Tiny Bahrain’s Big Oil Discovery Will Boost the Country’s Fortunes – Eventually

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • Bahrain’s discovery of the Khaleej Al Bahrain oil and gas field has the potential to make a material change in the country’s financial crisis, but there are roadblocks.
  • It will be five to 10 years before production begins in substantial volumes, it will be expensive, and it’s not clear how much of the oil and gas can be recovered.
  • In the meantime, Bahrain will use the long-term potential of increased oil and gas production — and the state revenue that comes with it — to attract new investment.
  • An increase in oil revenue will allow the country to boost some of the social services that it provides to its restive population and reduce the need for painful economic adjustments.

A map shows the location of Bahrain in the Middle East.

(200MM/iStock)

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What Trends We’re Tracking on International Women’s Day

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

The shift from a premodern farming society to a modern industrialized society, for example, hinged on the increased participation of women in the workforce. Many nations today, such as Japan, face demographic decline or economic stagnation. And in order to maintain growth, these countries are being forced to combat the legal and social barriers that have kept women out of the workforce. Even in regions such as the Middle East and North Africa, where women have explicitly been prevented from participating in public life, governments are hoping to encourage growth by embracing reform efforts that incorporate women into their economies.

A woman with the female gender pictogram made up on her face attends a demonstration as part of the 40th International Women's Day on March 8, 2017 in Marseille.

(ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

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Youth Unemployment: The Middle East’s Ticking Time Bomb

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • With labor markets in the Middle East and North Africa swamped due to a baby boom, countries in the region will continue to face the acute challenge of massive youth unemployment.  
  • Though each state struggles with its own circumstances, most countries will face daunting hurdles as they try to build strong private sectors. 
  • Even if these states do foster more robust private sectors, they may not be able to mitigate the economic hardship when it hits their citizens, due to the uncontrollable nature of the free market. 

Five million workers are set to enter the Middle East's job market each year, even as gainful employment is in short supply.

(HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

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Resurgent US Oil Industry

By Rick Mills – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Crude oil prices dropped from $110 a barrel in the summer of 2014 to about $30 in January 2016. The effect on oil producers and oil-producing countries was dramatic. The Russian ruble plunged, and the Canadian dollar slipped to below 70 cents US for the first time since 2003, kicking the country into recession and snuffing out the oil boom in Alberta. Many foreign companies operating in the high-cost Canadian oil sands pulled up stakes.

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Finding a Path to a Post-Revolutionary Iran

By Matthew Bey – Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Almost four decades after the toppling of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a revolutionary ideology continues to underpin the Iranian state. As the years have passed, the relevance of its governing philosophy risks being lost on the country’s younger generations, and the internal and external challenges to its government continue to mount. The recent spate of demonstrations that quickly spread across the country highlighted one of the revolutionary state’s largest shortcomings: It is a 40-year-old revolution that has not arrived at a sustainable economic model.

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Trump May Push, but Pakistan Won’t Budge

 Re-Blogged From Stratfor

The new year has brought renewed troubles for the already faltering relationship between the United States and Pakistan. On New Year’s Day, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a tweet accusing Pakistan of “lies & deceit” despite receiving $33 billion in U.S. aid for its cooperation in the war in Afghanistan. The next day, the White House announced that it would continue to withhold the $255 million worth of aid that had been earmarked for Pakistan in 2016, citing insufficient action against anti-NATO militants. And on Jan. 4, the White House said it would suspend $900 million in security assistance promised in 2017 and place Pakistan on a list of countries violating religious freedom.

A map shows Afghanistan, Pakistan and the surrounding region.
(LorenzoT81/iStock)

Iranian Protesters Attack Police Stations, Raise Stakes in Unrest

By Michael Georgy – Re-Blogged From Reuters

Iranian protesters attacked police stations late into the night on Monday, news agency and social media reports said, as security forces struggled to contain the boldest challenge to the clerical leadership since unrest in 2009.

Videos on social media showed an intense clash in the central town of Qahderijan between security forces and protesters who were trying to occupy a police station, which was partially set ablaze. There were unconfirmed reports of several casualties among demonstrators.

In the western city of Kermanshah, protesters set fire to a traffic police post, but no one was hurt in the incident, Mehr news agency said.

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