The Great Recession: JPMorgan Chase to pay $2bn in Madoff probe

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Madoff masterminded a massive and long-running so-called Ponzi investment fraud which came to light in 2008

People pass a sign for JPMorgan Chase at its headquarters in Manhattan on October 2, 2012 ( Spencer Platt (Getty/AFP) )

JPMorgan Chase, the US bank used by Bernard Madoff who masterminded the biggest fraud on record, has agreed to pay about $2 billion to US authorities to avoid litigation, press reports said Monday.

Madoff masterminded a massive and long-running so-called Ponzi investment fraud which came to light in 2008 as the financial crisis gathered speed.

At the time of its collapse in 2008, Madoff Securities claimed it had about $65 billion in client assets, whereas in fact it had only about $300 million.

The fraud ruined many investors and stoked public anger over the causes and consequences of the crisis.

Reports in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, citing people close to the matter, said JPMorgan Chase would announce the settlement this week.

The Wall Street Journal said: “The bulk of the fines are expected to be routed to victims of Mr. Madoff.”

JPMorgan Chase, the biggest US bank by assets, was the main bank used by Madoff for more than 20 years.

The sources quoted by the two papers said the bank had agreed to pay up to close criminal and civil investigations by federal authorities which suspected that the bank had ignored signs that Madoff was operating a fraudulent scheme.

The New York Times said that the expected announcement would take to $20 billion the total amount paid by the bank in the last 12 months to settle various government investigations.

The paper noted that the bank had declined to comment on its report but had insisted that all of its staff had acted in good faith.

The various authorities involved also declined to comment.

The New York Times also reported that in a highly unusual move demonstrating the extreme gravity of the case, the settlement would include a deferred prosecution agreement suspending criminal action provided that the bank acknowledged the facts against it and changed its behaviour.

The expected settlement indicated a new conciliatory stance by the bank, the report said, adding: “Within the bank, there is growing impatience among executives who worry that the scrutiny distracts from its record profits.”

However, the bank was the target of recent bribery investigations by US authorities over its practise of hiring in China the children of people among the country’s ruling elite, the newspaper noted.

In 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

His Ponzi or pyramid scheme was based on using money from incoming investors to pay high returns to longer standing investors. When the financial markets collapsed and investors withdrew their funds, the Madoff illusion was exposed.

The liquidator of the Madoff business, Irving Picard, had begun action against the bank with a claim of up to $20 billion in damages, but a federal judge and then an appeal court rejected this action, arguing that only investors who had been deceived could launch them.

However, that procedural issue is now before the Supreme Court.

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Antique Earrings – Dress to Impress

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photo antique earrings on modelEarrings are the most popular form of antique jewelry today. While other forms of jewelry abound, it is difficult to find good quality, interesting antique jewellery earrings.

Why are antique earrings so desirable?

 

Ever since Eve adorned herself with a fig leaf, humankind has looked to jewelry as a mode of identity social standing, to identify with a cultural group, to link with the past, to impress others, to express ourselves. Mythological, religious, symbolic significance and historic links are part of it all, but the biggest reason we wear earrings, is for its wonderful aesthetic appeal.

 

Women hardly need to be persuaded that “You are what you wear”. Earrings frame our faces – the most seen and outwardly relevant part of our bodies. Simply put: they make us look good.

 

Earrings have been and are, made of every material available. We value earrings made with precious metals and set with precious stones most. Adding a designer name always helps, whether it be ‘by Appointment to ….’ or the latest wave in fashion-fundis. To me, little made today compares to the antique earring, both in design, workmanship and historic appeal. Earrings are undoubtedly, little works of art. While some great earrings are made today, nothing compares to antique earrings worn by our grand and great-grandmothers.

 

I have found surprising similarities in antique jewelry made across the continents, over the centuries in earrings imbedded with gems or simply twisted wires. We don’t need a time-machine to know that there must have been trade between Europe and India. We just need to look at their jewels to see that cultures were crossed.

 

antique earrings on modelTypes of earrings: There are many types of earring, from those that simply slip through a tiny hole in our ear-lobe, to huge entities that extend and distend the lobe over a period of years, or worn on a variety of locations up and down the outer ear. Many earrings are little ornaments suspended from wires that penetrate the earlobe. Chandeliers and Girandoles in 3 sections, so heavy that they were supported by ribbons tied to the hair.  Long pendants. Drops. Hoops. Poissarde earrings with an S-shaped wire, supposedly worn by fishwives in France and highly sought after in that country today. Studs – simple and small, worn flat on the lobe with a rigid post through the ear. Clip-ons, an innovation of the early 20th century and still in use today, come in every form and are especially useful for people without pierced ears.

 

Prior to the 20th century, most earrings were inserted in the ear back to front. Today the opposite is the norm.  Most antique earrings have replaced wires and often replaced surmounts. We really should not hold this against them. After all, the new wires are much more comfortable and easy to insert.   And, let’s be forgiving – How well have we held up over the years?

 

A whole host of more complex forms of earrings exists in societies, like India, where the earring is much more than a simple adornment. When we look at some of these creations, it’s mind-boggling to consider the extent of self-mutilation involved in wearing them.

 

Modes of Fastening: Many earrings suspended from wires have no clasp at all. The wire simply goes through the lobe and hopefully, never falls out. To avoid accidents, often a means of catching the bottom of the wire exists, usually in the form of a c-catch. Russian earrings often have a triangular catch to hold the wire. Studs are held by little gadgets called ‘butterflies’. Today, nice comfy butterflies made of plastic make pushing these tight against the back of the lobe less nasty. Clips with a variety of clasps, often called French backs or Omegas, shaped like the Greek letter. Screw-ons – a short-lived fad of the early 1900’s for masochists longing for the days of the Inquisition. Replace them with posts. Latch and lever backs are less common.

 

What should you look for when shopping for earrings?

 

example of beautiful antique earringsAesthetic appeal, craftsmanship & technical skill, condition, historic or other symbolic value, provenance, designer names, intrinsic value of materials and most of all, yet again, personal taste. I particularly love earrings with a sense of movement and sometimes, a sense of humor. Ask yourself what you want to wear: Classic or Bling? The great thing about earrings is that you can have lots of them to suit every mood and occasion.

 

“Dress to Impress”!! Clever women know the earring secret. It isn’t the outfit, but that subtle something – the earring, that truly makes the look.

 

 

ATLANTIS: GIANT PYRAMIDS AND SPHINXES FOUND IN THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE

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Two scientists, Paul Weinzweig and Pauline Zalitzki, working off the coast of Cuba and using a robot submersible, have confirmed that a gigantic city exists at the bottom of the ocean. The site of the ancient city — that includes several sphinxes and at least four giant pyramids plus other structures — amazingly sits within the boundaries of the fabled Bermuda Triangle.

According to a report by Arclein of Terra Forming Terra, Cuban Subsea Pyramid Complex, the evidence points to the city being simultaneously inundated with rising waters and the land sinking into the sea. This correlates exactly with the Atlantis legend.

The disaster may have occurred at the end of the last Ice Age. As the Arctic icecap catastrophically melted it caused sea levels to rise quickly around the world, especially affecting the Northern Hemisphere. Coast lines changed; land was lost; islands (even island continents) disappeared.

Arclein observes: “At the time uplifted portions of the Mid Atlantic Ridge subsided also including Lyonese and the home islands and land mass around the Azores. Even if that had not happened, this subsidence was amply large enough

This would have produced an orthogonal pressure forcing subsidence to either East or West. Since the ridge between Cuba and Yucatan is the natural point of weakness between the Gulf subsidence basin and the Caribbean subsidence basin, it naturally subsided deeply. The driver for all this was the hydrostatic changes brought about by both the original crustal shift of 12,900 years ago that I have called the Pleistocene Nonconformity and the slow uplift of the Hudson Bay Basin brought about by the ending of the Ice Age.”

Cuban missile crisis stops research

According to journalist Luis Mariano Fernandez the city was first discovered decades ago, but all access to it was stopped during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis. (http://www.luismarianofernandez.com/AtlantidaEnCuba4.html) To view in other languages, use the google translate tool bar.

The U.S. government discovered the alleged place during the Cuban missile crisis in the sixties, Nuclear submarines cruising in the Gulf (in deep sea) met pyramid structures. They immediately shut down the site and took control of him and the objects, in order that it will not come to Russians hands.”

The science team of deep ocean experts, archaeologists and oceanographers found ruins of ancient buildings 600 feet below the ocean. They say the city is Atlantis.

Look carefully, in the muky water a giant pyramid is visible(http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii567/riseearth/Atlantis_02.jpg)

Pyramids and sphinxes bigger than Egypt’s 

Evidence that the island of Cuba is the vestige of a once mighty culture is supported by Zalitzki’s discovery on the island of extremely ancient symbols and pictograms identical to those seen on the underwater structures.

Using exploration submersibles, they discovered amazingly huge pyramid structures similar to (but larger than) the pyramids in Giza, Egypt. They estimate the Atlantis pyramids are constructed with stones weighing many hundreds of tons.

Speaking with a scientist about the possibility that the ruins are indeed Atlantis, Fernandez reports the expert replied:

“…in the Yucatan cultures today is possible that what still remains of the aborigines of those places perhaps the Olmecs or some very primitive civilization of Yucatan, the northern part of Central America—originated according to them on an island that sank by a cataclysm. This island is called Atlanticú.”

That too fits the stories about the sudden demise of the wondrous Atlantis.

Atlanticú. Atlantis. The aboriginal natives still call it that in their history.

During an interview about the exploration of the mega-city, Fernandez asked lead scientist Pauline Zalitzki about the civilaztion that built it.

“When we published the first news of this finding,” she said, “the University of Veracruz was interested in our work and we had recorded images of these structures on the seabed. Specifically, the Institute of Anthropology of the University excavations invited me. They were doing [studies] on parts and ruins of the Olmec civilization.

The Olmecs and other native peoples all have primary morphology marking the arrival of this continent. This mean coming from the direction of Cuba, and had to occur in a very large earthquake where their land sank. Morphologies indicate that they belong to three families who were saved. One of these families came to the coast of Veracruz, which are supposedly the Olmec. Others came to Central America and traveled to the Pacific coast, and these families created the civilization of the Americas as we know it today, because they distributed all their knowledge.

When these anthropologists saw underwater images of this city, and saw some stone monoliths, some symbol, and inscriptions, they identified with Olmec motifs. They were very surprised.”

The Olmecs devolved from the survivors of Atlantis, a much superior culture destroyed aft the end of the Ice Age flooding. The world was reshaped and a super-civilization destroyed, remembered for millennia only in legend and a passing refernce by the philosopher Plato.

But Atlantis was real, is real: scientists Paul Weinzweig and Pauline Zalitzki have found it.

Sonar images of mega-structures on the seabed ( http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii567/riseearth/Mega_structure.jpg)

Sources and more information:

• BBC News

Originally posted on: Disclose

Cuban underwater city

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cuban underwater city
Cuban underwater city is located in Cuba

Shown within Cuba
Region Pinar del Río Province
Coordinates 21.772547°N 084.836736°W
History
Cultures Unknown
Site notes
Condition Ruins
Public access Yes

Cuban underwater city refers to a site thought by some to be a submerged granite complex structures off the coast of the Guanahacabibes peninsula in thePinar del Río Province of Cuba.[1][2][3]

Sonar images interpreted as being symmetrical and geometric stone structures resembling an urban complex were first recorded in early 2001 covering an area of 2 square kilometres (200 ha) at depths of between 600 metres (2,000 ft) and 750 metres (2,460 ft).[1] The discovery was reported by Pauline Zalitzki, a marine engineer, and her husband Paul Weinzweig, owners of a Canadian company called Advanced Digital Communications,[4] working on an exploration and survey mission in conjunction with the Cuban government. The team returned to the site a second time with an underwater video robot that filmed sonar images interpreted as variouspyramids and circular structures made out of massive, smooth blocks of stone that resembled hewn granite. Zalitzki said “It’s a really wonderful structure which really looks like it could have been a large urban centre, However, it would be totally irresponsible to say what it was before we have evidence.” [1]

After studying the images, National Geographic senior editor John Echave said “They are interesting anomalies, but that’s as much as anyone can say right now, but I’m no expert on sonar and until we are able to actually go down there and see, it will difficult to characterize them.” Professor of Oceanography Robert Ballard was quoted as saying “That’s too deep, I’d be surprised if it was human. You have to ask yourself, how did it get there? I’ve looked at a lot of sonar images in my life, and it can be sort of like looking at an ink blot — people can sometimes see what they want to see. I’ll just wait for a bit more data.”[5]

Marine Geologist Manuel Iturralde called for more samples before drawing conclusions about the site, saying “We have some figures which are extremely unusual but nature is much richer than we think.” Estimating that it would have taken 50,000 years for such structures to have sunken to the depth at which they were said to be found, he said “50,000 years ago there wasn’t the architectural capacity in any of the cultures we know of to build complex buildings.” A specialist in underwater archaeology at Florida State University added “It would be cool if they were right, but it would be real advanced for anything we would see in the New World for that time frame. The structures are out of time and out of place.”[4]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up to:a b c ‘Lost city’ found beneath Cuban waters, BBC News, 7 December 2001.
  2. Jump up^ ‘Looking for lost riches in Cuba’s seas: Underwater surveyors say they may have found sunken city’, Reuters, Havana, 14 May, 2001.
  3. Jump up^ Handwerk, Brian., New Underwater Finds Raise Questions About Flood Myths, National Geographic News, May 28, 2002.
  4. Jump up to:a b Bauza, Vanessa (Oct 27, 2002). “Submerged Cuban Ruins May Be Manmade, Experts Say”Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  5. Jump up^ Ballingrud, David (November 17, 2002). “Underwater world: Man’s doing or nature’s?”St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 3 October 2012.

External links[edit]

Which Arab countries will survive 2014?

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Middle East

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“The Middle East” redirects here. For other meanings, see Middle East (disambiguation).
Page semi-protected
Middle East
Middle East

Map of the Middle east (green).
Countries 18
Languages ArabicAramaicArmenian,AzerbaijaniBalochiFrench,GreekHebrewKurdish,PersianTurkish
Time Zones UTC +3:30 (Iran) to UTC +2:00 (Egypt)
Largest Cities In rank order: CairoTehran,IstanbulBaghdadRiyadh,JeddahAnkara

The Middle East[note 1] is a region that roughly encompasses a majority of Western Asia(excluding the Caucasus) and Egypt. The term is used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East. The corresponding adjective is Middle-Eastern and the derived noun is Middle-Easterner. The largest ethnic group in the Middle East are Arabs,[1] withTurksTurkomansPersiansKurdsAzerisCoptsJewsAssyriansMaronites,CircassiansSomalisArmeniansDruze and numerous additional minor ethnic groups forming other significant populations.

The history of the Middle East dates back to ancient times, and throughout its history, the Middle East has been a major center of world affairs. When discussing its ancient history, however, the term Near East is more commonly used. The Middle East is also the historical origin of major religions including JudaismChristianity, and Islam, as well as the less common Baha’i faithMandaeismDruze faith and others. The Middle East generally has an arid and hot climate, with several major rivers providing for irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas, especially in Mesopotamia and the rest of the Fertile Crescent. Many countries located around the Persian Gulf have large quantities of crude oil, which has resulted in much wealth particularly for nations in the Arabian peninsula. In modern times the Middle East remains a strategically, economically, politically, culturally and religiously sensitive region.[clarification needed]

Terminology

The term “Middle East” may have originated in the 1850s in the British India Office.[2] However, it became more widely known whenAmerican naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan used the term in 1902[3] to “designate the area between Arabia and India”.[4][5] During this time the British and Russian Empires were vying for influence in Central Asia, a rivalry which would become known as The Great Game. Mahan realized not only the strategic importance of the region, but also of its center, the Persian Gulf.[6][7] He labeled the area surrounding the Persian Gulf as the Middle East, and said that after the Suez Canal, it was the most important passage for Britain to control in order to keep the Russians from advancing towards British India.[8] Mahan first used the term in his article “The Persian Gulf and International Relations”, published in September 1902 in the National Review, a British journal.

The Middle East, if I may adopt a term which I have not seen, will some day need its Malta, as well as its Gibraltar; it does not follow that either will be in the Persian Gulf. Naval force has the quality of mobility which carries with it the privilege of temporary absences; but it needs to find on every scene of operation established bases of refit, of supply, and in case of disaster, of security. The British Navy should have the facility to concentrate in force if occasion arise, about Aden, India, and the Persian Gulf.[9]

Mahan’s article was reprinted in The Times and followed in October by a 20-article series entitled “The Middle Eastern Question,” written by Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol. During this series, Sir Ignatius expanded the definition of Middle East to include “those regions of Asia which extend to the borders of India or command the approaches to India.”[10] After the series ended in 1903, The Timesremoved quotation marks from subsequent uses of the term.[11]

Until World War II, it was customary to refer to areas centered around Turkey and the eastern shore of the Mediterranean as the “Near East“, while the “Far East” centered on China,[12] and the Middle East then meant the area from Mesopotamia to Burma, namely the area between the Near East and the Far East.[citation needed] In the late 1930s, the British established the Middle East Command, which was based in Cairo, for its military forces in the region. After that time, the term “Middle East” gained broader usage in Europe and the United States, with the Middle East Institute founded in Washington, D.C. in 1946, among other usage.[13]

Criticism and usage

1957 American film about the Middle East

The term Middle East has been criticized as implicitly Eurocentric.[14][15] In contemporary English-language academic and media venues, the term is used by both Europeans and non-Europeans.

The description Middle has also led to some confusion over changing definitions. Before theFirst World War, “Near East” was used in English to refer to the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire, while “Middle East” referred to IranAfghanistan, and Central Asia, Turkestan, and the Caucasus. In contrast, “Far East” referred to the countries of East Asia (e.g. China,JapanFormosaKoreaHong Kong, etc.)

With the disappearance of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, “Near East” largely fell out of common use in English, while “Middle East” came to be applied to the re-emerging countries of the Islamic world. However, the usage “Near East” was retained by a variety of academic disciplines, including archaeology and ancient history, where it describes an area identical to the term Middle East, which is not used by these disciplines (see Ancient Near East).

The first official use of the term “Middle East” by the United States government was in the 1957 Eisenhower Doctrine, which pertained to the Suez Crisis. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles defined the Middle East as “the area lying between and including Libya on the west and Pakistan on the east, Syria and Iraq on the North and the Arabian peninsula to the south, plus the Sudan and Ethiopia.”[12] In 1958, the State Department explained that the terms “Near East” and “Middle East” were interchangeable, and defined the region as including only EgyptSyriaIsraelLebanonJordanIraqSaudi ArabiaKuwaitBahrain, and Qatar.[16]

The Associated Press Stylebook says that Near East formerly referred to the farther west countries while Middle East referred to the eastern ones, but that now they are synonymous. It instructs:

Use Middle East unless Near East is used by a source in a story. Mideast is also acceptable, but Middle East is preferred.[17]

At the United Nations, the numerous documents and resolutions about the Middle East are in fact concerned with the Arab–Israeli conflict, in particular the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and, therefore, with the four states of the Levant. The term Near East is occasionally heard at the UN when referring to this region.[citation needed]

Translations

There are terms similar to Near East and Middle East in other European languages, but since it is a relative description, the meanings depend on the country and are different from the English terms generally. In German the term Naher Osten (Near East) is still in common use (nowadays the term Mittlerer Osten is more and more common in press texts translated from English sources, albeit having a distinct meaning) and in Russian Ближний Восток or Blizhniy VostokBulgarian Близкия ИзтокPolish Bliski Wschód orCroatian Bliski istok (meaning Near East in all the four Slavic languages) remains as the only appropriate term for the region. However, some languages do have “Middle East” equivalents, such as the French Moyen-OrientSwedish MellanösternSpanish Oriente Medio or Medio Oriente, and the Italian Medio Oriente.[note 2]

Perhaps because of the influence of the Western press, the Arabic equivalent of Middle East (Arabic: الشرق الأوسط ash-Sharq al-Awsaṭ), has become standard usage in the mainstream Arabic press, comprehending the same meaning as the term “Middle East” in North American and Western European usage. The designation, Mashriq, also from the Arabic root for east, also denotes a variously defined region around the Levant, the eastern part of the Arabic-speaking world (as opposed to the Maghreb, the western part).[18] The Persianequivalent for Middle East is خاورمیانه (Khāvar-e miyāneh).

Territories and regions

Traditional definition of the Middle East

The following countries are included within the Middle East, which is corresponding to Western Asia, excluding the Caucasus:

Other definitions of the Middle East

Main articles: Near East and Greater Middle East

Various concepts are often being paralleled to Middle East, most notably Near EastFertile Crescent and the Levant. Near East, Levant and Fertile Crescent are geographic concepts, which refer to large sections of the modern defined Middle East, with Near East being the closest to Middle East in its geographic meaning.

Greater Middle East is an additional Eurocentric concept, introduced in the West in the 1990s, and referring to the mostly-Islamic regions of North Africa, Western Asia and Central Asia; the use of “Greater Middle East” however was marginal and it has recently fell into disuse.

History

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this articleby adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(December 2011)

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem

The Kaaba, located in Mecca

The Middle East lies at the juncture of Eurasia and Africa and of the Mediterranean Sea and theIndian Ocean. It is the birthplace and spiritual center of religions such as ChristianityIslam,JudaismManichaeismYezidiDruzeYarsan and Mandeanism, and in Iran, Mithraism,ZoroastrianismManicheanism, and the Bahá’í Faith. Throughout its history the Middle East has been a major center of world affairs; a strategically, economically, politically, culturally, and religiously sensitive area.

The world’s earliest civilizations, Mesopotamia (SumerAkkadAssyria and Babylonia) and ancient Egypt, originated in the Fertile Crescent and Nile Valley regions of the ancient Near East. These were followed by the HittiteGreek and Urartian civilisations of Asia MinorElam in pre-Iranian Persia, as well as the civilizations of the Levant (such as EblaUgaritCanaanArameaPhoenicia andIsrael), Persian and Median civilizations in IranNorth Africa (Carthage/Phoenicia) and the Arabian Peninsula (MaganShebaUbar). The Near East was first largely unified under the Neo Assyrian Empire, then the Achaemenid Empire followed later by the Macedonian Empire and after this to some degree by the Iranian empires (namely the Parthian and Sassanid Empires), the Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire. However, it would be the later Arab Caliphates of the Middle Ages, or Islamic Golden Age which began with the Arab conquest of the region in the 7th century AD, that would first unify the entire Middle East as a distinct region and create the dominant Islamic ethnic identity that largely (but not exclusively) persists today. TheMongols, the Turkish Seljuk and Ottoman empires, the Safavids and the British Empirewould also later dominate the region.

The modern Middle East began after World War I, when the Ottoman Empire, which was allied with the Central Powers, was defeated by the British Empire and their allies andpartitioned into a number of separate nations, initially under British and French Mandates. Other defining events in this transformation included the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the eventual departure of European powers, notably Britain and France by the end of the 1960s. They were supplanted in some part by the rising influence of the United States from the 1970s onwards.

In the 20th century, the region’s significant stocks of crude oil gave it new strategic and economic importance. Mass production of oil began around 1945, with Saudi ArabiaIranKuwaitIraq, and the United Arab Emirates having large quantities of oil.[20] Estimated oil reserves, especially in Saudi Arabia and Iran, are some of the highest in the world, and the international oil cartel OPEC is dominated by Middle Eastern countries.

During the Cold War, the Middle East was a theater of ideological struggle between the two superpowers and their allies: NATO and theUnited States on one side, and the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact on the other, as they competed to influence regional allies. Of course, besides the political reasons there was also the “ideological conflict” between the two systems. Moreover, as Louise Fawcettargues, among many important areas of contention, or perhaps more accurately of anxiety, were, first, the desires of the superpowers to gain strategic advantage in the region, second, the fact that the region contained some two thirds of the world’s oil reserves in a context where oil was becoming increasingly vital to the economy of the Western world […][21] Within this contextual framework, the United States sought to divert the Arab world from Soviet influence. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, the region has experienced both periods of relative peace and tolerance and periods of conflict and war.

Demographics

Ethnic groups

Various ethnic and religious types present in the Middle East, 19th century

The Middle East is today home to numerous long established ethnic groups, including;ArabsTurksPersiansJewsKurdsSomalisAssyriansEgyptian CoptsArmenians,AzerisMalteseCircassiansGreeksTurcomansShabaksYazidisMandeans,GeorgiansRomaGagauzMhallami and Samaritans.

Migration

According to the International Organization for Migration, there are 13 million first-generation migrants from Arab nations in the world, of which 5.8 reside in other Arab countries. Expatriates from Arab countries contribute to the circulation of financial and human capital in the region and thus significantly promote regional development. In 2009 Arab countries received a total of 35.1 billion USD in remittance in-flows and remittances sent to JordanEgypt and Lebanon from other Arab countries are 40 to 190 per cent higher than trade revenues between these and other Arab countries.[22] In Somalia, the Somali Civil War has greatly increased the size of the Somali diaspora, as many of the best educated Somalis left for EuropeNorth America and other Middle Eastern countries.

Non-Arab Middle Eastern countries such as TurkeyIsrael and Iran are also subject to important migration dynamics.

A fair proportion of those migrating from Arab nations are from ethnic and religious minorities facing racial and or religious persecution and are not necessarily ethnic Arabs, Iranians or Turks.[citation needed] Large numbers of KurdsJewsAssyriansGreeks andArmenians as well as many Mandeans have left nations such as Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey for these reasons during the last century. In Iran, many religious minorities such as ChristiansBaha’is and Zoroastrians have left since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.[citation needed]

Religions

Muslim men prostrating during prayer in a mosque.

41% of Lebanon, the Christians have represented the mosaic of the Middle East, and contribute heavily in the Media, Politics, Entertainment, Banking… sectors in Lebanon and the World.

The Middle East is very diverse when it comes to religions, many of which originated there.Islam in its many forms is by far the largest religion in the Middle East, but other faiths that originated there, such as Judaism and Christianity, are also well represented. Christians represent a proportionally, 41%, huge part of Lebanon, where the Lebanese President, Lebanese Army General and Central Bank Governor has to be Christian. There are also important minority religions like the Bahá’í FaithYazdânismZoroastrianismMandeanism,DruzeYarsanYazidism and Shabakism, and in ancient times the region was home toMesopotamian ReligionCanaanite ReligionManicheanismMithraism and variousMonotheist Gnostic sects.

Languages

The five top languages, in terms of numbers of speakers, are ArabicPersianTurkish,Berber, and Kurdish. Arabic and Berber represent the Afro-Asiatic language family. Persian and Kurdish belong to the Indo-European language family. And Turkish belongs to Turkiclanguage family. About 20 minority languages are also spoken in the Middle East.

Arabic (with all its dialects) is the most widely spoken and/or written language in the Middle East, being official in all North African and in most West Asian countries. It is also spoken in some adjacent areas in neighbouring Middle Eastern non-Arab countries. It is a member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic languages.

Persian is the second most spoken language. While it is confined to Iran and some border areas in neighbouring countries, the country is one of the region’s largest and most populous. It belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of the family of Indo-European languages.

The third-most widely spoken language, Turkish, is largely confined to Turkey, which is also one of the region’s largest and most populous countries, but it is present in areas in neighboring countries. It is a member of the Turkic languages, which have their origins in Central Asia.

Other languages spoken in the region include Semitic languages such as Hebrew and Mesopotamian Aramaic dialects spoken mainly by Assyrians and Mandeans. Also to be found are ArmenianAzerbaijaniSomaliBerber which is spoken across North Africa,Circassian, smaller Iranian languagesKurdish, smaller Turkic languages (such as Gagauz), ShabakiYazidiRomaGeorgianGreek, and several Modern South Arabian languages such as GeezMaltese is also linguistically and geographically a Middle Eastern language.

English is commonly taught and used as a second language, especially among the middle and upper classes, in countries such asEgyptJordanIsraelIranIraqQatarBahrainUnited Arab Emirates and Kuwait.[23][24] It is also a main language in some of the Emirates of the United Arab Emirates.

French is taught and used in many government facilities and media in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Lebanon. It is taught in some primary and secondary schools of Egypt, Israel and Syria.

Urdu and Hindi is widely spoken by migrant communities in many Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia (where 20-25% of the population is South Asian), the United Arab Emirates (where 50-55% of the population is South Asian), and Qatar, which have large numbers of Pakistani and Indian immigrants.

The largest Romanian-speaking community in the Middle East is found in Israel, where as of 1995 Romanian is spoken by 5% of the population.[note 3][25][26] Russian is also spoken by a large portion of the Israeli population, because of emigration in the late 1990s.Amharic and other Ethiopian languages are spoken by Ethiopian minority.

Economy

Middle Eastern economies range from being very poor (such as Gaza and Yemen) to extremely wealthy nations (such as Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia). Overall, as of 2007, according to the CIA World Factbook, all nations in the Middle East are maintaining a positive rate of growth.

According to the World Bank‘s World Development Indicators database published on July 1, 2009, the three largest Middle Eastern economies in 2008 were Turkey ($ 794,228,000,000), Saudi Arabia ($ 467,601,000,000) and Iran ($ 385,143,000,000) in terms ofNominal GDP.[27] In regards to nominal GDP per capita, the highest ranking countries are Qatar ($93,204), the UAE ($55,028), Kuwait ($45,920) and Cyprus ($32,745).[28] Turkey ($ 1,028,897,000,000), Iran ($ 839,438,000,000) and Saudi Arabia ($ 589,531,000,000) had the largest economies in terms of GDP-PPP.[29] When it comes to per capita (PPP)-based income, the highest-ranking countries are Qatar ($86,008), Kuwait ($39,915), the UAE ($38,894), Bahrain ($34,662) and Cyprus ($29,853). The lowest-ranking country in the Middle East, in terms of per capita income (PPP), is the autonomous Palestinian Authority of Gaza and the West Bank ($1,100).

The economic structure of Middle Eastern nations are different in the sense that while some nations are heavily dependent on export of only oil and oil-related products (such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait), others have a highly diverse economic base (such as Cyprus, Israel, Turkey and Egypt). Industries of the Middle Eastern region include oil and oil-related products, agriculture, cotton, cattle, dairy, textiles, leather products, surgical instruments, defence equipment (guns, ammunition, tanks, submarines, fighter jets, UAVs, and missiles). Banking is also an important sector of the economies, especially in the case of UAE and Bahrain.

With the exception of Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and Israel, tourism has been a relatively undeveloped area of the economy, in part because of the socially conservative nature of the region as well as political turmoil in certain regions of the Middle East. In recent years, however, countries such as the UAE, Bahrain, and Jordan have begun attracting greater number of tourists because of improving tourist facilities and the relaxing of tourism-related restrictive policies.

Unemployment is notably high in the Middle East and North Africa region, particularly among young people aged 15–29, a demographic representing 30% of the region’s total population. The total regional unemployment rate in 2005, according to the International Labor Organization, was 13.2%,[30] and among youth is as high as 25%,[31] up to 37% in Morocco and 73% in Syria.[32]

Gallery

This video over Central Africa and the Middle East was taken by the crew of Expedition 29 on board theInternational Space Station.
This video over the Sahara Desert and the Middle East was taken by the crew of Expedition 29 on board the International Space Station.
A pass beginning over Turkmenistan, east of theCaspian Sea to south-eastern China, just north-west of Hong Kong.

See also

History

Regions

Issues

Organizations, programs, and media

Notes

  1. Jump up^ Arabic: الشرق الأوسط, Asharq Al-AwsṭArmenian: Միջին Արևելք, Merdzavor Arevelk’AzerbaijaniOrta ŞərqFrenchMoyen-Orient;Georgian: ახლო აღმოსავლეთი, akhlo aghmosavletiGreek: Μέση Ανατολή, Mési AnatolíHebrew: המזרח התיכון, Ha’Mizrah Ha’Tihon;KurdishRojhilata NavînPersian: خاورمیانه, khevrmyenhSomaliBariga DhexeSoranî Kurdish: ڕۆژھەڵاتی ناوین, rrojhellatî naynTurkish:Orta DoğuUrdu: مشرق وسطی, hashrq vsty
  2. Jump up^ In Italian, the expression “Vicino Oriente” (Near East) was also widely used to refer to Turkey, and Estremo Oriente (Far East or Extreme East) to refer to all of Asia east of Middle East
  3. Jump up^ According to the 1993 Statistical Abstract of Israel there were 250,000 Romanian speakers in Israel, at a population of 5,548,523 (census 1995).

References

General

  • Adelson, Roger (1995). London and the Invention of the Middle East: Money, Power, and War, 1902-1922. Yale University Press.ISBN 0-300-06094-7.
  • Anderson, R; Seibert, R; Wagner, J. (2006). Politics and Change in the Middle East (8th ed.). Prentice-Hall.
  • Barzilai, Gad; Aharon, Klieman; Gil, Shidlo (1993). The Gulf Crisis and its Global Aftermath. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-080029.
  • Barzilai, Gad (1996). Wars, Internal Conflicts and Political Order. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-2943-1.
  • Beaumont, Peter; Blake, Gerald H; Wagstaff, J. Malcolm (1988). The Middle East: A Geographical Study. David Fulton. ISBN 0-470-21040-0.
  • Goldschmidt, Arthur Jr (1999). A Concise History of the Middle East. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-0471-7.

Citations

  1. Jump up^ Levinson, David (1998), Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready Reference Handbook, p. 145.
  2. Jump up^ Beaumont, Blake & Wagstaff 1988, p. 16.
  3. Jump up^ Koppes, CR (1976). “Captain Mahan, General Gordon and the origin of the term “Middle East””. Middle East Studies 12: 95–98.doi:10.1080/00263207608700307.
  4. Jump up^ Lewis, Bernard (1965). The Middle East and the West. p. 9.
  5. Jump up^ Fromkin, David (1989). A Peace to end all Peace. p. 224.ISBN 0-8050-0857-8.
  6. Jump up^ Melman, Billie, Companion to Travel Writing, Collections Online, 6 The Middle East/Arabia, Cambridge, retrieved January 8, 2006.
  7. Jump up^ Palmer, Michael A. Guardians of the Persian Gulf: A History of America’s Expanding Role in the Persian Gulf, 1833–1992. New York: The Free Press, 1992. ISBN 0-02-923843-9 pp. 12–13.
  8. Jump up^ Laciner, Dr. Sedat. “Is There a Place Called ‘the Middle East’?“, The Journal of Turkish Weekly]”, June 2, 2006. Retrieved January 10, 2007.
  9. Jump up^ Adelson 1995, pp. 22–23.
  10. Jump up^ Adelson 1995, p. 24.
  11. Jump up^ Adelson 1995, p. 26.
  12. Jump up to:a b Davison, Roderic H. (1960). “Where is the Middle East?”.Foreign Affairs 38 (4): 665–75. doi:10.2307/20029452.
  13. Jump up^ Held, Colbert C. (2000). Middle East Patterns: Places, Peoples, and Politics. Westview Press. p. 7. ISBN 0-8133-8221-1.
  14. Jump up^ Shohat, Ella. “Redrawing American Cartographies of Asia”. City University of New York. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
  15. Jump up^ Hanafi, Hassan. “The Middle East, in whose world?”. Nordic Society for Middle Eastern Studies. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
  16. Jump up^ “‘Near East’ is Mideast, Washington Explains”The New York Times. August 14, 1958. Retrieved 2009-01-25.(subscription required)
  17. Jump up^ Goldstein, Norm. The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. New York: Basic Books, 2004. ISBN 0-465-00488-1 p. 156
  18. Jump up^ Anderson, Ewan W., William Bayne Fisher (2000). The Middle East: Geography and Geopolitics. Routledge. pp. 12–13.
  19. Jump up^ The World Factbook. Cia.gov. Retrieved on 2013-07-29.
  20. Jump up^ Goldschmidt (1999), p. 8
  21. Jump up^ Louise, Fawcett. International Relations of the Middle East. (Oxford University Press, New York, 2005)
  22. Jump up^ “IOM Intra regional labour mobility in Arab region Facts and Figures (English)” (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  23. Jump up^ “World Factbook – Jordan”.
  24. Jump up^ “World Factbook – Kuwait”.
  25. Jump up^ “Reports of about 300,000 Jews that left the country after WW2”. Eurojewcong.org. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  26. Jump up^ “Evenimentul Zilei”. Evz.ro. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  27. Jump up^ The World Bank: World Economic Indicators Database. GDP (Nominal) 2008. Data for 2008. Last revised on July 1, 2009.
  28. Jump up^ Data refer to 2008. World Economic Outlook Database-October 2009International Monetary Fund. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
  29. Jump up^ The World Bank: World Economic Indicators Database. GDP (PPP) 2008. Data for 2008. Last revised on July 1, 2009.
  30. Jump up^ “Unemployment Rates Are Highest in the Middle East”. Progressive Policy Institute. August 30, 2006.
  31. Jump up^ Navtej Dhillon, Tarek Yousef (2007). “Inclusion: Meeting the 100 Million Youth Challenge”. Shabab Inclusion.
  32. Jump up^ Hilary Silver (December 12, 2007). “Social Exclusion: Comparative Analysis of Europe and Middle East Youth”.Middle East Youth Initiative Working Paper. Shabab Inclusion.

Further reading

  • Cressey, George B. (1960). Crossroads: Land and Life in Southwest Asia. Chicago, IL: J.B. Lippincott Co. xiv, 593 p., ill. with maps and b&w photos.
  • Freedman, Robert O. (1991). The Middle East from the Iran-Contra Affair to the Intifada, in series, Contemporary Issues in the Middle East. 1st ed. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. x, 441 p. ISBN 0-8156-2502-2 pbk.

External links

Find more about Middle East at Wikipedia’ssister projects
Definitions and translations from Wiktionary
Media from Commons
Quotations from Wikiquote
Source texts from Wikisource
Textbooks from Wikibooks
Travel information from Wikivoyage
Learning resources from Wikiversity
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Analysis: War between Islamic movements and Arab armies could be decided this year. Otherwise, countries like Syria, Iraq and Yemen may fall into Shiitanarchy or split between Sunni and Shite areas

The Arab Spring, which began in 2011, went by like a short transition season, and the Arab revolutions turned in the course of the past two years from a popular social protest against the Arab regimes’ tyranny into a wave of internal battles and civil wars.

One can assume that the Arab street expected completely different results and pinned many hopes on the wave of protests flooding the Middle East, after Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Tunisia. I doubt whether the young people who took to the streets imagined that political Islam would “steal” the revolutions in 2012 and use them to build up strength and even rise to power in Egypt and Tunisia.

Islamists built up strength. Syrian rebels in Aleppo (Photo: Reuters)
Islamists built up strength. Syrian rebels in Aleppo (Photo: Reuters)

The radical Islamist movements, led by the arms of al-Qaeda, took advantage of the crisis in the Arab world to gain momentum and undermine stability. After the disappointing results of the revolutions came the turn of reaction – an effort made by Arab armies, in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and other countries, to restore the old order. The earthquake in the Arab world created rifts which widened immensely in 2013 and may lead to the dissolution of countries and change the Middle East map in the future.

Here is a summary and evaluation of what can be expected in the coming year in the countries where Arab revolutions are taking place.

Syria

The quiet popular protest in Syria disappeared in 2012, turning into a war between the rebels and the regime’s army.

In 2013, the Islamists built up strength at the expense of the Free Syrian Army. Al-Qaeda and the Salafi organizations’ takeover of the opposition turned President Bashar Assad into the least worst option in the world’s eyes and prevented external military intervention.

Syrian Spillover
Al-Qaeda’s Middle East revival, courtesy of Syria  / News agencies
Al-Qaeda affiliated group active in Syria takes control of Iraqi city only week after detonating blast in Lebanon. ‘Governance vacuum in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon has helped al-Qaeda to gain strength in recent years’ analyst says
Full story

Ahead of the Geneva II conference, scheduled to take place in late January, all parties to the conflict are attempting to reach some last achievements. There is no doubt that Assad’s survival and success in scoring military victories with the help of Hezbollah serve as a serious blow to the Sunni axis, and especially to Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Indeed, the American threat to strike in Syria led to the chemical weapons destruction agreement, but definitely not to the actual extermination of all the biological and chemical reservoirs of the regime’s army. Assad knew very well that the Americans would not help al-Qaeda rise to power in Syria due to the biological and chemical reservoirs of the regime’s army and especially those concerning Israel.

 Brought old Arab patriotism back to life (Photo: Reuters)

There are zero chances of achieving peace in the upcoming Geneva conference, as there is not even a ceasefire in sight. Saudi Arabia has been trying in recent months to establish a new Sunni opposition force as an alternative to the jihadists and the Free Syrian Army. According to unverified rumors, this force will be organized in Jordan, but its chances of changing the course of the battle in Syria are questionable.

Syria is divided today into two regions: The west, which is mostly in the hands of the regime, and the north, which is controlled by Islamist rebels. Despite the achievements of the regime’s army, its progress on the ground is slow and the end of the crisis is nowhere in sight.

Egypt

The past year was marked by the collapse of political Islam. In the summer, the Egyptian army staged a coup which brought the Muslim Brotherhood’s failed one year in power to an end. Although the  was against a government which was allegedly elected democratically, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi prevented the Muslim Brotherhood’s gradual takeover of Egypt.

Continuing Mohamed Morsi’s rule would have cause Egypt to deteriorate economically and politically towards a dark Islamic religious state. The relations with Israel would have undoubtedly been undermined had the Muslim Brotherhood managed to rule the army with an iron hand.

General al-Sisi’s meteoric rise to power brought the old Arab Patriotism back to life and reminded the Arabs of the pan-Arab movements of the officers about 50 years ago: The Nasserism and the Ba’ath, but this time without incitement against Israel. These movements were always the most bitter rivals of the Islamic movements.

Arab war on terror? Nasrallah and Assad (Photos: EPA, AFP)
Arab war on terror? Nasrallah and Assad (Photos: EPA, AFP)

In Syria, Assad took advantage of the nationalist wave to describe his battle and the battle of the Egyptian government as “the Arab armies’ war on terror.” The Egyptian army’s propaganda is indeed increasingly reminiscent of its Syrian counterpart. As far as General al-Sisi is concerned, there is no popular opposition but “armed terror gangs” which threaten the country.

This week, Egypt completed the process of outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood movement, and it is now considered a terror organization. This change serves as a declaration of war against a movement created about 80 years ago, which is deeply rooted in society.

The year 2014, therefore, will be marked by a difficult and long battle against the Muslim Brotherhood. Declaring the movement a terror organization has managed to stress out Muslim Brotherhood movements in neighboring countries. In Jordan, the authorities rushed to declare that they have no intention of outlawing the movement and that it will remain a legal opposition as always. Hamas fears that the Gaza-ruling Palestinian organization will be added to the Egyptian terror list because of its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

There is no doubt that the President Morsi’s ousting and the Egyptian activity to block the tunnels to Gaza contributed significantly to the weakening of Hamas. This process, which is simultaneous to the rise in Mahmoud Abbas‘ status following the prisoner release, could help advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Lebanon

The past year was a year of turbulence in the land of cedars: A wave of terror attacks, car bombs and assassinations characterizing the battle between Hezbollah and the Sunni jihad organizations. These phenomena are clear symptoms of the Syrian crisis’ spillover into Lebanon. Although the Lebanese army failed to prevent these incidents, it managed to score several significant achievements such as destroying the Sunni Salafi infrastructure in Sidon and assuming responsibility for the barriers in the Shiite areas.

Wave of terror attacks, car bombs and assassinations. Beirut's Dahiya Quarter (Photo: AFP)
Wave of terror attacks, car bombs and assassinations. Beirut’s Dahiya Quarter (Photo: AFP)

Hezbollah’s engagement in the Syrian arena allows the Lebanese army to strengthen its hold of the country despite still being an inferior force compared to Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia has spotted the strategic void created after Shiite fighters were dispatched to the Syrian arena, and it has been trying recently to tilt the balance in favor of the Lebanese army. In recent days the Saudi kingdom has granted the Lebanese army as much as $3 billion to purchase weapons from France.

The assassination of former Lebanese Finance Minister Mohamad Chatah took the Lebanese people back to the trauma of the murder of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. At the time, Saudi Arabia and France had also led the support for the Sunni leaders against Hezbollah and Syria.

The Lebanese army’s antiaircraft fire at Syrian planes which invaded its airspace indicates a rise in the confidence of the army’s headquarters. The Saudi-French support is expected to build up the army’s strength at the expense of Hezbollah. But we must remember that although the Hezbollah organization has suffered quite a few losses, its fighters are gaining combat experience in the Syrian arena and will threaten Lebanon’s stability if and when they are required to return home.

Iraq

Ahead of 2013, the wave of Arab revolutions reached Iraq, where it burst strongly following the frustration of the Sunnis in the western part of the country by the Shiite majority’s rule led by Nouri al-Maliki. The Iraqi army invested a lot of energy in dispersing protests, using the famous claim of “a war on terror gangs,” but had limited success.

The circle of protests was joined by the Sunni tribes which set up a militia against the army forces. The riots contributed to the strengthening of al-Qaeda, which has been initiating terror attacks against the army and Shiite targets almost every day.

The long border between Iraq and Syria allows Sunni jihad organizations to transfer equipment and fighters between the two countries. Iran-backed Shiite militias in the east have offered to intervene and help the army oppress the Sunni riots, but have been turned down. Despite its huge dimensions, the Iraqi army does not have enough power to impose order in the split country. The government is concerned that ongoing riots will lead to a situation similar to Syria, in which the country is divided between two areas of control, or similar to Lebanon, where the Shiite militia has gained excess power.

Iraqi army doesn't have enough power to impose order in the split country (Photo: AFP)
Iraqi army doesn’t have enough power to impose order in the split country (Photo: AFP)

Both in Iraq and in Syria, the Kurds are taking advantage of the instability in order to create an autonomic enclave in the northern part of the country. Similar to the situation in Lebanon, Iraq is on the verge of a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites.

In addition, the conflict in Iraq has an economic aspect as well. The Sunnis claim that the government is robbing them of the oil in their area, especially in the Kirkuk province, and that the Shiites are smuggling most of the oil located in southern Iraq to Iran.

Yemen

Similar to Iraq, the Yemeni army which represents the Shiite government (the Zaydi faction) is busy fighting Sunni groups in the south which aspire to disconnect from the state and reestablish southern Yemen. If the army fails to oppress the rebels supported by al-Qaeda, Yemen could split into a Zaydi Sana state in the north and a Sunni Aden state in the south.

It’s possible that 2014 will be the year in which the war between the Islamic movements and Arab armies will be decided. If the balance isn’t tilted, many countries may deteriorate to anarchy or to a political split between Sunni and Shiite areas. Unfortunately, the Arab world has already given up on the dreams of the Arab Spring – social justice, democracy, minority rights and religious tolerance. The Arab revolutions have only led to fauda (anarchy) and to fitnah (conflict and factionalism between Muslims).

In countries where the revolution has been curbed – like Jordan, Algeria, Morocco and Saudi Arabia – the populations have maintained their standard of living. The revolutions in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Iraq did not put an end to the government corruption and tyranny and highly increased poverty.

According to a famous Islamic principle, an exploiting government is better than anarchy. The Koran warns that “fitnah is worse than murder,” as it leads to mass killing. The Arab society is tired of wars and is left exhausted and bleeding. Most citizens in Arab countries are hoping for only one thing now – to see peace and quiet return to the streets and to go back to a normal life.

Dr. Yaron Friedman, Ynet’s commentator on the Arab world, is a graduate of the Sorbonne. He teaches Arabic and lectures about Islam at the Technion, at Beit Hagefen and at the Galilee Academic College. His book, “The Nusayri Alawis: An Introduction to the Religion, History and Identity of the Leading Minority in Syria,” was published in 2010 by Brill-Leiden

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Tags:a war on terror gangs,dispersing protestsRafik Hariri ,Mohamad Chatah,Syrian arena,strategic void,Sidon,Sunni Salafi infrastructure,Hezbollah , Sunni jihad Hezbollah and the Sunni jihad , Israeli-Palestinian peace process,Mahmoud Abbas,block the tunnels to Gaza ,Gaza-ruling Palestinian organization,Hamas ,Hamas ,stress out Muslim Brotherhood movements,terror organization,armed terror gangs,the Arab armies’ war on terror ,nationalist wave,EPA, AFP,Arab war on terror? ,Nasrallah ,AssadNasserism ,the Ba’ath,Arab Patriotism,pan-Arab movements,General al-Sisi,General al-Sisi,Islamic religious state,Mohamed Morsi,General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,coup,Muslim Brotherhood, Islamist rebels,Israel, Israel,biological and chemical reservoirs of the regime’s army,biological and chemical reservoirs , regime’s army,chemical weapons destruction ,Turkey, Qatar,Sunni axis, Hezbollah,scoring military victoriesAssad’s survival,Geneva II conference,Governance vacuum,Al-Qaeda affiliated group ,Syrian Spillover,external military intervention,President Bashar Assad ,anarchy,internal battles Free Syrian Army,Al-Qaeda , the Salafi organizations’ takeover ,popular protest ,the rebels , the regime’s army,quiet popular protest ,dissolution of countries, Middle East map,Arab world,al-Qaeda, Mohamed Bouaziz, political Islam ,the revolutions in 2012,Tunisia, civil wars , Arab Spring,Arab revolutions,Shite,split ,Arab regimes’ tyranny ,Sunni .islamic movements , Arab armiesStephen Darori, Stephen Drus , stephendarori, stephendrus,Middle East, North Africa , Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Aaudi Arabia

Where Are They Now? Search Engines We’ve Known & Loved

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Page One Power is a custom link building company located in Boise, Idaho.

AltaVista, the Google of its day, is now to be gobbled up by Overture. It’s a famous name that’s seen better days. But AltaVista’s not the only major search player to have faded, as years have gone by. Come along and see the early search engines that have died, those that have been transformed, who’s survived and how the “new” players that are no longer so young are doing.

Of interest to history buffs will also be my The End For Search Engines? article, written at the beginning of 2001, when many assumed search engines were a dying breed (I argued differently). Also, see the Major Search Engines page for links to some of the services mentioned below and additional history.

Rest In Peace

Open Text (1995-1997): Yahoo’s original search partner was also a popular web search site of its own in 1995. The company crawled the web to gather listings, just as Google does today. Open Text decided to focus instead on enterprise search solutions, where it is currently successful. Web search operations closed in mid-1997.

Magellan (1995-2001): An early search engine that saw its popularity drop immediately after being purchased by Excite in mid-1996. It was closed in April 2001.

Infoseek (1995-2001): Launched in early 1995, Infoseek originally hoped to charge for searching. When that failed, the popular search engine shifted to depending like others on banner ads. Disney took a large stake in the company in 1998 and went down the “portal” path that other leading search engines had followed. The site was also renamed “Go.” Its failure to make money caused Disney to stop Go’s own internal search capabilities abruptly in early 2001. Today, Go remains operating, powered by Google.

Snap (1997-2001): Launched by CNET in 1997, Snap first used Infoseek, then Inktomi, then created its own directory of human-edited listings that were coupled with clickthrough technology that ranked results in part by what people clicked on. NBC later acquired a majority interest in the company, then renamed it NBCi and intended to win the “portal wars” with the site. But as with Disney and Infoseek, the site’s internal search technology was abruptly closed in early 2001. It is currently powered by meta search results from Infospace.

Direct Hit (1998-2002): When Google first appeared as the hot new search technology in 1998, so did Direct Hit, featuring the ability to measure what people clicked on in search results as a way to make those better. It gained a deal with HotBot and was offered as a search feature on other portals such as Lycos and MSN. It was purchased by Ask Jeeves in 2000, then neglected over the following years. The site was formally closed in early 2002.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Lycos (1994; reborn 1999): Lycos operated one of the web’s earliest crawler-based search engines. Lycos stopped depending on that spider in 1999 and instead now outsources for its search results from AllTheWeb.

WebCrawler (1994; reborn 2001): WebCrawler still exists as a meta search engine that gets results from other search engines, rather than through its own efforts. Now owned by Infospace, WebCrawler was arguably the web’s first crawler-based search engine in the way we know them today. It launched in early 1994 as a University of Washington research project, was purchased by AOL in 1995, then sold to Excite at the end of 1996. The WebCrawler spider was deactivated in December 2001.

Yahoo (1994; reborn 2002): Before Google, before AltaVista, there was Yahoo. Despite all the changes in the search space over the years, Yahoo has remained one of the most popular search destinations on the web. Yahoo stood out from its early competitors by using humans to catalog the web, a directory system. Crawler-based results from its partners only kicked in if there were no human-powered matches. That actually made Yahoo more relevant than competitors for many years, until the Google-era ushered in crawler-based results that were both comprehensive andhighly relevant. Yahoo caught up with that era in October 2002, when it dropped its human-powered results in preference to Google’s results. The Yahoo Directory still exists and is leveraged by the company, but today’s Yahoo is a far different creature than what it was for all those years before.

Excite (1995; reborn 2001): Quickly gaining popularity after launching in late 1995, Excite crawled the web to gather listings. In 1996, the company bought two rivals, Magellan and WebCrawler, then itself was transformed via a merger into Excite@Home. Excite stopped gathering its own listings in December 2001, in the wake of its parent company’s bankruptcy. Now a new “Excite Networks” company owns the Excite web site, while Infospace has a license to provide meta search results to Excite in perpetuity.

HotBot (1996; reborn 2002): Launched in May 1996, HotBot was initially powered by Inktomi and backed by Wired. HotBot’s wild colors, great results and impressive features drew acclaim. Lycos (now Terra Lycos) bought the service as part of Wired Digital in 1998. As the “other” Lycos search engine, it suffered from a lack of attention by its parent. Last December, it was revitalized as a meta-like search engine, offering access to results from four different major search engines: Google, FAST, Teoma and Inktomi.

Ask Jeeves (1998; reborn 2002): Originally hailed as the “natural language” search engine when it debuted in 1998, the secret to Ask Jeeves wasn’t really the ability to understand language. Instead, Ask Jeeves had over 100 editors monitoring what people searched for, then hand-selecting sites that seemed to best answer those queries. Such an approach is good for the most popular queries but doesn’t help when people want unusual information. Thus Ask purchased Direct Hit in early 2000, to make it more comprehensive. The company failed to capitalize on that technology, so tried again more successfully by purchasing Teoma in 2001. In 2002, it shifted over to relying on Teoma for nearly all of its matches.

Same As They Ever Were

AltaVista (1995- ): The Google of its day, AltaVista offered access to a huge index of web sites, when it launched in December 1995. The search engine quickly grew in popularity, but its parent Digital didn’t know what to do with it. The sale of Digital to Compaq didn’t help matters, and the situation grew worse when AltaVista was spun into a separate company, majority-owned by CMGI. It was relaunched as a portal in October 1999, entering an already crowded field and taking its attention away from the quality of its search results. It paid the price as dissatisfied users flocked to newcomer Google. Throughout everything, AltaVista’s crawler has kept going. Overture now intends to buy the company.

LookSmart (1996- ): Launched in 1996, LookSmart remains the only search company to heavily depend upon humans to gather its primary listings. In 2002, LookSmart bought the WiseNut crawler to complement its human-powered results. Few people search at the LookSmart site itself. Instead, LookSmart acts as a provider to others needing search results. Its major partner is MSN.

Overture (1998- ): Formerly known as GoTo, the company launched a “paid placement” service in early 1998, where sites were ranked based in order of how much they were willing to pay. The web had matured enough by this point to accept this type of commercialization: similar plans tried by Open Text in 1996 were dropped after a chorus of complaints. By 2000, Overture abandoned its initial route of driving consumers to its own web site in favor of a network model of providing its paid listings to other sites. Today, it powers paid listings to major search engines such as MSN and Yahoo.

The New Breed

Google (1998- ): Ironically, Google is now the oldest of the “new” players that have taken over from the old. Launched in 1998 as a Stanford University research project, Google’s ability to analyze links from across the web helped it produce a new generation of highly relevant, crawler-based results. By many different measures, it is today the most popular search engine in use.

AllTheWeb (1999- ): It’s a strong rival to Google in terms of popularity, but AllTheWeb is nowhere near as popular with users. That was OK with parent company FAST. AllTheWeb was meant only to demonstrate the company’s ability to power the results of other search engines by crawling the web. AllTheWeb launched in May 1999 and counts Lycos as its major partner. Overtureannounced last month that it intends to acquire the search engine.

Teoma (2000- ): Launched in 2000, Teoma is known for its own spin on analyzing links from across the web to generate highly relevant results. It was purchased by Ask Jeeves in September 2001 and continues on as its own site, as well as providing results to the Ask Jeeves site.

WiseNut (2001- ): This service gained attention in 2001 and was snapped up by LookSmart in early 2002. The company has since been working to improve its technology and freshness, but the work still hasn’t finished.

The Powered By Others Bunch

AOL Search (1997- ): AOL offers its own search engine to its members, which is currently powered by Google. Originally known as AOL NetFind, an AOL-branded search engine was first offered in 1997 and powered by Excite. AOL briefly owned its own web search technology, WebCrawler, but sold that to Excite in 1996.

MSN Search (1998- ): Microsoft provides a search engine to those coming to the MSN site or searching via features within Internet Explorer. Plenty do, making MSN Search one of the most popular search engines on the web. The service has always outsourced for its search technology. It currently provides a mixture of results from LookSmart and Inktomi.


 

These Fascinating Maps Show The Origin Of Words We Use All The Time

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These Fascinating Maps Show The Origin Of Words We Use All The Time

U.S. playwright Rita Mae Brown said: “Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.”

That quote comes to mind looking at these fascinating European etymology maps of various commons words posted by reddit user sp07, which provide a kind of cultural commentary on Europe.

The word for “church” shows the influence of ancient Greece:

“Bear” appears to be influenced by Russia, where largest brown bear population in Europe can be found. Notice the dominant word literally means “honey-eater.”

Another reddit user noted that “pi” is a prefix for “beer” in several European countries while the “pi” in the Mandarin Chinese word for beer,  啤酒 pi jiu, is a loan word from Europe.

“Apple” has a lot of diversity: Notice how the word in Finland and Estonia may come from a Indo-Iranian origin.

“Orange” is an interesting one. In the west it comes form Sanskrit while the dominant word in much of eastern and northern Europe comes from a word meaning “apple from China.”

“Garoful,” the ancient Greek word for “rose,” only remains in northeastern Italy.

Most of Europe derives “pineapple” from the Guarani language, which is an indigenous language of South America, although the U.K. (and consequently the U.S.) get the word from Latin.

Pineapple Mapimgur/u/Bezbojnicul

Tea comes from China, naturally, except for a few Latin holdouts in eastern Europe.

This one is the word for “cucumber,” which may be even more diverse than “apple”:

cu6amudh_updatedimgur/u/Bezbojnicul

Now Watch: These Maps Prove That Americans Speak Different Languages

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/european-maps-showing-origins-of-common-words-2013-11#ixzz2m4Muj1Zz