Pulse: Middle East

Wishing our world for a peaceful 2024

While I studied at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, our founding dean and senior diplomat Professor Kishore Mahbubani optimistically told us, “War, after centuries of being a scourge for humanity, is now becoming a sunset industry.” Unfortunately, nowadays that “sunset industry” is reviving, from the Russia-Ukraine war to the Israel-Hamas war.

What just Happened in Iran?

1.The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) is faced with unprecedented anti-government demonstrations. Whether there was foreign intervention (there might have been), the scale of the riots and the depth of popular anger has been unprecedented, especially come from the “deplorables”. The regime reacted with extreme brutality. However, it has been forced to acknowledge the killings, especially at the city of Mahshahr—even Parliament is reacting, with talk of a special commission of inquiry

Hale Report: Podcast Episode 4 Venezuela: Lawyers, Guns & Money with Nikolai Tagarov


EconVue Spotlight - Iran Podcast & China's New Long March

As some of my more patient friends know, I have been toiling away at a book on Chinese monetary history during the Interwar period off and on for some years.  Immersing myself in the public and private words of the historic figures of the 1930’s has perhaps sensitized me to the propensity of even well-intentioned leaders to glide into chaos.  That which is unthinkable inexorably becomes inevitable.

The Oil Market Rout

The rout in oil markets continued in November, the markets worst month in 10 years. Oil prices West Texas Intermediate (WTI) down by 22%, to their lowest level in 13 months. In the past few months, oil markets have moved from balanced to oversupply, which sent oil prices (Brent) crashing by one-third from a high of $86/bbl at the beginning of October to under $60/bbl at the end of November. 

The Oil Market Rout

The Unsustainable Economics of ISIL

ISIL is not a juggernaut, according to a recent article in Politico by UC San Diego economics professor Eli Berman and associate professor Jacob Shapiro at Princeton, "Why ISIL Will Fail on Its Own".  Oil revenues in particular are not sustainable: