To the Middle East to Work, or Not?

To the Middle East to Work, or Not: 

Labor Trafficking, Migrant Workers, and Governance

Many nations in the gulf area are developing at a break-neck pace, especially on the Arabian Peninsula, which is rich in oil resources. With such a fast rate of development in the Middle East, there is an overwhelming need for migrant workers. The conditions migrant workers face while in migration and while working can resemble bondage, slave labor and or illicit human trafficking. Many nations and organizations have made progress in creating laws and regulations that in theory should create secure conditions for migrant workers, but in reality, the conditions are only getting worse. Nations often lack the will to define labor trafficking and working conditions as a human rights problem, and instead focusing on criminal organizations and illegal migration. Once in the host country, migrant workers are often subjected to slave labor conditions that are solidified in ambiguous regulation and tribal-like politics. With such deplorable conditions and an absence of any recourse, migrant workers are more frequently looking toward suicide as a means of escape. Governance in the Gulf areas aimed at protecting migrant workers from labor trafficking and slave-like working conditions lacks effectiveness.

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Screaming Match with Iran

The United States shares an insidious and dirty history with Iran that causes deep mistrust. Throughout our history, we have used coercive diplomacy and international ambiguity, which do not help build any confidence between our two nations. Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has intense ideas of sovereignty and would view any strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities as an attack against his regime. Khamenei’s ideological evolution said to be based on a “cosmopolitan past,” is the product of deep religious studies and ardent relationships with secular intellectuals within Iran (Ganji 26). Iran is no stranger to American-led regime change and values its sovereignty with fierce conviction.  From Morocco to Pakistan, the Middle East, and Northern Africa, the countries are a tinderbox waiting for an ill-flicked cigarette to set it all ablaze. There is considerable fear that any unilateral move by America would be that spark. Trust, or rather mistrust, was the catalyst that ignited these poor relations but could be the bandage that heals our festering wounds. However, “some portray any progress – More so than reaching a new level of trust – as a critical first step” (Peterson 1). A unilateral military strike undertaken by the United States of America against Iran’s nuclear facilities will have unforeseen international consequences.

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