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  • Author: Christopher J. Bolan
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: It is worth approaching an assessment of the likely impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Middle East with a strong dose of humility. Nonetheless, it is clear that the spread of this disease has already had major impacts on the global economy, drastically reducing demand for Middle East oil exports, and leading to a historic collapse in oil prices. The immediate challenges of dealing with the monumental health and economic challenges posed by COVID-19 will add to the troubles of a region already burdened by multiple civil wars, poorly performing economies, growing civil discontent, and intensified sectarian divisions. This article offers a preliminary assessment of the potential impacts of COVID-19 on the security landscape of the Middle East and advances recommendations for how US military strategy and operations might adapt.
  • Topic: Security, Oil, Military Strategy, Economy, Exports, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Dan Gottlieb, Mordechai Kedar
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus crisis has exposed Arab and Islamic notions of fraternity, mutual commitment, and solidarity as hollow rhetorical slogans. Each country in the region is focused entirely on its own efforts to survive economically, socially, and politically as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Roie Yellinek
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: China and Iran have a close relationship, but Beijing’s influence over Tehran is questionable. Its response to the killing of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani offers clues to its view of its own role in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Economy, Political stability, Qassem Soleimani
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Iqtisadi, Paul Rivlin delves into the structural factors that led to protests and the overthrow of Sudan's longtime dictator, Omar al-Bashir, in 2019. This background along with more recent developments, explains why some of the leadership in Sudan today believe engagement with Israel makes good economic sense.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economy, Omar al-Bashir
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Iqtisadi, Paul Rivlin analyzes several of the key economic effects on the Middle East and North Africa caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden drop in oil prices.
  • Topic: Oil, Economy, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Joel Parker
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In our June issue of Iqtisadi, Joel D. Parker examines the connection between the economic crises in Lebanon and Syria in light of new sanctions imposed by the United States.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Economy, Syrian War, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Iqtisadi Paul Rivlin analyses the underlying factors in the economic problems facing Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, and highlights losses in personal income among the populations in these countries that have added fuel to social protests in recent months.
  • Topic: GDP, Economy, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Iran is still anticipating the various alternatives that the United States may utilize to address the Iranian escalatory behavior, during the coming period. Such actions may not be limited to the new sanctions imposed on September 20, 2019 that included the Central Bank of Iran, National Development Fund and Etemad Tejarat Pars. Arguably, the procedural steps planned by the Donald Trump's administration will substantially determine the possible alternatives for the Iranian reciprocal behavior/ which Iran may rely on.
  • Topic: Oil, Sanctions, Economy
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Paul Rivlin analyzes the problematic economic trends in the Middle East, which in part contributed to the 2011 Arab Spring. What has happened to the economies of the Middle East over the last decade? The last ten years have been ones of unprecedented drama because of the Arab Spring, its collapse and descent into war, and repression in most of the countries in which it occurred. This has obscured some very worrying underlying trends which were among the reasons why the Arab Spring occurred. The first is demographic pressure (See Table 1). The population of the Middle East has increased by nearly over 100 million, or 22 percent in the ten years preceding 2017. The population of the Arab states rose by 83 million or a quarter, while the three non-Arab states increased more slowly. Israel’s population rise was close to the Middle East average. Egypt, the largest Arab state in demographic terms, experienced a rise of 20 million or nearly 26 percent. These increases, which were among the fastest in the world, placed huge strains on the economies of the region. They required more food supplies in a region that is chronically short of water, investments in the infrastructure, and fast economic growth to generate jobs.
  • Topic: Economy, Arab Spring, Unemployment, Population Growth
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Paul Rivlin analyzes the economic challenges facing Tunisia, a country which many have claimed represents perhaps the sole success story of the 'Arab Spring.'
  • Topic: Poverty, Economy, Arab Spring, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Paul Rivlin analyzes the economic background of China's involvement in the Middle East. Several key questions arise with respect to China’s economic involvement in the Middle East: What are China’s interests in the Middle East? How far are they dominated by its energy needs? How are they affected by its relations with the United States?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Foreign Direct Investment, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Paul Rivlin analyzes the ongoing economic challenges faced by Ethiopia. A visit to Ethiopia provides food for thought for an economist who devotes much of his time to the Middle East. During the last twenty years, despite many problems and a very difficult historical legacy, Ethiopia has experienced rapid economic growth. It remains a very poor, landlocked country with few natural resources and faces serious internal political problems but is experiencing something rare: relatively good governance. This has made the difference that is currently boosting growth and reducing poverty levels. This edition examines the political and economic development of Ethiopia in recent decades. The June edition will analyze the relevance of its experience for other countries.
  • Topic: History, Economy, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Ethiopia
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Paul Rivlin analyzes the "Peace to Prosperity A New Vision for the Palestinian People and the Broader Middle East" plan, sometimes known as the "Deal of the Century," and the potential effects of the plan on the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Economy, Peace, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, United States of America, West Bank
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this edition of Iqtisadi, Paul Rivlin examines the "MENA Generation 2030" UNICEF report, and its implications. According to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) the population of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA: the Arab countries and Iran) will increase from 484 million in 2018 to 581 million in 2030 and 724 million in 2050.[1] (See Table 1) Between 2018 and 2030, the population is forecast rise by almost 1.7 percent annually and between 2030 and 2050 by just over 1.2 percent annually. By far the largest country demographically is Egypt, and its population is forecast to rise by almost 1.8 percent annually between 2018 and 2030 and by almost 1.4 percent annually between 2030 and 2050. This edition of Iqtisadi examines the report and its implications.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economy, Population Growth
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: Paul Rivlin examines the economic effects of the recent drone strikes carried out in Saudi Arabia by Iranian proxies. On 14 September, drones and/or missiles hit the Abqaiq processing facility in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil processing plant. In addition, fires engulfed the Khurais oil field after it was also hit. While there is uncertainty about where the attack came from, it is widely agreed that Iran was behind it. Iran, whose economy is suffering badly from the effects of sanctions as well as massive mismanagement, has used proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen against its enemies: Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US. The attacks on Saudi Arabia are among the most dramatic and economically significant in this war.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Drones, Economy, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In the new issue of Iqtisadi, Paul Rivlin examines the popular protests in Iraq during October 2019 from an economic angle. At the beginning of October, after days of riots in Baghdad, a nationwide curfew was imposed. The demonstrations were led by young men who claimed they have been denied job prospects by a system of state-sponsored corruption that reserved jobs to those with connections. This patronage network meant that ministries were run as fiefdoms, with revenues from services dispensed among patrons, who include senior officials and militias.[1] Protesters defied the curfews in parts of Iraq, taking to the streets in increasing numbers, while confrontations resulted in the death of over 250 people over the course of October.[2] As the country was paralyzed by anti-government demonstrations, the country’s most important Shiʿa cleric, Ayatollah ʿAli Sistani, issued a warning to both sides to end the violence “before it’s too late.”[3]
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Economy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In the current issue of Iqtisadi, Paul Rivlin discusses the economic conditions that led to the current protest movement in Lebanon, focusing on the origins and impact of the banking crisis and how it relates to the political system.
  • Topic: Politics, Financial Crisis, Economy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Paul Rivlin
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In our latest issue of Iqtisadi, Paul Rivlin discusses the effects of sanctions on the Iranian economy, and on its currency and governmental institutions, in particular.
  • Topic: Government, Sanctions, Economy, Currency
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Arthur Herman
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: There is certainly no denying that, in terms of trade and investment alone, the burgeoning economic partnership between Israel and China has at least the potential of transforming not only Israel itself but also Israel’s position vis-à-vis the rest of the Middle East—and most notably vis-à-vis Iran, which happens to be Beijing’s other key partner in the region. Inevitably, it could also have an impact on Israel’s relations with the United States. But is this a marriage made in heaven? Or is it something else? Weighing the answer to that question involves probing beneath the two countries’ currently successful dynamic of trade and commercial transactions to their respective geopolitical agendas. When it comes to Israel, the acknowledged junior partner, it also requires examining whether and how the relationship with China could become a dependency. Such a change might please Beijing, but it would impose on Israeli national security a new kind of vulnerability, one very different from the challenges it has faced successfully in the past.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, National Security, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkey has recently stepped up its economic presence in the cities of northern Syria, including Al-Bab, Jarablus, and Azaz, among others. Those cities are now controlled by the Syrian opposition with the assistance of the Turkish army through two military operations between 2016 and 2018 dubbed Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch. Turkey has worked to rehabilitate the basic services of electricity, education and health in these cities in cooperation with private Turkish companies, as well as promoting the export of various goods to these cities. Through its presence there, Turkey is aiming to achieve numerous goals in line with its vision towards the trajectories of the Syrian conflict, and its position, in the coming phase.
  • Topic: Economy, Conflict, Syrian War, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America