Image: Ethnic groups in the Middle East shown in a pre-World War I British government map. The primary population of the region of Syria is described as "Arabs (settled)" and inland as "Arabs (nomadic)" Public domain.
Itai Brun, Institute of National Security Studies in Israel; in re: COVID-19 in Israel and the region. The corona virus is making its way across the Middle East and may [be a harbinger] of certain kinds of collapse; we already have bad governance and wars. Rages of infection are far greater than what’s being reported, esp in Syria and Egypt, among many. Governmental mitigation efforts are being favorably received, but we could be looking at a huge humanitarian disaster. Israel needs to prepare for the possibility of [chaos], certainly including Gaza and the West Bank. PA is cooperating with Israel; Gaza, of course, is not. Even Hamas seems to understand that this is not a good time for more provocations.
In Iran, it’s a huge crisis. All over the Middle East, populations are quite young; nonetheless, high numbers of refugees and displaced persons. The governments don’t have good data. Syria, , and Yemen: we don’t have reports specifically about the virus; official reports are very, very low [and not credible]. We’re not yet at the peak of the outbreak.
Brigadier General (Ret.) Itai Brun joined INSS as a Deputy Director for Research and Analysis in December 2018. In his last position in the IDF he served as the head of Israel Defense Intelligence (IDI) Analysis Division (2011-2015). Prior to this position, he was the head of the Analysis Department in the Israeli Air Force Intelligence and the first director of the IDF's DADO Center for Interdisciplinary Military Studies. He founded the center in late 2006, after the second Lebanon War, and served as its director until January 2011.