02:49 PM GMT, December 4th, 2013
10:45 AM GMT, December 3rd, 2013
Iran's six month agreement with P5 + 1, Egypt's transition after the ouster of Mohammed Morsy and Syria's long and catastrophic civil war have nudged a plan to revitalize the Palestinian Territories right off the global agenda.
I was in the room when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry unveiled, on the evening of May 26, what he saw as an ambitious plan to deliver hope to Palestinians by jump-starting investment. His speech closing out the World Economic Forum regional meeting at the Dead Sea in Jordan was met with a heavy dose of skepticism because it lacked specifics.
Kerry presented an economic road-map, calling for $4 billion of private investment covering eight sectors from agriculture to tourism. If you build the right framework, according to the top U.S. diplomat, investors will come. The goal is to boost the economies of the West Bank and Gaza by up to 50% in just three years.
While no one can really argue with the spirit of the economic initiative, the reality on the factory floor, whether it is light manufacturing or in telecommunications, is very different. Palestinian businessmen suggest it is time to be more holistic in the approach. One cannot divorce the peace process from business. FULL POST
02:32 PM GMT, November 27th, 2013
02:15 PM GMT, November 25th, 2013
(CNN) - The historic six-month agreement over Tehran's nuclear program may begin a new era of relations with Iran, but it will be a long road back for the country's most vital sector, oil.
Iran produces about two and half million barrels a day - far off its 4-million-barrel-per-day peak a decade ago. Output is hovering at a level last seen at the end of Iran's war with Iraq. With North Sea Brent crude averaging over $100 a barrel for a record three years running, the sanctions on energy alone are costing Tehran about $50 billion in lost annual revenue.
"During the six month phase, the oil sanctions that will remain in place will continue to cause over $25 billion in lost revenues to Iran or over $4 billion a month," he said.
With every year that has passed, the screws have been tightened by Washington and the countries of the European Union. It was not only sanctions against oil, but also blocking Iran's ability to secure shipping insurance and to trade in U.S. dollars and euros. That economic isolation, many Middle East strategists I have spoken with suggest, is what brought Iran's new government to the negotiating table.
Despite the deal breakthrough, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said most of the sanctions will stick as the world gauges the intentions of this relatively new administration in Tehran.
The message is clear: the pressure remains, but if all goes well, in a half year's time Iran can expect more in return for transparency.
It is still early days, but this country of nearly 80 million people has been described as potentially being the Germany of the Middle East with plenty of natural resources - that is, if it can emerge from years of economic isolation.
11:22 AM GMT, November 22nd, 2013
11:19 AM GMT, November 22nd, 2013
04:38 PM GMT, November 19th, 2013
04:37 PM GMT, November 19th, 2013
Luxury cars are hot property in the Middle East, but a new hypercar has upped the extravagant stakes. The $3.4 million Lykan HyperSport, built by Lebanese company W Motors, comes with a holographic display, 770 horsepower, LED lights encrusted with diamonds and sapphires and a 24-hour concierge service. But established brands pose fierce competition for the newcomer. CNN's Leone Lakhani takes a look at the luxurious new vehicle.
02:52 PM GMT, November 13th, 2013
02:50 PM GMT, November 5th, 2013
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