Welcome to the Political Economy of Israel and Middle East course. In this video were going to be taking a look at migration across borders in the 20th century. This is part of the Borders, areas and nation states in the Middle East unit of study.
We will be looking at:
Migration in numbers-people and money
Conflict and Persecution
The Arab Spring
How many people in the world do you think there are who are first generation migrants from the Arab countries? Here’s a hint- you can round it up to the nearest million! Still no idea? There are 13 million.
That’s enough to fill Wembley stadium nearly 144 and a half times over. [Wembley holds 90, 000- if you want to change to a more local arena]
There are 5.8 million migrants who have moved to other Arab countries.
Migration has long shaped the Middle East and North Africa.
Many countries in the region have been points of origin, transit and destination.
What reasons do people chose to migrate, do you think?
Well, they may migrate because of demographic and socio-economic changes, war and – in some modern cases – climate change.
Expatriates from Arab countries still contribute to the circulation of financial and human capital in the region.
And so significantly promote regional development.
These people are not necessarily ethnic Arabs, Iranians or Turks but are Kurds, Jews, Assyrians, Greeks, Armenians and Mandeans.
They left countries like Iraq, Iran Syria and Turkey.
In Iran, many religious minorities such as Christians, Baha’is and Zoroastrians have left since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
The 2011 uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, as well as in Yemen, or ‘Arab Spring’ as it was collectively known, highlighted and in some cases exacerbated migration-related challenges.
At the same time, such events have created new migration-related opportunities. For example, Egyptian, Libyan and Tunisian expatriates have expressed, and in some cases demonstrated, increased interest in investing their time and resources to support democratic transitions and socio-economic development in their homelands.
Governments and their expatriate communities have begun to move from a position of mutual suspicion to a position of mutual cooperation within an inclusive political process.
As economies recover there may also be renewed possibilities for labour migration to the region to assist with rebuilding.
The recent conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic created hundreds of thousands of evacuated people spilling over the border into Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq.
But for millions of Syrians inside the country they still need humanitarian assistance.
Unfortunately, this effects the vulnerable populations such as migrant workers and refugees and can throw into more desperate situations.
Countries in the Middle East and North Africa are important destinations for millions of migrant workers.
Countries in North West Africa and ones East of Egypt are also important labour-exporting countries, and interregional migration still holds some significance.
Labour migration continues to benefit destination and origin countries in the region alike.
What benefits might there be? Migrant workers help to address labour market shortfalls in their host countries, while relieving pressure on labour markets in their origin countries.
Contribute to economic activity through sending remittances back to their families and their communities. Parallel to these, however, abuse and exploitation of migrant workers remains an ongoing concern in the region.
Irregular migration can represent some challenges though.
This is especially true in countries that are trying to stabilise and to invigorate their economic activity.
The factors that go into this surge of irregular migration are such as instability and conflict, high rates of unemployment and underemployment.
The Arab spring brought these challenges to the forefront.
While thousands of migrants escaped violence by crossing Libya’s borders with Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and other neighbouring countries, thousands more attempted the dangerous maritime route across the Mediterranean to Europe.
Some countries in the Middle East and North Africa also represent important points of transit along irregular migration routes.
Indeed, the overall structure of society and, in some cases conflict, continue to compel vast numbers of migrants to leave their origin for a better opportunities.
Sadly, they are often desperate and so exposed to exploitation and abuse at the hands of unscrupulous smugglers and traffickers. For example, in 2011, new light was shed on the extortion and mistreatment of migrants along routes that originate in the Horn of Africa and either cross Egypt’s southern border with Sudan or cross the Gulf of Aden, via Yemen and onward to Saudi Arabia.
In other cases, as they run out of money, migrants become stranded en route or in-country. They have only limited chances to earn money, and limited access to essential services or long-term solutions.
Another pressing issue related to migration was the new and continuing internal and cross-border displacement occurring in several countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
In the next video, we will be discussing the political divisions between states and foreign intervention in the Middle East.
In 2009 Arab countries received a total of $35 billion in remittance in-flows. What does this mean? In this instance remittance is money that people who have migrated from their original country send back to their relatives.
Remittances sent to Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon from other Arab countries are 40 to 190 % higher than trade revenues between these and other Arab countries.
Some migration has been caused by war.
For example, in Somalia, the Somali Civil War has greatly increased the size of the Somali displacement, as many of the best educated Somalis left for Europe, North America and other Middle Eastern countries.
But let’s not forget that there are non-Arab Middle Eastern countries such as Turkey, Israel and Iran are also subject to important migration dynamics.
A fair proportion of those migrating from Arab nations are from ethnic and religious minorities that faced racial and or religious persecution.