The captain peered over the side of the Turkish-flagged ship at his cargo of long metal rods that have come from Turkey and are headed to an unspecified Middle East country. The crew piled into a van at the Israel Shipyards, bound for the duty-free shop at the nearby Haifa port. On a recent afternoon, ships from all over the world were docked at this Mediterranean port, carrying goods bound for Jordan, Iraq and Syria.
The Middle East has radically changed in almost every way possible since the beginning of the “Arab spring” revolutions in 2011. In Syria, the main port of Latakia in northwest Syria has been shut down completely, meaning the goods that used to come from Turkey, Ukraine, and other countries to Syria, and then be transferred to trucks for delivery in Jordan and Iraq, need a new way to travel.