Middle East, Africa, Iran discussed on The Lawfare Podcast
Second Nilanthi Samara Nyaka she is the director of the strategy and Policy Analysis Program. At CNA with expertise on Indian Ocean and South Asia security. Finally Judd government. He's the director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former national intelligence officer for Africa. It's the law. Fair podcast July thirteenth. Cove nineteen, and it's national security implications in the middle. East South Asia and Africa. Mona. Let's start with Iran and then the wider Middle East in terms of. Covid arrived and how it spread this spring. How did it? I affect the Levada in the wider Middle East, so Iran was the first country in the Middle East to experience covet, and it was quite early as early as mid February that there were actual reports of it started in the. Religious City of calm, but then very quickly spread throughout the country. It was notable that a number of senior Raanan officials contract the disease. There was one. Memorable anecdote when I think it was. Maybe it was the deputy health minister who was giving a press conference sweating profusely and was not note. This has been stabilized. That really is no outbreak and the next day is reported that he's come down with covert. So Iran was really one of the earliest ones in remains the regional epicenter of the pandemic other countries that are now experiencing more significant outbreaks are Iraq. Some of the Gulf countries and Egypt. Now, the attention that was given at least in most of the international press was really to the Iranian government. There wasn't as much attention to the spread among the population in Iran and even less soda populations spread in the other countries, but did it did it follow a similar pattern too much of the rest of the world where everybody was focused on flights coming in from China, and then eventually the flights coming in from Europe and other locations got attention. Well I think it was absolutely a the Islamic republic's ties to China that we're fingered initially, but we should also note that the government really downplayed the pandemic attempted to hide the true extent of it. There are still questions about how extensive testing was, but there were videos and other things coming out on twitter and other social media platforms where it became very clear that the country was fairly quickly overwhelmed and I should know they did respond, but with some lockdown measures gradual ones through April and May. And then started to reopen in June, and now they're in the midst of essentially a second surge that has seen including the last few days, the largest single number of deaths in one day and Iran has in the top ten list for numbers of infections of Covid not a top ten list you WANNA be on right between Italy and Spain. Right. Along. Let's turn to you. How about South Asia did cove it arrive, and what was it like in that first month or two? Sure India and Pakistan for their part they acted early in terms of imposing restrictions, the lockdowns suspending era travel bus travel, but I think one of the criticisms was that it was implemented quite harshly, so there were concerns from the outset about food insecurity, just access to basic staples, migrant workers and India who needed to walk for hundreds of miles to return to their villages, due to the restrictions on. On movements, so it was difficult for them, but Bangaldesh is an interesting case. Because the they saw returning migrant workers or so essentially in Bangladesh, a lot of citizens will go abroad to work especially, in the Middle East and then they will send remittances home, so it's really a top contributor to the the national economy so these workers were coming home from the Middle East from. From Europe and they they weren't really quarantining, so it was a different experience than Indian Pakistan and then there are descending on Daca, which is the most densely populated city in the world, and then they're returning to their homes in the villages of so that's how the the virus has been spreading in. Bangladesh, they're having a difficult time in terms of needing hospital beds and ventilators and Bangash is expecting. Expecting a peak in September Parkistan in the late summer, and then just this week, India surpassed Russia on the Johns Hopkins. University tracker, so it's it's right now after the you ask Brazil in terms of confirmed cases, so it's the the region going through a very difficult time right now. Absolutely, Judd, when and where did Africa get this coronavirus? I and which governments reacted best and worst early on. I, always like the president of Kenya's statement about this, he said this is a crisis that was not created on the African continent as so in sub. Saharan Africa Nigeria I in late February and takes all the way till mid mid-may for all forty nine countries. To have their first index cases, and it's a really very case only one case in sub Saharan Africa Somalia. Actually has a China Nexus. The majority of them actually reflect colonial ties, so you see a number of countries that formerly that are anglophone, having UK connections French with Francophone countries and then. A number of countries that have been infected by index cases from Italy given the really numbers Italy had. Was Pretty Slow at first took ninety eight days for the. Region to reach just one hundred thousand cases, and so it had the lowest caseload globally, but now things are picking up eighteen days to get to two hundred thousand now we're just reach the the half million mark. Let me ask you you are. How much of that is due to under testing that we've heard about across Africa. Yeah, I mean that's there's a number of different hypotheses on why the case load has been low and and the death rate is actually really low. It's about twelve thousand deaths so far some people point sort of the young population age medians about nineteen some talk about the the lockdowns and I can talk a little more about how swiftly those were implemented, but yes, under testing is a big challenge on the continent. They're largely just telling in cities. A report that came out earlier this week, said four thousand tests per million, which compares very poorly to wet. The testing levels are in say Europe. South Africa though I should point out is actually not bad when it comes to testing, it's the nineteenth globally in terms of the number of Tasir motion of population tested. Okay. Well, let's dig into the. Political and social consequences of Covid nineteen, these obviously will be profound, and in some places they already are dramatic Mona. Talk with us a bit about these dynamics in the Middle East and where they have been the most consequential. So I think in many ways it's going to be coverted second and third order effects that are probably going to be the most consequential for the region. We're GONNA see we're starting to already a reverberate in ways that are quite significant and I would note in particular is really the economic. Fallout from covid from the shutdown of measures. Put in place. That really poised to impact region in a significant way of the oil market, for example, witnessed a collapse in prices, April it has said somewhat recovered.