So Much for Desert Storm – Kuwait and Iraq Collaborate on Energy

News emanating from the Middle East since the outbreak of the “Arab spring” two years ago has been intermittently nervous, but beneath the headlines, some political seismic shifts have been occurring. Exhibit a – recent Kuwaiti-Iraq energy cooperation. In August 1990, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq launched its invasion by bombing Kuwait’s capital, occupying the nation in […]

Kuwait Still Plans to Build Middle East’s Largest Oil Refinery Despite Delays

Despite years of delays caused by political tensions, the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) has stated that it still intends to construct the Middle East’s largest oil refinery. A senior executive at KNPC has told Reuters that the government will probably announce the winner of the management and consultancy (PMC) contract next month. “The bids have […]

MENA/Kuwait: Not All Cabinet Shuffles Are Alike…

It’s looking more and more precarious to be a member of the cabinet in the Middle East and North Africa… at least in terms of job security. Along with new subsidies, public housing investment and public sector wage hikes, cabinet shuffles have emerged a primary tool for rulers to deflect criticism, signal a policy change (even if one is not forthcoming) and to stall for time. Last week both the Syrian and Kuwaiti cabinets resigned in the face of political pressure. This follows resignations in Jordan, Egypt (several), Tunisia and Lebanon, the latter because Hezbollah withdrew from the inactive parliament back in January.

Can World Cup Frenzy Keep Qatar Growing After Gas Momentum Fades?

It’s a very big day for Qatar. As a long-time watcher of Russia and Qatar, among other hydrocarbon rich countries, the news that the countries will host consecutive world cups is really quite exciting. The decision is a leap of faith for FIFA, as the WSJ’s Matthew Futterman put it earlier today, as both countries still need a lot of infrastructure development.  As David Roberts notes, Qatar is set to be even more in the spotlight, including in some ways it may not like. Though, these are after all events that are eight and twelve years in the future.

Gulf Cooperation Council Local Currency Bond Markets and Lessons from East Asia

The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council were hit hard by declining oil prices during the global crisis. This column argues that East Asia has shown how viable local bond markets are essential to weather future crises when bank lending collapses. While it will be a long process requiring strong political will, the time for the “plumbing” work is now.    

Small Countries, Small Problems?

Bahrain and Qatar’s less than 1 million populations make them the smallest countries in GCC (see Chart 1). Both countries are blessed with natural resources, albeit with varying degrees. Do small countries suffer from their smallness? Do small countries enact better economic policies and grow faster? Are Bahrain and Qatar at a disadvantage because their […]