Between the shale revolution and Iraq’s ramping up of oil production, the Middle East is facing a new balance of power among producers. Whatever happens, though, Middle Eastern oil will remain a key factor in global security.
Newly discovered gas fields spanning countries that have long been in conflict with each other risk reigniting tensions. But a smart policy could leverage the gas into cooperation as well as energy security.
The upheavals in North Africa have severely curtailed economic productivity. As the nations edge more toward Islamic order, with its emphasis on social justice and sharia compliance in economic activity, their material wellbeing may hang in the balance.
Iran’s recent subsidy reform has been hailed by some analysts as a major success. While this may be the case in the short term, it will also increase Iran’s vulnerability not only to external pressures, but also to an ongoing internal power struggle.
A disaffected youth bulge reeling from unemployment has been the driving force of the Arab Spring. But the way governments have begun tackling the issues of jobs and education might only be fueling the fire in the long run.
After years of turmoil that led to the collapse of its infrastructure, Iraq is finally beginning to live up to its oil-producing potential. The boon should also ease ethnic tensions with the Kurds.
Ironically, much of the recent strife has been the fruit of past economic reforms. Whoever now gains power will have to build on them.
Turkey’s growing regional economic role simply cannot be ignored. But is its growth sustainable?