Two Steps Taken, More Steps Needed

Kudos to President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner and their diplomatic team.  They have added the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to the list of Arab countries that recognize Israel as a legal entity and via the “Abraham Accords” agree to normalize diplomatic and other relations.

In recognition of President Trump’s brokerage of the Accords, a Norwegian official has nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize, seemingly totally oblivious of the fact that the peace deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain represent only two small steps in a complicated and lengthy process toward Middle East peace.  Agreements between Arabs and Palestinians, Sunnis and Shia, Arabs and Iranians must be achieved before a lasting Middle East peace becomes a reality.

Could Freelance Gigs Be Better for the Arab Economy than Oil?

The inflation rate in the Middle East is now estimated to be 8.8% in 2020. With Egypt, possibly the fastest growing Arab country, growing at only 2%, most oil producing countries in the region are seeing economic contractions. The combination of Covid-19 hitting the local population and the oil decline has severely affected this region.

Arab oil exporters are forecasting oil supply cuts of about 50% in 2020 and 2021, levels that have been approved by OPEC agreements.  The combination of significant cuts in production, $42 a barrel for oil, and Covid affecting local marketplaces, will have a significantly negative impact on regional economies.

Trump to Saudis: Cut Oil Production or Lose Military Support

US President Donald Trump allegedly gave the Saudi administration an ultimatum to stop the infamous price war with Russia. On April 2, Trump apparently made a phone call to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), letting him know that unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut oil production, he would allow lawmakers to go ahead and legislate a US troop withdrawal from the kingdom.