Longitude #57

February, 2016


Redrawing the Gulf

The Middle East's original sin
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

The Gulf region has become a powder keg as Saudi concerns over Shia expansionism keep growing. And yet, the Sauds now fear a very similar phenomenon to what originally brought them to the throne. 

The duelists: Saudi Arabia and Iran
Map by Marie Joveneau
Iran's reformist resurgence
by Shahram Bahadori

The Islamic Republic’s government involves a sophisticated system of checks and balances. President Rouhani has proved himself to be very adept at navigating the various forces at play and giving the country a more moderate line. 

A twin pillars strategy for the 21st century
by Eugenio D'Auria

The tensions in Saudi Arabia are more political than religious. Keeping this in mind, as well as paying attention to the lessons of history, could lead to the recognition that the Kingdom’s neighbors might be better viewed as competitors than enemies. 

The devil we know
by Stash Luczkiw

Ethnic cleansing as a viable solution to any geopolitical conflict is something nobody today can advocate.
But the ongoing war in Syria is forcibly shifting its demographics, leaving little alternative to partition. 

The Syrian puzzle
Map by Marie Joveneau

The Orientalist

The Arab Spring: five years on
by Ugo Tramballi

Five years ago the Arab world blew up, and the flames are still raging. What at first had been euphoria quickly turned to chaos.
What cannot be denied, though, is that the uprisings were the spark of an epochal change. 


Africa under attack
by Anna Bono

The new year bodes ill for African security, as Islamist terrorism has become a new normal. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that governments are either too weak or too corrupt to counter the growing jihad. 

Crude oil's downward slide

Cheap oil's winners and losers
by Stefano Cingolani

A new balance of power is emerging among the world’s biggest oil producers. As the price continues to decline, or merely hovers at their current levels, these countries will need to have their economies in order. 

The world of oil
Map by Marie Joveneau
Elbowing the frack out of the energy business
by Maurizio Stefanini

Lower oil prices have made extraction by means of fracking too expensive. As a result, many fledgling companies have gone bankrupt. Does this mean that fracking was just a flash in the pan? 

Pacific hegemony

Vying for Taiwan
by Fabrizio Franciosi

Beijing has always insisted that Taiwan is inseparable from mainland China. But for decades the Taiwanese have been under the protective wing of the United States.
As communist China’s power increases, Taipei is being pressed into a decision. 

Inside business

Leadership and innovation
by Hermann Simon, Danilo Zatta

Creating a friction-free culture of sharing that encourages collaboration with customers and ensures team continuity is the cornerstone of a new type of leadership, one which fosters innovation. 

Warming bloopers

Too hot for chocolate
by Carlo Clini

Climate change may soon be affecting the world’s most important chocolate- producing regions. Barring a concerted effort by farmers and producers to adapt,
the world’s chocolate lovers may face a dire situation in the not- so-distant future.