The Middle East

A monthly magazine of current events, trends, and news from the Middle East region. Articles cover economics, politics, and the relationship between the two in the region.

Articles from March

A New World of Choices: Saudi Arabian Airlines, Consistently the Region's Premier National Carrier, Has Recorded an Increase in Traffic despite the Overall Downturn in the Aviation Industry. (Business & Finance)
At a time when most of the world's airlines are complaining of a significant downturn in revenues, Saudi Arabian Airlines (SV) has announced an increase in passenger traffic during 2002. In the post 11 September 2001 world, international aviation suffered...
Charity Begins at Home. (the Last Word)
Over a year ago more than 600 non-United States nationals were shipped to the American naval base in Guantanamo Bay. Today, they languish there still. Classified as `unlawful combatants' they are denied prisoner of war status as defined by the Geneva...
Comment
The majority of people living in the Gulf feel that a US strike on Iraq--with or without the backing of UN--is now inevitable. Nobody in the region seems to want it to happen but Saddam Hussein's near neighbours feel the matter is out of their hands,...
Dubai Goes on the Rails; the Joint Pressures of a Growing Population and a Stretched Transport Infrastructure in the Municipality Have Combined to Force a Radical Rail Solution. (Business & Finance)
The Dubai municipality has opted to build a rapid rail transit system to cope with the rapidly growing travel demands over the next two decades as the population escalates. The ambitious programme was announced by the municipality at the International...
Europe: The Politics of Hate: Jews and Muslims Have Been the Victims of Racist Attacks in France. (Current Affairs)
France's internal race relations have come under the spotlight recently following a series of well-publicised anti-Semitic attacks at the beginning of the year. Both the Jewish and North African Muslim communities of France have been targeted recently,...
Israel: Post-Election Challenges: Winston Churchill's Caveat about "Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics" Notwithstanding, Which Figure Truly Epitomises the 28 January Election in Israel? (Current Affairs)
Likud nearly doubled its tally of seats from 19 to 37, and fully 400,000 voters switched to the party since the parliamentary poll of 1999 making Ariel Sharon the first Israeli Prime Minister to be re-elected in a decade. In short, Likud scored a stunning...
It's Not the Real Thing; a Newly Launched `Islamic' Soft Drink Is Cutting into US Profits but Is Mecca Cola Just a Fad or a Serious Contender for a Slice of the Lucrative Muslim Market? (Mosaic)
The 1.5-litre bottles are Palestinian green, with their labels printed in French as well as Arabic. "Not to be mixed with spirits," says a warning label. Just introduced in France by Tawfik Mathlouthi, the 46-year old founder of Mecca Cola doesn't...
Meanwhile in Kuwait. (Current Affairs)
As the world was buzzing with diplomatic activity--Iraq's games with weapons' inspectors and Washington's decision to turn the military heat on Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein--it was nail-biting time for the citizens of Kuwait, who had more reason...
Oman Benefits from Calm Waters; Oman's Port Development at Salalah Is Quietly Rising to Prominence in the Region. (Shipping)
Muscat has kept a low profile as the Middle East's political temperature has risen over the last 18 months, in keeping with the sultanate's policy of emphasising its stability. The government has been able to concentrate on progressing its economic...
Omanis Announce Electoral Reforms; Oman's Minister of Interior Has Announced a Series of Measures Which Will Make a Significant Contribution to Promoting Increased Democracy in the Sultanate. (Current Affairs)
Oman has taken an important step towards democracy with the introduction of a series of new voting measures that will allow Omanis to have an increased influence in the way their country is run. At a press conference held at the Muscat Press Club in...
On the Eve of War, Iraqis Turn to God; since 1980 Iraq Has Been a Country at War. Now the Happless Iraqi Nation Prepares for the Latest Onslaught. (News from Baghdad)
There are no doubts in Baghdad that a war will come. Stockpiling of foodstuff, digging of backyard wells, hoarding of medicines and the building of fences around residential areas and homes are but a few ways in which Iraqis are preparing for this...
Qatar: The Tiny Emirate of Qatar, Is on Track to Become the Gulf's New Super-Energy Power. (Economic Report)
The tiny emirate of Qatar, is on track to become the Gulf's new super-energy power joining the ranks of the world's major liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers and exporters within the next three to five years. Qatar, under the guidance of the Emir,...
Saudi Arabia: Mining on Two Fronts: The State-Owned Saudi Arabian Mining Company, Ma'aden, Will Play a Vital Part in Aiding the Kingdom's Diversification Goals. (Business & Finance)
Efforts to diversify the Saudi economy have run up against a multitude of problems: the lack of alternatives, the more attractive investment opportunities available in the oil and gas sector and the lack of domestic expertise. Yet the government has...
Tapping into Libyan Resources: After Years in the Doldrums, Foreign Investment in Libya Is Poised for Take off and, Ironically, the Internationally Much Maligned Great Man Made River Project Will Provide the Launch Pad for This Renewed Economic Activity. (Water)
Libya has not been a favourite destination for foreign investment for many years. The country's policies of tight economic control, coupled with Tripoli's reputation as a staunch opponent of the West and a rather Byzantine bureaucracy, excluded even...
Tehran's Man in London: Golnar Motevalli Talked to the Iranian Ambassador to the UK, HE Morteza Sarmadi. (Interview)
Given the impending attack on Iraq, much of the international community is keeping a wary eye on the country's neighbours and the degree of support (or lack of) they might expect should a US attack go ahead. Iran is very much at the forefront of these...
The $50 Billion Arms Bazaar: The Countries of the Middle East Region Are Spending Billions of Dollars on Purchasing Arms with Individual Governments Investing Vast Sums of Money to Build Their Military Capabilities. (Business & Finance)(Cover Story)
This year, Arab governments in the Middle East and North Africa are expected to spend a staggering $50bn on their military forces. While a portion will pay wages of soldiers and officers, much of that money will be used to purchase complex, high tech...
The Changing Face of Iran: Society Things Are Changing in Iran Economically and Socially but Not Quickly Enough for Some of the under 30 Year-Olds Who Make Up More Than Two-Thirds of the Population of the Islamic Republic. (Mosaic)
With 69% of Iran's population under the age of 30, the traditional, Islamic parliamentary elites are acutely aware of the potential political dynamism of these upcoming generations. Most young and educated Iranians are keen to emulate western fashions,...
The Road Show Rolls on. (Current Affairs)
In the face of all opposition US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair continue to lobby and cajole international political players into accepting the rightness of their cause. It wasn't just the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein...
Turkey: Is the Honeymoon over? after Being Greeted with Mild Euphoria by Turkey's Usually Hard-Headed Financial Markets Last November, It Seems the Honeymoon Has Now Ended for the Country's New Justice and Development Party (AKP) Government (Current Affairs)
After a landslide victory by the AKP in the 3 November general election, which left Turkey with its first single party government in years, markets soared. The softer than soft Turkish currency, the lira, also showed an impressive performance against...
Water, Water Everywhere ... despite Their Rich Literary Culture Few Arabs Are Able or Willing to Make Reading a Part of Their Everyday Lives, Regional Publishers Complain. (Mosaic)
Arabic may be the one of the worlds oldest and richest extant languages, but few Arabs are reading its modern literature, writers and publishers say. With literacy rates varying between 40% for Mauritania and a high of 85% in Lebanon, roughly 40%...
What OPEC Did Next ...: In the Face of Rising Concern over Conflict in Iraq and the Troubles in Venezuela, What Will the 10 Member Cartel Pull out of the Hat to Calm the Troubled Oil Market This Time? (Oil)
With the oil price remaining stubbornly above the $30 a barrel mark, oil cartel OPEC decided in January to increase its total production quota by 1.5m barrels a day (b/d). The OPEC ceiling was therefore increased from 23m b/d to 24.5m b/d with effect...
Yemen: The Stakes Are Higher; in the Last Few Months Instability in Yemen Has Increased, Reaching the Highest Levels since the Civil War in 1994. (Current Affairs)
The British and US governments recently issued stern warnings to their citizens against travelling to Yemen. The US State Department advised Americans that terrorists linked to Al Qaeda have plans to strike US interests, while the British government...