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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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war

Four maps that explain the chaos of the Middle East

“Without trying to defend or absolve U.S. policy, then, it is worth stepping back to ask what shared historical experiences might have left these four countries — Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen — particularly at risk of violent collapse. The following maps help highlight how, at various points over the past century, historical circumstances conspired, in an often self-reinforcing way, to bolster the stability of some states in the region while undermining that of others.”

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

These maps are not cartographically inspiring, but the it’s the historical and political insight that makes them valuable. The goal of this set of maps is to find some underlying causal reasons for political stability(or more importantly instability) in the Middle East. These four maps focus on these key issues:

1. Century-old states are more stable today

2. Colonial rule led to fragile states

3. Instability and regime change

4. The shadow of the Cold War

 

Tags: MiddleEast, war, conflict, political, geopoliticshistorical.

Introducing ISIS

“The invasion of Iraq was supposed to turn the country into a democracy that posed no threat to the United States, or the rest of the world. Thirteen years later, Iraq has collapsed into three warring states. A third of the country is controlled by ISIS, who have also taken huge amounts of territory in Syria. VICE correspondent Ben Anderson gains exclusive access to the three front lines in Iraq, where Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish forces are fighting for their lives. Anderson visits with the Russian military forces in Syria, meets captured ISIS fighters in Kurdistan, and interviews US policymakers about how the situation in Iraq spun out of control.”

Source: www.youtube.com

Many young students are especially baffled at how a terrorist organization can seize control of large chunks of territory.  If you are looking for a good video introduction that explains how and why ISIS was able to gain power and than gain and maintain territory, this is it (it’s classroom safe despite the source). 

 

Tags: Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Iraq, devolution, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring

How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Source: foreignpolicy.com

Unraveling the situation on the ground in Syria is much like opening a Russian nesting doll, it’s a battle, inside of a battle, inside of a battle. A complex series of local, regional, and global rivalries all playing out on the battle grounds of Syria, turning the country in a wasteland. It’s created a nightmare for the millions of non-combatants forced to flee, and those stuck within the borders. What started as Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad cracking down on Arab spring protesters in early 2011, quickly escalated into a civil war. Regional rivals Iran, and Saudi Arabia then got involved sending aid to differing sides. Soon, as a result of the rise of ISIS, the west and Russia chose to intervene. Lost in the greater game of Geo-politics is the sad, slow death of the optimism that accompanied the Arab Spring. As Marc Lynch laments in ‘How Syria ruined the Arab Spring’, all of the momentum was lost and forgotten when Al-Assad resorted to force and Syria became a pawn in regional and global geopolitics.

 

Tagsop-ed, Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Middle East.

Why Germany’s recognition of Armenian genocide is such a big deal

Armenian American journalist Liana Aghajanian says the German parliament’s decision is all the more groundbreaking because it was a politician of Turkish descent who pushed it through.

 

The German Bundestag’s overwhelming vote last week in favor of this resolution, with just one vote against and one abstention, brought both gratitude and anger. Armenian communities, many of them descendants of genocide survivors who are dispersed across the world, are grateful. Turkey, however, was incensed and recalled its ambassador to Germany. Many Turks see the vote as not just a threat to longstanding German-Turkish relations, but to Turkish national identity.

Source: www.pri.org

I’ve posted in about the Armenian genocide in the past, and until Turkey acknowledges that it was a genocide, this issue will continue to fester.  Considering that Germany has a large Turkish population and an obvious historical connection to genocide, this recognition is far more important some other random country taking this stance. 

 

TagsArmenia, genocidepolitical, conflict, TurkeyGermanywar, historical.  

Why Africa’s migrant crisis makes no sense to outsiders

“Violence and insecurity are so bad that other war-torn countries have become sites of refuge.”

 

In 2015, nearly 100,000 Ethiopians and Somalis traveled by boat to Yemen, one of the world’s most dangerous countries. Last year, nearly 5,000 citizens of Congo, which is fighting powerful rebel groups, were seeking refuge in the Central African Republic, itself torn apart by civil war. And yet 10,000 Burundians have fled their country’s own growing civil unrest for Congo. Thousands of Nigerians escaping the extremist Islamist group Boko Haram have gone to Chad, where different strains of that same insurgency conduct frequent deadly attacks. 

 

Developing countries have long taken in a disproportionate number of the world’s refugees — roughly 80 percent, according to the United Nations. But even for migration experts and relief workers, the willingness of refugees to leave one war for another is shocking. It’s also proving an enormous challenge for humanitarian agencies, which are already overstretched and often not equipped to welcome refugees in countries that are still racked by conflict.

 

Tags: refugeesAfrica, migration, conflict, political, war

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

The Toll in Gaza and Israel, Day by Day

The daily tally of rocket attacks, airstrikes and deaths in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Source: www.nytimes.com

As the violent nature of the Israeli Palestinian conflict has escalated, this NY Times article monitors the major points of the last few weeks.  The possibility of ‘Peace in the Middle East’ feels so remote, and this Onion article parodies the difficulties of actually achieving this.  On a personal note, Chad Emmett taught the “Geography of the Middle East” course while I was at BYU and I’ve always appreciated his perspective; here are his thoughts on recent events.  

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, conflict, political, borders.

World War II Led to a Revolution in Cartography

“More Americans came into contact with maps during World War II than in any previous moment in American history. From the elaborate and innovative inserts in the National Geographic to the schematic and tactical pictures in newspapers, maps were everywhere. On September 1, 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland, and by the end of the day a map of Europe could not be bought anywhere in the United States. In fact, Rand McNally reported selling more maps and atlases of the European theaters in the first two weeks of September than in all the years since the armistice of 1918. Two years later, the attack on Pearl Harbor again sparked a demand for maps.”

Source: www.newrepublic.com

Author of Mapping the Nation, Susan Schulten explains how historical events created a huge demands for maps, revolutionizing the industry and leading to many new ways of visualizing the world.  

Tags: historical, mapping, war.

Refugee Camp for Syrians in Jordan Evolves as a Do-It-Yourself City

As the sprawling Zaatari camp evolves into an informal city — with an economy and even gentrification — aid workers say camps can be potential urban incubators that benefit host countries like Jordan.

Source: www.nytimes.com

This is an intriguing article that explores the difficulties of forced migrations that arise from civil war, but it also looks at city planning as refugee camps are established to make homes for the displaced.  These camps have become into de-facto cities. The maps, videos and photographs embedded in the article show the rapid development of these insta-cities which organically have evolved to fit the needs of incoming refugees.  Size not investing in permanent infrastructure has some serious social, sanitation and financial cost, there are some efforts to add structure to the chaos, to formalize the informal.  Truly this is a fascinating case study of in urban geography as we are increasingly living on what Mike Davis refers to as a “Planet of Slums.”  


Tags: refugees, migration, conflict, political, warsquatter, urban, planning, density, urbanism, unit 7 cities. 

Five Things To Know on World Refugee Day

“There are more people displaced by violence and conflict on the planet right now than at any time since World War II.  The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says the number of people forcibly displaced, including refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced persons has now reached over 51 million.” 

Source: blogs.state.gov

From the difference between refugees and internally displaced people, to the gendered impact of refugees, this shines some light on the problems confronting refugees as well as on some of the solutions. 


Tags: refugees, migration, conflict, political, war.

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