The Middle East in 2022

The Middle East in 2022

As of 2022, the map of the Middle East does not look much changed compared to 50 years ago, but this is only true on the surface. Much has happened in the last half century, since the time the last British protectorates achieved independence and the borders between Israel and its neighbours were redrawn.

Lebanon has gone through a major civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1988, and has since been undergoing tremendous economic challenges. It is also home to a very large population of refugees from neighbouring countries.

Syria descended into a civil war in 2012, a situation that is not totally over despite tremendous fighting and foreign intervention. The Islamic State insurgency spilled over to Syria from neighbouring Iraq in 2013 and was defeated by a large coalition in 2017.

Iraq invaded its neighbour Kuwait in 1990. A global coalition pushed them back within their borders, but Iraq's failure to comply with terms of the armistice led the US and Great Britain to invade the country and install a new regime. While the takeover was successful, it immediately led to infighting between various ethno-religious groups and was responsible for the rise of the Islamic State as well as the quasi-independence of its Kurdish-dominated areas.

Israel and the Palestinian Territories have been stalled in the negotiations that started in Oslo in the 1990s in order to establish a Palestinian State in areas captured by Israel from Jordan and Egypt in 1967.

Iran had a major upheaval in 1978 with the rise of the Islamic Revolution, which was followed by a long war with its neighbour Iraq. The regime has been very stable for the last 30 years, despite regular popular uprisings that are severely repressed.

The petro-monarchies of the Gulf are also politically stable and autocratic, though the level of personal freedom of their populations has increased in the last decades.

Finally, Yemen, which was united in the early 1990s from two separate states, has been in a state of civil war since 2014 between its Sunni and Shia groups. The intervention of powerful allies has caused a very deadly situation from both warfare and induced shortage of food and healthcare.