Iran Is Winning The ‘Long War’

Iran and the P5+1—the Permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany—meet in Kazakhstan on February 26 for further talks over Iran’s nuclear program. Don’t expect any progress. Iran’s next presidential election is in June and the powers that be will give no credit to outgoing President Ahmadinejad. But there is a more fundamental reason […]

What to Watch for 2013: MENA Edition

2012 has been quite another rollercoaster year for the Middle East, including rocky transitions, flareups and protracted conflict. Meanwhile the region finally started benefitting from the lagged effect of higher oil prices. 2013 will no doubt bring more of the same, particularly as populations and leaders struggle to begin responding to economic grievances. Clockwise from […]

The Year of Betting Conservatively

The upswing in global equity markets that started in July is now running out of steam, which comes as no surprise: with no significant improvement in growth prospects in either the advanced or major emerging economies, the rally always seemed to lack legs. If anything, the correction might have come sooner, given disappointing macroeconomic data […]

Iran’s Untouchable Energy Exports

Yves here. Media reports in the US stress how tightening sanctions against Iran, particularly on banks, are increasingly isolating Iran, leading its currency to fall sharply. This article describes a key break in the cordon, that of electricity exports. But Iran’s major source of foreign exchange, its official dollar oil-related payments, via Standard Chartered, were roughly […]

Update on Iran Sanctions

The boycott of Iran has been more successful than I had anticipated, with Iranian oil production and exports down significantly from a year ago. Alternative estimates of Iranian oil production. Source: Early Warning. And even stronger additional sanctions may soon be agreed upon. The measures appear to be having a significant effect on the Iranian economy, with the IMF reporting […]

Our Crusade Slowly Crushes Iran, and Reveals Much About Us

Summary: In pursuit of dominance over the Middle East the US government destroyed Iraq, one of the two regional powers. Now we run the same playbook against Iran. Being a docile and easily led people, we don’t notice the similarity, or that our government trashes America’s greatest accomplishment on the world stage — and perhaps […]

MENA: No Reforms, No Growth

Middle East and North Africa (MENA): hard choices needed, but unlikely. For political transitions to be successful, economic fundamentals need to be solid. Yet, MENA countries are facing political change and pressing social demands while enduring economic strains. The sluggish global outlook, the Eurozone (EZ) recession, and China’s deceleration hamper exports, remittances and capital inflows. […]

Was Hyperinflation the Intended Outcome?

The Wall Street Journal reports on the protests sweeping through Tehran: Protests over the plunging Iranian currency erupted on Wednesday around Tehran’s main bazaar, the country’s commercial hub, as escalating economic woes become a rising political challenge. The demonstrations marked the first time in three decades that the conservative merchant classes, a backbone of the Islamic Revolution […]

Bibi, Be Quiet – You’re Undermining U.S. Support for Israel

The dangers to Israel’s existence, from a nuclear-armed Iran, are real. Equally real are the dangers of a pre-emptive military attack on Iran. Perhaps the greatest danger to Israel, however, is Prime Minister Netanyahu. America is Israel’s most important ally, providing financial (~$3 billion/year), military, and diplomatic support. In response to the Iranian nuclear threat, […]