Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It’s Really Hot in the Middle East

Although my regular blog-followers have long since been aware of the connection, very few people understand the rather direct link between global warming and ISIS. What would the world have been like if that roughly one million (and growing) displaced Sunni farmers in Iraq and Syria had stayed on their highly productive farms, living the life that had sustained the region for centuries? What if the famers working that land had no problems, if their livelihoods simply continued without interruption? What if they really had nothing to be angry about?
Not the way it happened, right? The never-ending drought, rising temperatures and evaporating water resources, pretty much turned all that farmland to dust… politely called desertification. The Iraqi government had been purged of competent Sunni bureaucratic by unthinking American conquerors – not only giving rise to severe persecution of Sunnis by the now-majority Shiite leaders installed in Baghdad – but unleashing tens of thousands of unemployed Sunni professional soldiers and government leaders who would eventually form the backbone of ISIS governance and control. Mostly Sunni Syria was governed by a very small minority Shiite government (the Assad regime).
So when starving Sunnis who had lost their farms, homes and livelihoods to global warming screamed for help, their pleas to their respective governments fell on the deaf ears of Shiite administrators who were not about to lift a finger to help displaced Sunnis. Al Baghdadi and his cronies saw how completely ineffective al Qaeda’s bombing attacks on Baghdad had become. His response – ISIS – required massive brutality to shake up the region, restore power to those disenfranchised Sunnis, and attempt to turn the tables on those Shiite tormentors.
That the United States requires Shiite forces in Iraq (with direct support and involvement from Iran) – the majority supplier of “boots on the ground” – is an irony not lost on regional players. As much as the repressed Sunnis within the ISIS mandate hate their new rulers, they hate their former oppressors, Shiite-controlled governments, so much more. But that global warming thing, particularly intense in the excessively warmer climates found in the Middle East, is just beginning to impose its horrors on humanity. If you think this “desertification” and “getting really hotter” are bad now, you ain’t seen nuffin’ yet.
Regional temperatures are soaring, breaking records on a sustained basis, year-after-year. “Parts of the United Arab Emirates and Iran experienced a heat index — a measurement that factors in humidity as well as temperature — that soared to 140 degrees in July, and Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, recorded an all-time high temperature of nearly 126 degrees. Southern Morocco’s relatively cooler climate suddenly sizzled last month, with temperatures surging to highs between 109 and 116 degrees. In May, record-breaking temperatures in Israel led to a surge in ­heat-related illnesses.
“Temperatures in Kuwait and Iraq startled observers. On July 22, the mercury climbed to 129 degrees in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. A day earlier, it reached 129.2 in Mitribah, Kuwait. If confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization, the two temperatures would be the hottest ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere.
“The bad news isn’t over, either. Iraq’s heat wave is expected to continue this week… Stepping outside is like ‘walking into a fire,’ said Zainab Guman, a 26-year-old university student who lives in Basra. ‘It’s like everything on your body — your skin, your eyes, your nose — starts to burn,’ she said.” Washington Post, August 10th.
More farms will dry up and blow away… permanently. Water will, quite literally, vaporize. Even the nomads will have no place to go. Millions of people with nothing left to lose will become this planet’s biggest issue. Some areas will be completely uninhabitable Wars. Civil disorder. Extremist attacks against those on earth with the resources. And massive of displaced civilians… refugees… in numbers we have yet to witness.
“In coming decades, U.N. officials and climate scientists predict that the mushrooming populations of the Middle East and North Africa will face extreme water scarcity, temperatures almost too hot for human survival and other consequences of global warming.
“If that happens, conflicts and refugee crises far greater than those now underway are probable, said Adel Abdellatif, a senior adviser at the U.N. Development Program’s Regional Bureau for Arab States who has worked on studies about the effect of climate change on the region.
“‘This incredible weather shows that climate change is already taking a toll now and that it is — by far — one of the biggest challenges ever faced by this region,’ he said… These countries have grappled with remarkably warm summers in recent years, but this year has been particularly brutal.” The Post. By the way, the title of that Post article is artfully descriptive: An epic Middle East heat wave could be global warming’s hellish curtain-raiser
Even if we take our humanitarian concern for those whose lives have been decimated out of the equation, ignore the trillions of hard dollar loses we also face from abnormal weather patterns (from fires and floods to rising coastal waters to our own extreme drought areas), the hard dollar costs (and lives that will be lost) we face from global terrorism, global conflict and merciless retaliation caused by reason of these millions and millions of displaced and angry people, currently heavily concentrated in the Middle East… for now… will only rise dramatically. Take a look at the rest of the world, where temperatures are creating circumstances where similar instability is very, very possible.
I’m Peter Dekom, and for those who believe that we have no reason to deal with global climate change because it is nothing more than a hoax, take a good hard look at what that assumption will do to our own quality of life… and survivability. 

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