The future of the Middle East

Two politicians shake hands with Egyptian and Sudanese flags in the background The Middle East will always be subject to changes in geography (that's the nature of the region) and foreign intervention – usually on a country basis- has often led to these changes. What will happen over the next few years? It may be that the region changes geographica...
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Put a stop to human trafficking

Thirty-nine people were killed, all of whom were Vietnamese, in a refrigerated container discovered in Grays, Essex, South East England. It's a sad story. The victims, some of whom were teenagers, suffocated to death. They were from provinces in Northern and Central Vietnam- Ha Tinh and Nghe Provinces to be exact. I have been living in a neighbouri...
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The future of Lebanon and Iran's role in it

The resignation of Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri has caused new turmoil for the country. The new government will have to form a coalition. Is that possible? The protestors have been on the streets for 13 days and have demanded an overhaul of the ruling class and an end to corruption. At the same time, Lebanon is battling with a hugely indebt...
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The future of IS following the death of Al- Baghdadi

While many things are driving events in the Middle East, chief among them is the alleged death of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the IS leader, by the US. He reportedly killed himself after running into a dead-end tunnel during a military raid in north west Syria. He detonated an explosive vest, killing himself and three of his children. What happens next? ...
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Lebanon's protests and the debt crisis

For years, Lebanon has been a hotbed of dissenting views and religions. With about 20 religions this is not surprising. Indeed, since 1943 the government is organized along religious lines, giving everyone a say. The President must be a Maronite Christian and the Speaker of Parliament must be a Shi'a Muslim. The Prime Minister must be a Sunni Musli...
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Why Saudi Aramco's IPO looks doomed to fail

The expectation of high oil prices has been allowing Gulf Arab states- particularly in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait- to undertake large infrastructure projects and for locals to live comfortably, often with subsidized utility bills and the granting of land by the rulers for local males. For this to continue, crude oil prices have to remain ove...
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Are you only as old as you feel?

What constitutes "old" is an issue that plagues all societies, including the Middle East. I'm reading an article in one of New Zealand's online papers that says older women are over 30. This article asks some key questions about the issue.  I wrote this article for Behavioural Shift (www.BehaviouralShift.com).​ How old is "old"? Is it when som...
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NZ Superfund performs well in annual report

Key items of interest include: The NZ Superfund has delivered its annual report and the results are good. Here is a summary: - On pages 40 – 41, we delve into the factors driving the recent shifts in the economic and investment environment: "It has been a fascinating 12 months for investment markets with two dominant drivers through 2018: central b...
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UAE buyers still seek London property despite Brexit

While the British might be reeling from the fall in sterling and the fact that overseas holidays are more expensive, some foreigners like the Emiratis are viewing the Brexit chaos as an opportunity to buy into the property market in Central London. The current Brexit fiasco has resulted in a 25% discount on some property. This is how Arabian Busine...
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Fury over KSA's 100% shisha tax

I was curious to read this in Dubai-based "Arabian Business" , a weekly magazine, although not surprised. Smoking shisha is a common past time in all the Gulf Arab countries. Often shisha is smoked instead of drinking alcohol. Therefore, to tax shisha at 100%, on top of the 5% sales tax already introduced, is hefty and it has not gone well in Saudi...
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Progress seen in French initiative for US-Iran talks

The on-going tensions between Iran, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the West (the US in particular) are likely to come to a head soon. Trying to negotiate a truce between the parties is France and Emmanuel Macron in particular. This article explains what is happening. 'The only game in town': Progress seen in French initiative for US-Iran talks Laura Roz...
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The growth of online education courses

When it comes to education, people are taking matters into their own hands. Technology and a changing global economy are facilitating this. As a consequence, the 40-year career is gone, replaced by life-long learning and diverse career paths. Learners are molding education into what they need for today's work world, which means 'bite-sized' learnin...
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Perception versus reality: how does this affect age?

Perception is so often different from reality. And nowhere more so than Dubai. The perception is that Dubai is the best place in the world; the reality is that it is not. Everyone thinks that life can't get any better but when you leave to some parts of the world things life does get better. Perception and reality-as it relates to the mature person...
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Yemen's war is becoming more complex

The war is Yemen is not only complex but also disastrous. Some of the parties involved in it, in particular the UAE, are changing their position. The UAE is now attacking Yemen's national army, a presence it was meant to support. Yemen is complicated even without a war but when there is a war and one of the parties is inconsistent in its position t...
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Kuwait and Saudi Arabia at odds over Palestine

The animosity between Palestine and Israel has been made worse by the recent declaration by the US that there is not a two-state solution in its peace plan. Saudi Arabia is sticking with its ally, the US- for now at least. That means it's now arresting Hamas-aligned people in the country, such as Mohammed Al-Khodari, who has been residing in Saudi ...
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The US and Lebanon's currency

Amidst all that is happening in the Middle East, one of the countries that is often forgotten is Lebanon- yet it is affected by all that is happening around it. For example, the Syrian war has meant millions of refugees flooding into Lebanon. Volatility too is impacting Lebanon's currency. Here Sam Brennan, from Al Monitor, explains. BEIRUT — Leban...
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What is the future for Syrian refugees in Lebanon?

A great deal continues to happen in the Middle East- from the attacks on Saudi oil production facilities, and on-going tensions with Iran to the Israeli election, where Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have lost but may yet be able to form a coalition, which he failed to do in April. It's a wait and see situation. But instead of looking at any of thes...
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Is Netanyahu losing his magic?

A great deal seems to be going on in the Middle East, from the failure of the Egyptian government to put its state-owned assets up to an open bid; to Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US's increasing likelihood of entering into a bloody war and the failure of Benjamin Netanyahu to win an overall majority in the Israeli elections. The outcome of the latter...
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Will Netanyahu form a coalition and will there be war in the Middle East?

The Israeli election re-run is one of the main issues in the Middle East. The other is the blowing up of two Saudi Arabian oil production plants allegedly by Iran. From an outsider's viewpoint it seems that events are coming together so that there will be war in the Middle East. If Benjamin Netanyahu manages to form a coalition- he failed to do so ...
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Sheikh Mohammed: Dubai has become the 'Silicon Valley' of the Middle East

Arriving in Dubai in 2005, I was asked to write an article on the topic: "Is Dubai built on sand?". Clearly, it is but I argued that the sand was solid. Given that the emirate was focused on real estate, in an attempt to diversify beyond logistics, it was true. Real estate developments appealed to everyone, Western ex-pats, as well as Indians and o...
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