“This is definitely the beginning of the end of oil wealth at this sustained level,” said Karen Young, senior fellow at the Washington-based Near East Institute.
“Today’s boom is different because it’s more than just an oil crisis,” Young said. “It’s a big change in the structure of how we meet global energy needs.”
“Often construction projects get started and are abandoned when the oil money runs out,” said Ellen Wald, a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. “Because they have so much to spend, there is often not much oversight and traditionally there has been a lot of corruption.”
According to Omar Al-Ubaydli, director of research at the Bahrain-based Derasat think tank, there has also traditionally been a heavy emphasis on public sector procurement and public sector wage increases through bonuses or raises.
A focus on investing in the energy transition is critical as many parts of the world accelerate the transition to renewable energy, the report says.
Gulf states have pushed back against the idea that hydrocarbons could be phased out as a major energy source as environmentally conscious nations move to alternative sources. Oil is and will be essential for the world economy, they say.
Critics say it is in the interests of oil exporters to push that narrative, but oil states have pointed to a surge in crude demand that coincided with the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions around the world.
The United Arab Emirates, one of the world’s leading oil exporters, has warned that too fast a transition away from hydrocarbons could lead to an economic crisis.
The Middle East Institute’s Young said that if economies moved away from oil as an energy source, they would continue to demand oil-based products such as petrochemicals and materials for plastics.
However, experts say the Gulf states realize that while oil remains in demand, these increases in its price may not happen again at the same level or frequency.
“There is a possibility that the boom is transitory and the recent increase in the price of oil may be permanent,” said Al-Ubaydli. “Governments and people believe that this is an opportunity that should be taken as a whole, rather than removed from myopic decision-making.”
Iranian woman dies after falling into coma while under moral police custody
- Background: On Tuesday evening, Mahsa Amini and her family, traveling from Iran’s Kurdistan region to visit relatives in the capital Tehran, were stopped by a patrol of the morality police — a unit that enforces a strict dress code for women. According to IranWire, human rights activists who have spoken to the family say that the police caught Amini and put him in a police vehicle. On Thursday, Tehran police said Amini had suffered a “heart attack”. Iranian authorities said on Saturday that an autopsy had been carried out and that the results would be released after expert examination.
- Why it matters: The incident sparked outrage around the world, with many using the hashtag #MahsaAmini in English and Farsi on social media to protest Iran’s moral police and the assault on women over the country’s strict hijab rules. It also follows Tehran’s recent social media protests against “National Hijab and Chastity Day”.
Erdogan wants Turkey to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he aimed to join Turkey’s NATO member Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Reuters reported, citing Turkish channel NTV and other media on Saturday. He was speaking to reporters after attending the SCO summit in Uzbekistan. “Our relations with these countries will be taken to a very different position with this step,” Erdogan said. Asked if he meant membership in the SCO, he said, “of course, that’s the goal.”
- Background: Turkey is currently an interlocutor of the SCO, an economic, political and security group that includes China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
- Why it matters: Joining the SCO would bring Ankara closer to Russia and China, as the war in Ukraine polarizes global politics. NATO member Turkey has maintained good relations with Russia through the war, refusing to join its Western allies in punishing the country.
Pictures show the Iranian leader at the event amid reports his health has deteriorated
Images and a video posted on Iranian government websites and state media showed the country’s Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei sitting in a mosque in Tehran participating in the Arbaeen mourning ceremony, the end of the 40-day period to mourn the killing of a Prophet. Mohammed’s grandchildren, following reports of the ayatollah’s deteriorating health.
- Background: The New York Times reported Friday that Khamenei had canceled all public appearances last week because he had become “gravely ill” and was being observed by a medical team. Citing four anonymous people familiar with his health, the NYT said Khamenei was on bed rest last week after undergoing surgery for an intestinal obstruction.
- Why does it matter?: Khamenei has been Iran’s leader for the past three decades and is one of the longest-serving rulers in the Middle East. It is not clear who may succeed the leader, but it is expected that in the event of his death, the Assembly of Experts will meet to discuss his successor.
What to see
Queen Rania of Jordan talks to CNN’s Becky Anderson about the advice given to her by the late British Queen Elizabeth II, which she says remains with her to this day.
Watch the interview here:
Around the region
The 24-year-old from Casablanca defeated English golfer Meghan MacLaren in a play-off on Saturday and said her Ladies Open de France victory would be something she would remember “for the rest of my life” as she celebrated her historic victory. In Deauville next to her husband, Ali, who is her caddy.
“It’s amazing,” Laklalech said, according to the Ladies European Tour website. “It’s special to hear. I have no words to describe it.”
He added that “Morocco is doing a great job to promote golf” and “having a Moroccan winning on a major tour will be huge for the country and the Arab world in general”.
Laklalech also said she is a big fan of Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur, who became the first African woman to play in a slam final when she reached the semifinals of Wimbledon and the US Open this year.
Author: Aimee Lewis