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Opinion – Coronavirus amid Regional Instability in the Middle East

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The Coronavirus crisis may be a global crisis, but it will not have the same consequences in every region. Although the Middle East has a significant advantage in the face of this pandemic, as the median age of its population is 26 years old compared to 42 years old in Europe, and although COVID-19 has so far broadly spared the lives of young people, the population as an entity is more vulnerable. The Middle East is unprepared to face this time bomb-like epidemic in a region where health infrastructure is most often lacking, where two humanitarian disasters are under way, in Syria and Yemen, and where millions of refugees live in camps – making social distancing almost impossible. At the moment, political tensions complicate, even more than elsewhere, the cooperation needed between states in the region to make it through this difficult period. The Coronavirus epidemic is a crisis on top of unresolved crises which jeopardizes the stability of most countries in the region. It subsequently leans on the shortcomings and incompetence of the states’ often lack of economic means, administrative organization, as well as the expert skills to face such a challenge.

Health facilities in the region are not ready to cope with a large influx of patients coming in at the same time because of this infection. Major countries in the region are either at war (Syria, Yemen), or out of breath (Iraq, Jordan, Egypt), or bankrupt (Lebanon, Iran), or barely standing on increasingly fragile models (the other Gulf states). To the fragility of these........

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