“Do You Know Who Governs Us? The Damned Monetary Fund”

Jordan’s June 2018 Rising

by Sara Ababneh | published June 30, 2018

From May 30 to June 7, 2018 Jordanian protesters took the world by surprise. What had started as protests over a taxation draft law and an increase in gas prices quickly led to a popular rising against the neoliberal path on which the state has embarked. The rejection of neoliberal economic policy and the privatization of key national industries are not new to Jordan. But the centrality in which this analysis featured in the events of June’s rising (habbit [1] huzayran) is unprecedented. In the past, protests against the government’s economic nahj (path) were most strongly felt in workers’ circles, the governorates outside Amman and a few impoverished quarters inside the capital.

Financial Citizenship and the Hidden Crisis of the Working Class in the “New Turkey”

by Basak Kus
published in MER278

Substantial political, economic and social changes have taken place in Turkey since the early 2000s. Much of this transformation has happened on the watch of the Justice and Development Party (best known by its Turkish acronym, AKP), which has been in power since 2002. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, founder of the party and president of the country since 2014, has proclaimed several times that the old Turkey is no more and a new Turkey has taken its place.

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Egypt's Debt Problem

by Joe Stork
published in MER107

Egypt’s external debt—the sums owed to other governments, private multinational banks and multilateral agencies like the World Bank—increased on an average of 28 percent per year under Anwar al-Sadat, compared to 13 percent over the previous ten years. Sadat’s decade also witnessed important shifts in the origin and structure of this debt, in a manner that paralleled—and to a large extent financed—Egypt’s political reorientation.

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Sadat's Legacy, Mubarak's Dilemma

by Roger Owen
published in MER117

For most countries in the Arab oil economy, the years 1982 and 1983 have marked an important moment of truth. The most obvious reason for this has been the decline in oil revenues as a result of falling world demand, cuts in production and the failure to hold the OPEC base price at $34 a barrel. As far as the Arab states of the Gulf are concerned, this has meant a reduction in oil revenues from $164.3 billion in 1981 to $111 billion in 1982, while most forecasts for 1983 indicate a further fall to well under $100 billion. [1] One major consequence has been the cancellation or postponement of a number of major projects; in the case of Saudi Arabia, government expenditure has been cut from $91 billion in the 1982/3 budget to $75 billion for 1983-1984.

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International Finance and the Third World

by Jeff Frieden
published in MER117

The foreign debt of the less developed countries (LDCs) of the Third World now stands at around $600 billion. More than half of this—about $350 billion—is owed to private international banks. Events like the strikes and demonstrations in Brazil this summer, or the labor unrest that triggered the military coup in Turkey in 1980, demonstrate the critical relationship of the foreign bank debt to political developments within the LDCs themselves. The crisis, however, is not confined to the debtor countries alone.

Editor's Bookshelf

by Joel Beinin
published in MER168

Egypt has been central to providing an Arab cover for the US-led military expedition to the Persian Gulf, in addition to Saudi Arabia. As of December 1990, Egypt’s 15-20,000 troops constituted the third largest force confronting Iraq, after the United States and Saudi Arabia itself. Joint military exercises during the 1980s prepared the way for this US-Egyptian military cooperation, whose value is more symbolic than substantial. In The United States and Egypt: An Essay on Policy for the 1990s (Brookings, 1990), William Quandt surveys the development of the US-Egyptian relationship since the early 1970s, examines the strains it may experience in the 1990s and offers some recommendations to policymakers responsible for managing them.

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Scuds versus Butter

The Political Economy of Arms Control in the Arab World

by Yahya Sadowski
published in MER177

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From the Editors

published in MER190

The question of population and development needs to be framed first and foremost as a question of equity. The articles in this issue address explicitly the matter of gender equity in families and societies, in ways that challenge the notion that Middle Eastern birth and fertility rates can be neatly attributed to Islam and Muslim cultures. Beyond this, we insist that the underlying theme is resource equity. As Philippe Fargues notes, the so-called demographic crisis in many Middle Eastern societies today is a social crisis, arising from the demand for more equitable access to jobs, schooling, housing and health care.

No Jubilee for the Middle East?

by Robert Naiman
published in MER213

The website of Jubilee 2000-United Kingdom lists 57 countries that have Jubilee 2000 campaigns for the cancellation of the unpayable debt of the poorest countries by the year 2000. [1] No country from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) appears on this list. [2]

A Clean Slate in Iraq

From Debt to Development

by Justin Alexander , Colin Rowat
published in MER228

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