Does Middle East Harbour Fears of Oil Drying Up?


MIDDLE EAST - Will the world soon experience a major oil and gas crunch? Many global countries are gradually becoming self-dependent and planning to adopt new drilling technologies in the hope of discovering their own oil reserves. The Middle East, which has long maintained its stature as the world’s largest oil exporter, now feels great pressure. Someday the oil reserve will dry up under the burden of consumption of a vast volume of barrels of crude oil per day.

Governments and those involved in framing policies in the Middle East are now aware that the world’s oil fields are depleting at a rate of 9.1% per year, which is terrifying. It has been reported that if nothing is done to overcome the threat, then oil production could fall 38% in only five years. A recent report in the Guardian revealed that conventional sources of oil are expected to continue to decline and future oil demands will need to be satiated through more unconventional resources.

This is a matter that requires immediate attention for most of the oil producing nations in the Middle East. What if the economic highs created by the precious oil drop down to nothing? This very fear has brought economic diversification to the center stage. The only saving grace that can protect the global population from experiencing this painful outcome is to introduce a diversification strategy.

The concept of economic diversification is to improve the GDP. Economic diversification is a process that generates a growing range of economic outputs. This diversifies the markets for exports or income sources outside of domestic economic activities (i.e. income from overseas investment). The Middle East and its constituting nations have adopted the concept, where previously they were characterized by the lack of it.

Other sectors will now stand with pride and make their own contributions to the GDP and thus lead to a flourishing fiscal health. At the moment, private sectors are the first visible output of the economic divergence protocol.

Price and demand are two of the most important aspects of the global economic system and fiscal diversification is one way to escape the complex phenomenon. Countries and their respective economic systems are experiencing problems such as low growth rates, lack of public and private incentives to accumulate human capital, lack of competition in manufacturing, and similar problems. This is something that has coaxed the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council to opt for economic diversification.

Economic diversification can reduce a nation’s economic volatility and increase its real activity performance. With oil consumption going up at a very steep rate, diversification is something that can pacify the fear in the Middle East associated with its diminishing oil reserve.

The answer lies in the relationship between fiscal divergence and private sector economic reforms. The theory suggests that diversification will help increase the private sector and will lower the contribution of the public sector to a certain level. One of the reasons for more private sector involvement is that a part of economic divergence relates to the issue of the foreign direct investments. A report from LSE suggests FDIs can bring in capital, create new jobs for people living in the Middle East, encourage development of new technology, and formulate management methods. These will help the countries build and expand their societies and knowledge communities.

It can safely be said that the potential of the Middle Eastern nations to attract FDI is severely limited without a well-functioning private sector. The growth of the private sector in the overall GCC economy has not only brought a fresh breath of air but has also created ripples in the employment market as a whole. The premise is simple: Take the revenue from oil and gas and invest it in other budding industries and sectors.

The expectation of fiscal diversification is freedom from the monopoly of oil and gas revenue on the GDP, and newcomers entering the economic arena. The Gulf would soon be relieved from the fear of depleting oil reserves and could still manage the country with a growing private sector. There would be well-paying jobs in the Middle East and the standard of living would still be maintained.

Follow Vinita on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Middle East Correspondent: @vinita1204

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Taliban Beheads 17 People Over a Woman


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 15:10 PM EDT, 27 August 2012

KAJAKI, Afghanistan – Afghan officials have reported that 17 Afghan civilians, including two women were beheaded by Taliban militants. They were killed on Sunday, 26 August 2012 at a late night celebration.

According to Reuters and the Associated press, the revelers who lived in the Kajaki district of the Helmand province were celebrating with music and dancing which provoked the ire of the Taliban because of their disapproval of music and dancing.

NATO, the European Union, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have roundly condemned the murders as a heinous disregard for human life and an “unforgivable crime.”

Usually quick to take credit for attacks they have committed, as well as claiming involvement in other killing for opportunistic advantage and publicity, the Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi issued a statement today denying the groups involvement in the attack. (Source: VOA)

In an effort to distance themselves from charges of radical extremism and unbridled suppression and violence, the Taliban, through Helmand’s governor stated that the killings were not because the Taliban objected on religious grounds to the celebration with music, dancing, and women, but that the killings were a result of a feud between two Taliban commanders.

Just as in the case in July 2012 when the Taliban executed a woman in cold blood after accusing her of adultery, it has been alleged that this is a similar situation in which one of the woman was executed in order to settle a dispute between two Taliban leaders, each of whom wanted her. If this is proven to be true, then remaining sixteen revelers were simply collateral damage.

Whatever the reason, 17 people lost their lives during a night of festivities which should have ended in happiness and joy but instead was brutally cut short through these heinous beheadings.

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The Ugly American | U.S. Marines' Shocking Behavior


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 00:22 AM EDT, 13 January 2012

In the absence of Al-Qaeda the Taliban has become the new face of extremist Islam. Members of the Taliban condone the stoning death of women who have been raped, who are not covered in accordance with their dictates of modesty, or who dare speak against the abuse incurred at the hands of their husbands or other males.

However, it is important to remember that members of the Taliban are not representative of most Muslims, but have hijacked Islam through a very narrow interpretation of the Qur'an which they promulgate through the indoctrination of illiterate and impoverished proselytes. This type of extremism and indoctrination occurs in both Christianity and Judaism. During the Spanish Inquisition the zealotry of a few (priests who were not members of religious orders), under the auspices of the Spanish Monarchy tortured and killed between 3,000 to 5,000 people.

Recently, thousands of people in Israel rallied against the abuse suffered by Naama Margolese , a shy, retiring, bespectacled second-grader who was verbally abused by ultra-Orthodox extremist while walking to her religious Jewish girls school. She was often spat on and called a whore for dressing "immodestly." That said, man's inhumanity to man seems to know no bounds and like George Eliot said “cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity.”

Such is the case with the U.S. Marines who were secretly caught on tape apparently urinating on the dead bodies of some Taliban. This utter disregard and irreverent treatment of the bodies of a vanquished enemy is unconscionable. It is even more appalling when one considers that in both Islam and Judaism, it is imperative that the bodies of the deceased be cleansed, dressed in a shroud and buried shortly after death.

In both faiths, reverence in caring for the bodies of the deceased is an important aspect of this rite of passage. The bodies of the departed are treated with such respect that in addition to being washed, anointed, they are neither embalmed nor cremated. The apparent degradation of the bodies by the Marines urinating on them is an affront to many people regardless of their religious persuasion.

The NATO-led security force in Afghanistan released a statement Thursday saying, “This disrespectful act is inexplicable and not in keeping with the high moral standards we expect of coalition forces.”

These Marines, like the soldiers who participated in the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, are not representative of most Americans. Most Americans do not condone such actions nor would they participate in this type of abuse. However, guilt by association and country of origin adds fuel to the fire of hatred for America. The behavior of these few men does nothing to abate this sentiment and in fact affirms the disparaging moniker 'The Ugly American.”