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Rescooped by Elizabeth Allen from Geography Education
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Fighting for Iraq: A regional powerplay

Fighting for Iraq: A regional powerplay | Geography 400 at ric | 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. 

 

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.  A valid question is why not divide Iraq into three seperate countries? One for the Kurdish, one for the Sunnis, and one for the Shiite? The video explains that it is not that easy.  Iraq has been unstable since it formed after WWI.The Sunnis feel that the Shiite stole their power and they want to reclaim it.  The three ethnicities are quarrelling for control and it has to do with more than religion.  Resources play an important role in the dispute.  The country cannot divide into three regions, because the Sunni (about 20% of Iraq's population) are in a region where they are not close to water and they have no oil.  The Sunni and Kurdish are close to natural resources- water and oil.  If the country divides, the Sunni will not last. 

Elizabeth Allen


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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. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 12:55 PM

Iraq is a complicated country. The current differences and disparities in culture, ethnicity and resources has led to some harsh rivalry between people within the borders of the country. This shows how borders can be artificial and just because a map shows a region as one unit, it is not always the case. After the Ottoman Empire fell many groups of people were thrust together and this is why we see these divisions so clearly.

Rescooped by Elizabeth Allen from Geography Education
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Piracy Backlash

Piracy Backlash | Geography 400 at ric | 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?  

 

The concept of piracy is a scary one. Their illegal ways cause corruption throughout their society. However, it seems as if they do not have much choice. Yes, it is morally wrong, but look at the money they are making. The prirates are willing to cease illegal activity if their demands are met. Their demands are not out of the ordinary-- they want their oceans protected from toxic waste, job creations, and a fair government. Somalia has a long road ahead of them to acheive any sort of unity.  Elizabeth Allen


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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 22, 2014 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. 

John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, December 17, 2014 5:17 PM

The media oftentimes demonizes specific groups of people. So I was presently surpassed that the NYT’s investigated the human aspect of desperation. Many of these Somalians are hopeless and the economic burden on their shoulders drives them to act unethical. When you first priority is survival, courteousness and moral laws often don’t apply. Nevertheless, it was cool to hear about these human stories.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 31, 2015 7:37 PM

Just like the pirates of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, these folks bring all the vices of the originals except perhaps without much of the romanticism that comes with the elders. Though perhaps in two hundred years someone will make a movie titled Pirates of the Somalia featuring Johnny Depp's great-great-great grandson. 

 

It's understandable why these people want to get out of the business. Despite the sex and wealth they've gotten, it's not exactly stable employment. Nor is it as safe as sitting at a desk or being a plumber. But when your society simply doesn't support these industries, then the people are left to resort to more drastic measures.

 

It's also interesting to see the quazi-government stepping in to try and combat it. Traditional Muslim values are the reason for them wanting and end to it. It's understandable to not want children to look up to pirates and the life of crime they lead. But in order for the practice to stop, the pirates want international environmental protections, aid, and government support. Should the international community give into piracy or should it be removed by force?