Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Middle East, Jordan and Courage

The demonstrations for reform in Egypt have reached into Jordan, resulting in the dismissal of the cabinet by King Abdullah. He has quickly appointed a new prime minister who will form a new government and launch immediate reforms. Many of the countries in the Middle East have young populations that are growing amid high unemployment, poverty, political repression and rising food prices. What this means for the U.S. is anybody's guess but it may mean the loss of key allies in the Middle East who will have to answer to more domestic than International needs.

The graph below appeared recently on the BBC. Note the median age column. The median age is the age where half the population is younger and half is older. So, most of these populations are very young and their economy needs to create a lot of jobs to keep them "off the streets."

NOTE: If the table below is difficult to read, please click here to read it online.

Middle East social indicators
Country pop. (m) median age jobless (%) below poverty line (%) internet users (m)
Algeria 34.5 27.1 9.9 23 4.7
Egypt 80.5 24 9.6 20 20
Jordan 6.4 21.8 13.4 14.2 1.6
Lebanon 4.09 29.4 na 28 1
Libya 6.4 24.2 30 33 0.35
Morocco 31.6 26.5 9.8 15 13.2
Saudi Arabia 25.7 24.9 10.8 na 9.6
Syria 22.1 21.5 8.3 11.9 4.4
Tunisia 10.5 29.7 14 3.8 3.5
W Bank & Gaza 2.5 20.9 16.5 46 1.3
Yemen 23.4 17.89 35 45.2 2.2

Secondly, as most of you know, Egypt is a central concern in the Middle East. In looking for someone who can provide insight into what is happening on the ground in the country, I found a piece by Dr. Paul Sullivan, professor of Economics at the National Defense University. Dr. Sullivan's piece, while two days old, gives the reader the background of his years of experience in Egypt and with the Egyptian army. You can find the piece at:

Third, I ran across a very good article on China by Dr. Michael Auslin. Dr. Auslin states that what we have been doing for the past 20 years has not worked. He suggests we need a reframing strategy toward China – one with several components: economic, security and political. You can find the piece here at

Finally, the Air Force released it next "Portraits in Courage." In my notes, I will include one link which takes you to our website where we have them all listed. This note recognizes the heroism of Major Thomas Bozung. Major Bozung flies Casualty Evacuation and Personnel Recovery missions as a pilot of the HH-60G Pave Hawk. You can find the link here:

For your consideration.
Mike Dunn

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