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Fighting for Iraq: A regional powerplay

Fighting for Iraq: A regional powerplay | Development geography | Scoop.it
Learn more about the ethnic, religious and political powerplays in and around Iraq during a virtual tour of the region led by NBC’s Richard Engel.

 

This is an incredibly well-put together, video/slideshow about the complex geography of within Iraq that has lead to so many difficulties in the post-Saddam Hussein era.   The ethnic patterns, religious divisions, spatial arrangements of resources as well as the larger regional context all play roles in creating the a contentious political environment. 


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Elizabeth Allen's comment, December 6, 2012 11:35 PM
I have always felt that Iraq is very complex. And it is. However the videos shed some light on clarifying what most of the turmoil is about.
Crissy Borton's curator insight, December 11, 2012 8:33 PM

I enjoyed this video. I never really understood why these groups were fighting. It was an easy video to understand and I learned that the fighting is not just about religious but cultural differences as well. 

Stacey Jackson's curator insight, March 22, 2013 11:03 PM

Although I try to keep up with world events, Iraq has puzzled me. This was spectacularly helpful, although I still don't feel like I have the full picture. For instance, I understand that three ethnic groups were forced in to a new country, Iraq, after World War I and that the country has been in turmoil ever since. However, these ethnic groups were all a part of the Ottoman Empire before there was an Iraq, so why did the trouble start after the formation of Iraq?

 

These ethnic groups had their own provinces within the Ottoman Empire. I'm assuming these groups thought they'd establish their own separate nations after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, but were not given the chance to decide for themselves since Iraq was a product of "European powers." If this is accurate, then European nations have a horrible track record when it comes to dictating foreign boundaries that lead to unrest abroad. 

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Somalia's Pirates Face Growing Backlash

Somalia's Pirates Face Growing Backlash | Development geography | Scoop.it
Abshir Boyah, a pirate who says he has hijacked more than 25 ships off the coast of Somalia, says he will give up this career if certain terms are met.

 

What economic, cultural and political circumstances in the 21st century would allow for piracy to exist?  What are the impacts of piracy on Somalia?  


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James Hobson's curator insight, October 30, 9:29 AM

(Africa topic 4)

I found it very interesting that piracy seems to be such an open topic in Somalia, yet even within its own borders pirates are facing growing scrutiny. In one sense it seems as if it is accepted as a necessary evil for survival, but also surprising is the acknowledgement of the pirates that they would stop if a reformation were to occur and better opportunities were within reach. This may be their way of hinting that they feel they are doing something morally wrong without directly coming out and stating it.

However, this raises the question of how to resolve the problem: will ending piracy promote reform, or will reform promote an end to piracy? It's like a chicken-or-the-egg problem, without a clear starting point. Nonetheless, if a movement in the right direction were to begin, it would be aided by this acknowledgement and willingness of the modern-day pirates.

Jennifer Brown's curator insight, November 11, 3:48 PM

The modern day Robin Hood! He's stealing from the rich to assist the poor. Is what he doing correct? Absolutely not!  When the economy and political situation fails me and I was in his situation I would probably do the same thing. 25 ships and a movie staring Tom Hanks I don't think the Somalian government cares about their Pirate problem since it still exists.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 22, 4:25 PM

Somalia's pirates are notorious worldwide, and while the pirates may be committing horrible crimes, it is important to understand why these people have turned to illegal means to survive. The economic state of Somalia is rather grim. Considered a textbook "failed state", men for the most part have to choose between working as a fishermen or turning to piracy. Since fishermen barely scrape a living from the waters, Somalian men turn to piracy. With no other economic opportunities, it is often seen as the only choice. Many Somali pirates openly admit that if they had other options, they would absolutely change occupations. 

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The 2011 Failed States Index

The 2011 Failed States Index | Development geography | Scoop.it

How can political stability and security be measured?  What constitutes effective governance?  Foreign Policy, in conjunction with the Fund for Peace, has created a statistical ranking to measure the lack of effective political institutions.  For the 4th year running, Somalia has been statistically measured as the most failed state on Earth. Chad and Sudan are respectively ranked as the 2nd and 3rd most failed states.The 12 metrics that are a part of this index are:

•Demographic Pressures 

•Refugees/IDPs

•Illegitimate Govts.

•Brain Drain

•Public Services

•Inequality

•Group Grievances

•Human Rights

•Economic Decline

•Security Forces

•Factionalized Elites

•External Intervention


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Don Brown Jr's comment, July 16, 2012 9:57 PM
The global fallout of the Arab revolutions may be largely determined by demographics and political stability. Unlike Somalia for example which is in total anarchy, the Arab Spring uprisings occurred in more stable but oppressive governments. So this brings up the question, can a failed state rescue itself?
Derek Ethier's comment, November 5, 2012 2:35 PM
Althought sub-Saharan Africa has 5 of the 10 most quickly developing countries, they still lag very far behind the rest of the world in quality of living. Somalia, Chad and Suda are the most failed states on Earth, in order. The governments are unable to protect/provide for their people, brain drains suck the great minds to more developed countries, income inequalities ravage the nations, basic human rights are denied and the economies are pathetic. Overall, it is a sad story as many of these African nations also suffer from drought, famine and massive food shortages.
Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 4:11 PM

 I wonder why it is difficult for states to be formed. I would think it would be great because the village people won’t be forced to make big decisions they can just hire someone to do it for them. But in the other hand there would be other people who will make it difficult for them and will ruin it for everyone else. Becoming a state can change there live. They should have approved to become a state.