There is a lot of fear in Fawzia Koofi’s life.
In the early 1990’s, most Arab countries, in order to foster growth and create sufficient employment opportunities, looked to transition from economies dominated by a bloated public sector to ones in which the private sector is the main driver of growth; from closed economies to competitive ones integrated in the global economy; and from oil- and gas-based economies to greater economic diversity.
The Saudi royal family’s current strategy of using co-optive and repressive techniques to hold onto power will not always be enough to limit the population’s calls for change.
CAMBRIDGE – Nowadays, International Monetary Fund missions come and go in the Middle East without reaching agreement. Meanwhile, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen are becoming increasingly polarized along political, social, and sectarian lines, gravely threatening their democratic future. With the looming prospect of failed states in Iraq and Syria, the international community cannot afford to stay on the sidelines any longer.
NEW DELHI – One of the most interesting aspects of the prolonged economic crisis in Europe, and of the even longer crisis in Japan, is the absence of serious social conflict – at least thus far. Yes, there have been strikes, marches, and growing anger at political leaders, but protests have been largely peaceful.
OXFORD – The wave of revolts that swept across the Arab world two years ago were fueled by demands for freedom, bread, and social justice. But, although the revolutions toppled dictators and transformed societies, these core objectives remain as distant as ever. In fact, the economic challenges facing the Arab Spring countries have become even more pressing, weighing heavily on these countries’ political prospects.
What is the status of the situation in Syria?
Syria's civil war continues unabated in early 2013 amid an enduring international deadlock over how to mediate the two-year-old conflict that has killed more than sixty thousand people and displaced some seven hundred thousand more, according to the United Nations. In recent weeks, the United States and its allies have expressed heightened concern over allegations of chemical weapons being used in clashes near Aleppo. If such use is confirmed, President Obama has said it would represent a "game-changer" in U.S. involvement in the civil war. The unrest has also proved a magnet for global jihadists, including al-Qaeda-linked groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, fighting for the establishment of an Islamist state.
Sometimes, it seems that all stories now connect to Qatar. Last week, it was David Beckham signing for the super-rich club Paris Saint-Germain, owned by the Qatar Investment Authority. Earlier last month, it was revealed that al-Jazeera, the hugely powerful Qatari broadcaster, was launching in America, where it was once known as "terror TV". Why has this tiny Gulf state – the richest country in the world per capita, largely thanks to natural gas – become so active, so attention-grabbing?
Americans are not alone in worrying that their economic futures are headed in the wrong direction. Afghans, too, fear that the next several years will bring a business tailspin that will see recent gains eked out by small and medium companies dissolve amid security woes and a sharp pullback in international largesse and, of course, foreign forces.
Iran is set for a second round of talks with international negotiators in Baghdad on May 23 on its nuclear program. Some experts and U.S. officials believe that recently imposed sanctions on the country's financial and oil industries are taking an economic toll and encouraging Iran to negotiate.
Last week, Egypt's interim government renewed negotiations with the IMF to secure a $3.2 billion loan to alleviate its liquidity crisis. The loan will come with conditions, and will only partially address the projected $11 billion in financing that Egypt will need over the next two years. Subsidies will be front and center in negotiations.
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