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Subject: Mid East failures: due to Islam, Oil or something else?
eu4ea    3/8/2006 6:36:14 PM
We were having an interesting discussion about this subject on another thread (, but moved it because we were hijacking that thread. So far there are two main views: - The root of the problem is Islam There's some variation around this (radical islam vs islam in general, others), but the basic argument is that Islam itself is the main cause for the region's violence, poor government, repression of women/minorities, support of terrorism and other failings. - The root problem is oil. The basic argument here is that the root problem is the fact that the region is entirely dependent on the export of oil. Historically areas that are dependent on the export of a single resource (gold, diamonds, metals, coffee, spices, narcotics...) have developed spectacularly bad government, and what we see in the middle east is just the local flavour of "spectacularly bad government". - The root is in other stuff I have to admit we havent got much of this yet, but i could think of a series of other things people could blame the region's woes on - Israel, arab nationalism, status as former colonies, US imperialism, and others.. I personally support the "root problem is oil" hypothesis - but have at it! ;)
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JIMF    RE:Mid East failures: due to Islam, Oil or something else?   3/8/2006 7:52:38 PM
I'm sure a case could be made for any one, or a combination of the factors mentioned. However, I fail to see how Israel could reasonably be blamed for the failure of any specific nation much less of the entire region. The separation of Mosque and State as practiced in Turkey allowed for the development of a modern civilized society. Quite a fellow that Kemal Attaturk. What is often referred to as the moderate "Godofgamblers variant of Islam" is not a problem, though he himself may be. Certain aspects of Arab culture and societies such as their focus on a distant mythologized past, envy of yet loathing for the west, virulent anti-semitism, and apparent lack of a work ethic contributes to the collective failure of the mid east. The ad hoc creation of nations, such as Iraq, as a result of the Paris Peace Conference was also not helpful.
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