Hangover Time in the Gulf

by Ghassan Salameh
published in MER139

After a decade of soaring revenues and frenetic spending, the six “Eldorado” states of the Gulf (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates—the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council) are now in a tight economic and financial squeeze. Experts and analysts in the Gulf and around the world are feverishly studying the consequences of this new phase, including its political implications. Symptoms which began to show up back in 1982 are now quite apparent in the litanies of international experts and the lives of the countries’ six million immigrant workers.

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Oil Politics in the Arab World

by Michael Renner
published in MER141


Giacomo Luciani, The Oil Companies and the Arab World (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1984).

Yusif Sayigh, Arab Oil Policies in the 1970s (London: Croom Helm, 1983).

Abdulaziz al-Sowayegh, Arab Petro-Politics (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984).

David Howdon, ed., The Energy Crisis Ten Years After (London: Croom Helm, 1984).


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Oil Find Could Alter YAR-Saudi Relations

by Joe Stork
published in MER130

In July 1984, the Hunt Oil Company announced it had struck oil in the Yemen Arab Republic. Tests so far suggest that the field will produce a minimum of 75,000 barrels per day (b/d). This would be the threshold for commercial exploitation, given the field’s location nearly 500 kilometers inland and separation from the coast by a 10,000 foot high mountain range. By some estimates, the field has a potential of 300,000 b/d, a considerable margin for export over North Yemen’s present consumption of 17,000 b/d.

Prospects for the Gulf

by Joe Stork
published in MER132

All of the small Arab states of the Persian Gulf are now well into their second decade as independent political entities. Bahrain, Qatar and the seven principalities making up the United Arab Emirates became independent in 1971. Kuwait’s independence goes back another decade. Oman, though never a colony, traces its present regime to the British-induced palace coup of 1970. Whether because of or in spite of the startling explosion of wealth in the 1970s, because of or in spite of the fall of the shah and the war between Iran and Iraq, they have survived as states and their regimes have displayed unanticipated continuity. The turbulence of the 1970s roared around them, as around the eye of a storm.

Libya's Revolution Revisited

by Dirk Vandewalle
published in MER143

When the United States sent its warplanes to bomb Libya last spring, a first and then a second invasion of Western journalists descended upon the country. With the media in box seats, the scenario conjured up visions of the 1830 French invasion of Algiers, when well-heeled citizens of the Republic hired luxury liners to observe the military proceedings first hand.

Rewiring a State

The Techno-Politics of Electricity in the CPA's Iraq

by Nida Alahmad
published in MER266

The Coalition Provisional Authority, the US-British body that briefly ruled in Baghdad from May 2003 to June 2004, had grand ambitions for Iraq. The idea was to transform the country completely from what was basically a command economy (notwithstanding liberalization measures in the 1990s) into an open market and from a dictatorship into a liberal democracy. The radical nature of these plans and orders, coupled with the CPA’s swift dissolution, has led many to dismiss the body as a hasty and ill-conceived imperial experiment. Indeed it was -- and a destructive one as well. But the CPA period still deserves serious examination. It was the only time when the US, in its capacity as occupier, was in charge of Iraq administratively and legally.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER266

“The Iraq war is largely about oil,” wrote Alan Greenspan in his memoir The Age of Turbulence (2007). “I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows.” It may indeed be self-evident that the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, as the former Federal Reserve chairman says, because of oil. But what does this proposition mean? The answer is not so obvious.

US-Arab Economic Trends in the Reagan Period

by Fred H. Lawson
published in MER155

US economic relations with the Arab states have entered a new phase in the last two years, one that reproduces many of the features that characterized the end of the Carter administration. US exports to the region rose by about 13 percent from 1986 to 1987 with shipments to Iraq, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates accounting for most of the increase. But this was more than offset as US imports from the region jumped some 35 percent, largely due to greater imports of crude petroleum. As a result, by the end of 1987 the US trade deficit, which had stood at $179 million the previous year, totalled more than $2.1 billion. Only a doubling in the value of American military sales to the region prevented this figure from ending up even higher.

Embracing Crisis in the Gulf

by Toby Jones
published in MER264

All claims to the contrary, the Persian Gulf monarchies have been deeply affected by the Arab revolutionary ferment of 2011-2012. Bahrain may be the only country to experience its own sustained upheaval, but the impact has also been felt elsewhere. Demands for a more participatory politics are on the rise, as are calls for the protection of rights and formations of various types of civic and political organization. Although these demands are not new, they are louder than before, including where the price of dissent is highest in Saudi Arabia, Oman and even the usually hushed United Arab Emirates. The resilience of a broad range of activists in denouncing autocracy and discomfiting autocrats is inspirational.

The Illegal Oil Trade Along Turkey's Borders

by Firat Bozcali
published in MER261

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