How Israel Gets Its Credit Rating

by Fareed Mohamedi
published in MER175

A “C” rating from the US government credit evaluators, coming after Washington has held up the $10 billion loan guarantee for more than four months, must come as something of a shock for Israel. Only last September Jacob Frenkel, governor of the Bank of Israel, told the Financial Times that a “good borrower like Israel” needed the loan guarantees to “go to the marketplace with an implicit vote of confidence in the economy, its prospects, and in the economic strategy that it has.”

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Halliday, Revolution and Foreign Policy

by Sheila Carapico
published in MER179

Fred Halliday, Revolution and Foreign Policy: The Case of South Yemen, 1967-1987 (Cambridge, 1990).

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Contested Space

Urban Settlement Around Amman

by Omar Razzaz
published in MER181

Dispossession, displacement, migration and precarious living conditions are intimately connected phenomena. Lines of causality run in every direction. Those enduring such conditions, in their determination to establish some roots and some sense of community, somewhere, often find themselves in violation of the “laws of the land.” They are in overcrowded quarters violating some rule about density in substandard housing violating some housing code, on agricultural land violating land use regulations, or on land legally claimed by others.

Migrants, Workers and Refugees

The Political Economy of Population Movements in the Middle East

by Michael Humphrey
published in MER181

The outset of the Gulf crisis in August 1990 saw a dramatic exodus of more than a million Asian and Arab workers as well as some 460,000 Kuwaitis from Iraq and Kuwait. Perhaps a million Yemenis felt compelled to leave Saudi Arabia. During the civil war in Iraq that followed the ground war, a million and a half Iraqi Kurds and tens of thousands of Iraqi Arabs in the southern part of the country fled to Turkey or Iran, or were displaced within Iraq’s own borders.

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Studies of Structural Adjustment

by Marsha Pripstein Posusney
published in MER184

Bent Hansen, Egypt and Turkey: The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity and Growth (World Bank, 1991).

Heba Handoussa and Gilliam Potter, eds. Employment and Structural Adjustment: Egypt in the 1990s (AUC, 1991).

Mustafa Kamil al-Sayyid, “Privatization: The Egyptian Debate,” Cairo Papers in Social Science 13/4 (Winter 1990).

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The Economic Dimension of Yemeni Unity

by Sheila Carapico
published in MER184

To the outside world, the unification of the two Yemens in 1990 resembled the German experience in miniature. North Yemen (the Yemen Arab Republic, YAR) was considered a laissez faire market economy, whereas the South (the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, PDRY) was “the communist one.” When, weeks ahead of Bonn and Berlin, Sanaa and Aden announced their union, Western commentary assumed that in Yemen, as in Germany, capitalist (Northern) firms would buy out the moribund (Southern) state sector and provide the basis for future economic growth.

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Global Economic Integration

The Missing Middle East

by Doug Henwood
published in MER184

Conventional definitions imagine world trade as taking places among nations -- international trade, it is called. Convention also holds that everyone is best off when such trade is carried on as freely as possible. Neither the definition nor the polemic of free traders has changed much, except for a pseudo-scientific overlay of mathematics, since David Ricardo laid it out in 1817. But the world has changed some in the last 176 years.

Chips and satellites are part of that change, of course, but so is the spread of a social institution, the multinational corporation. Some figures from a 1992 World Bank report make this point well. After noting that multinationals had shifted “labor-intensive stages of production” to Third World states, the report continued:

A New Post-Cold War System?

The Middle East in a Realigned World

by Roger Owen
published in MER184

There was a short period, just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the shape of the emerging post-Cold war system seemed quite clear. The disintegration of the Eastern Bloc would be complemented by further economic and political integration of Western Europe according to the Maastricht Treaty timetable. Other new blocs, like the North American Free Trade Area, were in the making. The whole system was to be regulated by a US-dominated order based on such international institutions as the UN Security Council, the World Bank and a revised General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

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From the Editors

published in MER184

In this issue we consider “new orders” in several senses -- orders of hierarchy, orders of magnitude and marching orders. Ray Hinnebusch succinctly notes the underlying theme: the struggle of capital to dominate labor, internationally via the IMF’s “liberalization” leverage and locally (in this case, the Egyptian countryside) via the regime’s deference to the interests of Egypt’s propertied classes.