Arab countries, rich and poor, large and small, are rapidly approaching a moment of reckoning. A confluence of anachronistic governance, economic mismanagement, and disruptive technology, which has changed the dynamics of both the supply and demand for hydrocarbon fuels and raw materials, is pushing the region to a tipping point. Together, these factors spell an end of the welfare state and an irreversible break in the social compact that has been in place for the past five decades. The COVID-19 pandemic is merely the canary in the coal mine that serves to expose the region’s problems and inject further uncertainty into its economic future.
Neither future instability nor secular stagnation are foreordained for the region. In a new Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative report, “Whither the Arabs: The End of the Welfare State and the Start of a Journey into the Unknown,” Dr. Hani K. Findakly and Mr. Kevin A. Findakly argue that a positive outcome is predicated on adopting a cogent new social compact with a strategy for an inclusive political, social, and economic system. The authors go on to outline three possible scenarios for the future of the region.
Report Aug 2, 2021
The energy transition in the Arab Gulf: From vision to reality
By Dr. Jean-François Seznec; Samer Mosis
The United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have emerged as leaders in the Arab Gulf’s energy transition. But even as the two countries work to decarbonize their economies, challenges remain.
MENASource Aug 2, 2021
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are economic frenemies. And that’s a good thing.
By Amjad Ahmad
Both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have wisely made the economy the focal point of their strategies for the future, as evidenced by national policy changes and a reduction in foreign adventures. Ending the Qatar blockade, and opening a dialogue with adversarial neighbors like Iran and Turkey is linked to long-term economic ambitions.
In-Depth Research & Reports Jun 17, 2020
Assessing Saudi Vision 2030: A 2020 review
By Stephen Grand, Katherine Wolff
Executive summary When global oil prices collapsed in summer 2014, Saudi Arabia confronted one of the most daunting economic challenges of its modern history. Upon ascending to the throne the following year, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his son Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (now the crown prince) responded by developing an ambitious […]
Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.