Author Archives: Riad Al-Khouri

Don’t write John Kerry off yet

As continued troubles roil the Middle East, the need for action to stabilize the region economically becomes more urgent. Since 2011, in much of the Arab world a lack of stability has created a vicious circle of weaker economies and political unrest that is becoming tougher to handle through normal policy measures. Of course, many

Palestine’s hope

Away from the geostrategic dramas playing out in the Middle East these days, some Arab-Israelis are seeing quiet progress. The community’s latest success came in late April when Nazareth, Israel’s largest Arab city, opened its first industrial park. Set up by Israeli billionaire Stef Wertheimer — who has built several such projects elsewhere — and

Jordan’s economy could benefit from Palestine confederation

With US Secretary of State John Kerry back in the Middle East this week, new ideas are being touted to revive the Arab-Israeli peace process – with a confederation between Jordan and an independent Palestine among those getting traffic. While it is deeply controversial and unpopular with much of the political classes in both Jordan

Jordan’s electric problems

Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour's incoming government last week won a vote of confidence in Parliament, securing the approval of 82 out of the Lower House’s 150 deputies. To most observers, the outcome was never in doubt, but, as an ally of the United States, Jordan’s political process must be presented in fairly glowing terms

China moves for Iraq’s black stuff

Since the American engagement in Iraq was downsized, other countries have continued to gain higher profiles there, and Iraq’s economic allegiances — and its resources — are being wooed by powers whose interests are in competition with those of the United States. Nothing demonstrates this change more dramatically than the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp

Jordan’s apolitical new parliament

As violence continued in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and elsewhere in the region last week, Jordan managed to hold boringly quiet elections for the kingdom's 17th Lower House of Parliament. These came out as expected, with most of the winning candidates being non-ideological and representing clans. While the king was allegedly seeking a new approach to

Reaching beyond Iraq

In a region marred by old conflicts and new social unrest, semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan seems to be sitting rather pretty. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is clocking strong growth in gross domestic product per capita (now well over $5,000) in an atmosphere of relative stability. Kurdish opposition protests against the KRG, which were attracting global

The Kurdish triangle

Almost 20 months into the Syrian crisis, a heady mixture of Arab, Turkish, and Kurdish nationalisms are adding another level of complexity to confusion. Consider the following emerging triangular strategic relations between Turkey and the region’s Kurds. The Turkish government loves the folks in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan province, but hates some of their kin in

Israel’s preference for Arab oppression

    The drastic changes in Egypt, and the unrest throughout the region, have left Israel with a new sense of strategic vulnerability. Though the Egyptian military says that Cairo will respect existing international treaties, alarm in Israel over the fate of the 1978 Camp David accords is evident. Israel has not been in a

Of politics and profits

Iran and Turkey’s respective economic involvement in the Middle East continues to grow, but as is so often the case in our region, business is becoming mixed up with politics. A good example of this is Tehran’s relations with the United Arab Emirates, home to about half a million Iranians and one of Iran’s largest