Syrians kill each other in the thousands. Iran is reeling from economic sanctions. Israeli diplomats are bombed in New Delhi. Oil prices spike despite surplus supply. Dozens of events across West Asia and the world are manifestations of an increasingly desperate struggle for mastery of the Muslim world.
West Asia has split into two large opposing camps. The division is outwardly Shia versus Sunni, but covertly it is about the geopolitical interests of three large Muslim countries — Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.But these great games are being played on a rapidly changing and unpredictable West Asian landscape. The most important shift has been the Arab Spring and the entry of new centres of power like Egypt. Another is a belief that the United States is starting to keep a distance from the region and that countries like India and China may seek greater involvement.
Few international journalists are present and conditions are difficult and dangerous. Reports of violence often comes via accounts posted on social networking sites, accompanied by grainy camera phone footage.
But based on detailed analysis of rebel and regime activity since October 2011, a map showing an assessment of the general situation on the ground has been produced by Washington-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Syrian Death Map
Via the Guardian:
The conflict in Syria continues to claim lives, over a year since the war started - especially in west of the country. This map, created for us by the team at CartoDB, uses data from Syrian Shuhada - also used by the UN - and each circle represents the number of people who died each day. The play button starts the calendar of deaths, which can be paused at any point
One of these online activists involved in “the media war” is curating a casualties database based on information from several websites that have already documented killings or casualties from direct sources. The “Syrian Revolution Martyr Database” (www.SyrianShuhada.com) currently collects detailed info and links to 22.601 deaths since March, 2011…
…The Vizzuality team worked on the visualization. The map is powered by CartoDB to manage and serve the timeseries data and uses d3.js for the animated datapoints and graph.
The man behind the Syrian Suhada database —who did not share his personal information— launched the project in early May 2011. He designed the website and back-end database, and populated it initially with the first available data on casualties. Currently a team of 2 curate the data contained on the site
Image: Screenshot, Syria conflict: a year of deaths mapped. Via The Guardian.
Middle East on the brink of war: analysis
As Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad clings to power with the quiet backing of regional powers Iran and Russia, the Middle East may be sliding slowly into war.
Squeezed between the rebellions of a bloody Arab Spring and growing fears of a possible military response to Iran’s growing nuclear threat, the region is becoming increasingly unstable.
“I would be very surprised if it turned into a Russian-American war, but this could be a Mid-East war: Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, Syria, Israel all having at each other,” said Jack Granatstein, military historian and senior research fellow at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.