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 No. 384, December

A Financial Wind of Change
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] THE 20 SEPTEMBER offer by Borse Dubai to acquire a 19.9% stake in Nasdaq has raised questions about American interests in the age of global terrorism, much like the 2006 ill-fated Dubai Ports Authority's failed takeover of...
Caramel
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] CARAMEL IS THE first feature film from Lebanese actress/ director Nadine Labaki. As its title suggests, the film is a sweet-hearted confection, a kaleidoscopic look at the lives and loves of five women working in a Beirut...
Civilians in the Line of Fire
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] AFTER SEVERAL MONTHS of relative quiet in the Gaza Strip, following serious infighting between Fatah and Hamas gunmen in June, clashes again broke out in October, leaving seven Palestinians dead and dozens wounded. The...
Closing the Gap in the Middle East
IT IS OFTEN argued that statistics can be used to prove anything and this year's survey of the Top 100 Companies in the Middle East is a case in point. The combined market capitalisation of the top three companies in this year's table is massively...
Comment
I don't claim to have the ear of presidents or prime ministers, but I don't need them to know there is trouble brewing with Iran. I remain pretty confident that, even if George Bush is right about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's aspirations to build...
Democracy at Our Own Pace: Oman's Majlis A'Shura Elections Returned Some Surprising Results When Possibly the Most Female Friendly State in the Gulf Returned No Women Candidates to the Consultative Council. PAT LANCASTER Reports from the Sultanate
DISAPPOINTING BUT DEMOCRATIC, was a popular response by Omani women questioned on how they viewed the results of the Majlis A'Shura Council elections held across the Sultanate in late October, when not a single woman candidate was elected to the Council...
Dollar Slide: Is the Gulf Ready to Cut Loose? No Doubt about It, the Dollar Is in Trouble and Things Look Set to Get Worse before They Get Better. with Oil Prices Standing at $90+ a Barrel, the Coffers of Oil-Producing States Are Bulging, but in Real Terms the Scenario Is Giving Rise to Serious and Widespread Concern
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] AS THE US dollar continued its sharp decline this autumn, investors around the world were waiting to see if the US Federal Reserve would act further to halt the slide and help curb the resulting big rises in the euro, sterling,...
Football for Peace
AT A TIME of little optimism over any sort of Palestinian-Israeli peace deal any time soon, there is a faint twinkling of hope on the horizon in the shape of a scheme that began back in 2001. The aim of the scheme was to see if a sport-based coexistence...
Foreign Direct Investment into ME & MENA Regions Soar by over 50%: The Arab World Stretching from Morocco to Oman Is Becoming More Integrated into the Global Economy and Is Competing for a Larger Share of Foreign Investment by Multinational Corporations. This Trend Will Have a Favourable Impact on Economic Growth and Job Creation, Especially in Countries Lacking Natural Resources. Researched and Written by Investment Analyst MOIN SIDDIQI
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IN 2006, FOREIGN direct investment (FDI) flows to the Middle East and North Africa or MENA region of 19 economies (including the crisis-hit Palestinian Territory) grew by 51%, to an unprecedented $79,685m, making the fourth...
Light at the End of the Tunnel: After the Sound of Fury of Turkey's European Union Woes Last Year, the Partial Suspension of the Country's Membership Talks Has in Fact Caused Little Upset to Its Financial Markets and Economic Performance, as Jon Gorvett Reports from Istanbul
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] THIS SMOOTH RUNNING shows some underlying strengths--as well as some good preparations by the country's investors. Yet Turkey is by no means out of the woods yet, with a year of political uncertainty ahead as both presidential...
Once More a Nation: The Newly Independent Nation of Montenegro, Where Muslims Constitute More Than 4% of the Population, Will Be Looking towards the Middle East and Its Arab Investors to Propel It into a New Era of Prosperity
ON 22 OCTOBER, Skupstina Republike Crne Gore (Montenegro's 81 seat parliament) approved a new constitution ratifying its week-old status as the world's newest independent nation with 685,000 inhabitants, its own stamps, flag, head of state, border-guard,...
Our Daily Bread
IT IS SAID that some people 'live to eat', while others 'eat to live'. Average Egyptians, accustomed to parsimony in everything, belong to the latter category. Each city block in Cairo hosts several grocery stores, but their shelves are stocked with...
Putin Visit Exposes Deep Divisions in Tehran: Putin Is Preparing Russia to Exploit the Rising Energy Shortages of the 21st Century by Becoming the World's Principal Hydro-Carbon and Nuclear Fuel Supplier
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] A VISIT TO TEHRAN by President Vladimir Putin of Russia threw the political elite of Iran into turmoil, when Putin used the occasion to go over the head of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad--his host at a regional conference--by...
Taking the LNG Road: The Efforts of Gulf Governments to Diversify Their Economies Are Almost as Well Documented as Their Oil Wealth. Yet While Attempts to Promote the Growth of New Sectors Have Not Recorded Unparalleled Success, the Drive towards Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Development Has Proved More Fruitful
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] THE GROWING IMPORTANCE of the LNG sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is, in part, the result of its proximity to the oil sector. It too relies on hydrocarbon reserves, enabling producing states to make the most...
The Last Word
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IN NOVEMBER, ON THE very spot where Howard Carter and Lord Caernarvon stood 85 years earlier to announce their stunning discovery of the intact tomb of Tutankhamun, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Board of...
The Long Road to Nowhere: MEL FRYKBERG Reports from the Occupied Territories
THE YAWNING CHASM between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams during discussions held last month in Jerusalem, as a prelude to this month's Middle East peace conference to be held in Annapolis in the US, was clearly evident. Indeed, the only...
The Oman Experience
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In the West, during the cold winter months, those seeking sunnier climes are drawn towards travel books and brochures to plan where to head for some restorative sunshine. Traditionally, the 'biggest' holidays were taken...
Third Generation Drama
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] TURKEY'S LEADING MOBILE operator received something of a blow earlier this year, following the cancellation in September of its successful bid for an A-type third generation (3G) mobile phone licence--the greatest bandwidth...
Turning the Tables: The United States Has Recruited 50,000 Iraqi Sunnis Who Quit the Insurgency to Fight Al Qaeda, but the Strategy Could Backfire
[ILLUSTRATIONS OMITTED] AN AL QAEDA suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque in Baiji, an oil refinery town in Iraq's Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad, on 8 October, killing at least 10 people. But the man he wanted to kill survived. Sheikh...
What Tony Did Next
WHEN TONY BLAIR formally announced he would be stepping down as prime minister of the United Kingdom, speculation as to what his new career would be began. Mortgage debt running into the millions of pounds led most to assume he would join the lucrative...