Author Archives: Riad Al-Khouri

Mashreq enmeshed

Mashreq enmeshed

  The economy of the eastern Mediterranean went from being a unified whole under the Ottomans 100 years ago to increasing fragmentation in the Twentieth Century. This trend was especially apparent in 1950 when Lebanon and Syria broke off their customs union, and the latter proceeded to erect higher tariff barriers, eventually being emulated in

Diversifying Kurdistan

Iraqi Kurdistan’s continued over-reliance on oil wealth helps the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) dominate employment in the province by creating large numbers of unproductive city-based public sector jobs. Not diversifying away from oil thus leads to many short and long-term problems, but the irony is that Kurdistan — unlike some other economies in the Middle

Pirated intellect bedevils WTO

Lebanon first applied to join the World Trade Organization in 1999, but now, a decade later, the country’s accession is still not a done deal — a time lag far longer than with most other past or current applicants. At WTO meetings on Lebanon’s accession, an often raised issue is the state of intellectual property

Short of a sure bite to eat

For some countries in the region drought, high population growth and social tension will be an explosive combination over the long term. Add to that serious short-term concerns about nutrition and other crises that arise regarding problems of unsustainable development. An example of this was the food price jump of 2007 to 2008, which sent

Off the people, buy the people

The past year appears to have been a good one for Jordan; was the same true regarding the well-being of average Jordanians? On the positive side, the country continues opening up to the rest of the region and the world economy. This can be felt in the boardrooms of Amman — though to a lesser

Educated and out of work

Arab economies are experiencing a historic boom, but whether or not prosperity continues will depend on their ability to generate jobs for millions of young people seeking employment. In countries throughout the region, labor forces are growing at up to 4% annually, and Arab economies will have to create a total of around 60 million

Chary of the summer shop

The region’s rich are certainly getting richer, to the delight of the purveyors of luxury goods. As the jewelers of Paris and the watchmakers of Geneva will testify, the influx of rich Arabs into Western Europe each year turns the summer season into boom time; and the wealthy don’t care too much about the exchange

America reaps seeds it sows

Political scientists, along with other specialists as well as laypersons, have spent the last seven years grappling with the implications for international relations of the attacks of 11 September 2001 and their aftermath. The impact of 9/11 around the world, and on the Middle East in particular, has been enormous. The effects on development, democracy,

No menial task in Jordan

There is little doubt that reform over the past 15 years is helping Jordan to grow. The Jordanian economy has done especially well recently: Jordan’s real gross domestic product grew by 6.4% in 2006, while foreign and internal indebtedness fell last year to 73% of GDP, from 84% in 2005, and the deficit in the

Steps in the right direction

Damascus has taken yet another step to unpeg its currency from the US dollar by delinking the Syrian pound (SYP) from the greenback and replacing it as a foreign exchange anchor with the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The shift was partly due to Washington’s 2004 sanctions on Damascus, which

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