migrants who were travelling to Europe illegally, they get on to ships from North Africa and then they travel into Europe illegally, many people from sub-Saharan Africa migrate into South Africa many people from the Asia Pacific tried to migrate into Australia, but labor migration means that there could be people who simply become what is known as economic refugees because the country is poor and they need to work which I totally agree on. In the middle east there was a lot of people from a lot of countries who were having outgoing economic refugees meaning people from these countries traveling abroad so that they can find job opportunities and other countries that would have income refugees which is mainly the GCC region, in the case of Morocco it encourages migration, it encourages its own people to travel abroad and work because it provides two things, it reduces the unemployment rates inside Morocco and it increase remittances people who work abroad and then they send money back to their families. Which in my opinion a good thing in order to reduce unemployment percentage.

Before 1974 most expatriates in the Gulf region were actually from other Arab countries mainly from Egypt, Yemen, and Palestine so a lot of them were actually from these countries, between the mid of 1970 and 1980 the Arab migrants started to decline compared to other workers from other parts of the world, so in the Gulf region skilled workers from Europe and North America came in which is a good thing because they will develop the country, and unskilled workers were mainly coming from South Asia and the Asia Pacific. I believe that there are positives and negatives of migration, as morocco encourages its own people to migrate, some of the positives that you increase remittances into the country because many migrants from the world will be sending money back to their home and it reduces your own domestic unemployment rate, although having more people without jobs would result in having fewer people without jobs, but there are negatives as well and the major negative is a brain drain it means many of the smart people in my country will simply migrate to another country because they will find better opportunities in other countries.

There was a time between 1977 and 1989 where there were food crisis that existed in the middle east ,food crisis is basically meant that people went on to the streets against the government because there was a shortage of food due to the economic crisis, it started in Egypt in 1977 and in Morocco in 1984 and Indonesia at the same time, in Sudan in 1985 and the last one in Jordan in 1889, As I have learned from my class it turns out that there are some countries in the middle east has some of the worst percentages for income goes to food, for example, Egypt has 38 percent of income goes to food and that’s quite significant, I would definitely say that with a highly significant amount goes to food what is left for other basic needs is very little. Because of these labor migrations we have got expatriates living in the country and they require certain rights even in their host countries, in most countries around the world expatriates when they do travel to work after several years of working, they would be able to apply for a permanent residency and after that they can become residence they can apply for citizenship of that host country for example Europe, North America on the other hand countries such as Canada is the second biggest country in the world in terms of area and they are less than 40 million so they do need migrants to settle in the country and develop it, which I think is very important for countries that have the ability to give people a place to live and use this opportunity in a smart way. According to what I have learned in class one of the theories why they provide permanent residency is that the expatriates who come and work, of course, will have some savings so why don’t they spend this money in the country and the money remains in the country they are working for, that’s why I think the countries who used this opportunity in order to develop their country are smart.

In conclusion, I do agree that the middle east like other regions went through some difficulties that they were unable to survive out of and had some crisis, advantages, disadvantages but taken as a whole, the middle east is in a far better position now.

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