Below are links to some of my published articles and photos, starting with the most recent. Most of the articles deal with business and politics in the Middle East and parts of Africa but other regions and topics crop up from time to time. Some are hidden behind paywalls (in which case you’ll see the ⚿ symbol) but for others you'll be able to click through and read the full article. The photos tend to have a wider geographic remit.


  • Kuwait's growth ambitions come under pressure
    After a decent performance in 2016, the difficulties for the economy look to be mounting once again.
    MEED, 20 December 2016

  • Etihad to cut jobs, signalling further trouble for Gulf airlines
    Etihad Airways, one of the three Middle East carriers which have shaken up the global aviation business over the past decade, is to lay off some staff, in the latest sign of difficulty among the region’s airlines., 19 December 2016

  • Iran remodels its armed forces to enhance its regional power projection
    A series of senior appointments this year suggests Tehran is less worried about the threat of an attack on its
    territory and is now intent on getting more involved elsewhere in the region.
    Gulf States News, 15 December 2016

  • Riyadh-Tehran rivalry stirs up fears in Pakistan
    Senior figures within the Pakistani military are concerned that rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran could lead to sectarian problems in their own country. Influential figures are now pushing Islamabad to take on a mediating role, but would either side be willing to listen to advice?
    Gulf States news, 15 December 2016

  • Iran: Open for business
    Iran has been gradually returning to the international mainstream since January, when the nuclear deal went ahead. It offers Western businesses an enticing new market to expand into, but there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome.
    Economia, 7 December 2016

  • Non-GCC lenders remain resilient
    Banking markets outside the Gulf have prospered even amid strong political and economic headwinds.
    MEED, 30 November 2016

  • Arab Gulf states left exposed by weak missile defences
    The GCC’s missile defences are failing to keep up with the threat posed by Iran’s growing ballistic missile arsenal.
    Gulf States News, 17 November 2016

  • Austerity economics
    Evidence of the strain that the Saudi economy is under is coming thick and fast, with sharp, with pay cuts for state employees just the latest measure.
    Forbes Middle East, 15 November 2016

  • Is the Emirates Airline growth story at an end?
    After posting record results last year, Emirates has suffered a sharp drop in profits in the first half of the current fiscal year and says the outlook is “bleak.” 11 November 2016

  • Riyadh waits for a new US president, gears up for a charm offensive on DC
    The passage of the ‘9/11 Act’ into law has angered Riyadh and brought US-Saudi relations to a low point, but the old allies have been in worse positions before and with so much at stake the standoff could prompt a renewed lobbying effort by Riyadh rather than more antagonism.
    Gulf States News, 3 November 2016

  • Rig count moves in line with expansionist oil strategy
    The Middle East has bucked a global trend for declining oil rig counts, spurred on by Saudi Arabia’s pursuit of market share.
    MEED, 25 October 2016

  • Northern lights
    Can the UAE's northern emirates attract enough investors, residents and tourists to fill all the homes and hotel rooms currently under construction?
    Forbes Middle East, 9 October 2016

  • Going viral
    The lessons to be learned from Saudi Arabia's battle with the often-deadly MERS virus
    Forbes Middle East, 9 October 2016

  • Buyers' market
    The economic downturn in the Gulf and political turmoil in some international markets have led to falling property prices in some of the cities most favored by Gulf investors.
    Forbes Middle East, 15 September 2016

  • Securities lending in the UAE: the race is on
    Securities lending could improve the liquidity of UAE capital markets but progress has been slow. With NBAD poised to launch its offering, this looks set to change.
    Global Investor, 9 September 2016

  • Iran's healthcare challenge
    The Islamic republic lags behind the region in healthcare services. Investors from Europe and Asia are eyeing-up opportunities in the country’s under-resourced medical system. Could they help the country to close the gap?
    MEED, 24 August 2016

  • Opportunity calling
    Iran’s telecoms sector is growing quickly, with several potential investors already linked to a number of deals.
    MEED, 24 August 2016

  • The data will see you now
    Securely handling sensitive personal health data is becoming a critical issue for health services in the Middle East as they go digital.
    Forbes Middle East, 14 August 2016

  • Oman Faces Unnerving Future With Economy And Ruler's Health Faltering
    The economy is in need of modernisation and diversification, but the pace of development is often slow.
    Forbes, 10 August 2016

  • Emerging domestic defence industries feature large at Farnborough
    The biannual Farnborough airshow was notable for something other than major purchases of weapons systems or aircraft this year: it highlighted how Gulf countries are developing their own aviation and defence production capacity, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE leading the way.
    Gulf States News, 28 July 2016

  • Oman treads a slow and unsteady road to diversification
    Muscat's economy is one of the most vulnerable to the woes currently afflicting the region.
    Gulf States News, 28 July 2016

  • Private trumps public in GCC schools sector
    Private education is still a minority pursuit, but poor results from state-run schools mean its popularity is growing in most parts of the region.
    MEED, 26 July 2016

  • Training students to be realistic
    Saudi Arabia has committed itself to major reforms of its school curriculum, but it also needs to change the outlook of students if it is to achieve its goals.
    MEED, 26 July 2016

  • Iran insists deals with Boeing, Airbus will go ahead
    The country's Civil Aviation Organization says recently announced deals with the world’s two big aircraft manufacturers can still move ahead, despite strong opposition from some US politicians.
    Forbes, 25 July 2016

  • Is Saudi Arabia heading for a recession?
    The signs are that the economic problems in the kingdom are mounting up, as a result of low oil prices and government austerity.
    Forbes, 12 July 2016

  • Investors tap into Iran’s exchange houses
    Exchange houses offer a vital alternative to banks for investors who want to move money in or out of the country.
    Gulf States News, 30 June 2016

  • Riyadh to push for more taxation, but no representation
    The government's National Transformation Plan, unveiled on 7 June, has prompted more questions about what the reshaping of the Saudi economy might mean for nationals and expatriates. A key issue is the amount of taxation that might be imposed. Ministers insist that ordinary Saudis have nothing to fear, but there is mounting evidence that everyone will be expected to pay more in the future.
    Gulf States News, 16 June 2016

  • Uncovering the tracks of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards
    The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is often portrayed as playing a central role in the Iranian economy, but just how extensive are its business interests?
    MEED, 7 June 2016

  • Iran to open offshore bank to process international payments
    Tehran is to launch an offshore bank within weeks, as it continues to seek ways around ongoing restrictions on international banking ties.
    Forbes, 6 June 2016

  • No let-up for Bahrain’s economy, as debt costs build, political discord continues
    The economy is going nowhere, mainly because of low oil prices but also partly because the political scene remains tense.
    Gulf States News, 2 June 2016

  • Iran turns to its near east for investment partners
    The deal for India to invest $500m in the development of Chabahar port is a useful fillip to President Rouhani, who is keen to show the nuclear deal can deliver benefits to the economy even as Western banks and businesses drag their heels.
    Gulf States News, 2 June 2016

  • Rational exuberance
    The Tehran stock market has had a roller-coaster ride this year, mirroring the economy as a whole, but it is primed for growth.
    The Gulf, 1 June 2016

  • Israel Launches Anti-Boycott Drive At The UN, In The Face Of Growing Acceptance Of BDS Movement
    The Israeli government is trying to delegitimize the boycott movement, but opinion polls show surprising levels of support within the US.
    Forbes, 31 May 2016

  • London Mayor Puts Middle East Property Investors On Notice
    The London property market, one of the most popular investment targets for the wealthy elites of the Middle East, could soon become rather less welcoming under the city’s newly elected mayor, Sadiq Khan.
    Forbes, 25 May 2016

  • Which is the safest airline in the Middle East?
    In the wake of the EgyptAir crash on May 19, the safety record of Middle East airlines is again under scrutiny. So if you’re flying in the region, which carrier might give you the greatest peace of mind?
    Forbes, 23 May 2016

  • Saudi Arabia sets itself up for a fall with ambitious economic reform plan
    The Vision 2030 strategy released by MBS in late April certainly doesn’t lack ambition, but it does fall short in realism. There is little to suggest that the state has the wherewithal to achieve its goals.
    Gulf States News, 5 May 2016

  • Islamic banking needs to break out
    The Shariah-complaint finance sector has been growing strongly, but only in a few jurisdictions and with limited product diversity. As oil-derived liquidity flows dry up in its core markets in the Gulf, what can it do to fix its lack of international reach?
    Euromoney, 25 April 2016

  • Kuwait vows to target 'rogue citizens'
    The government appears to have stepped up its targeting of dissidents abroad, with the arrest of UK-based Salem Al-Dosari, aka Abu Refaa, for alledgedly insulting Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah on social media. The Ministry of Interior says the case shows it can find and capture those who insult the emir "inside the country and out".
    Gulf States News, 21 April 2016

  • Sharjah dispute continues to put Iranian gas exports under a cloud
    A 2001 deal between National Iranian Oil Company and Sharjah-based Crescent Petroleum for the export of gas from Iran’s offshore Salman gas field has gone nowhere, and continues to be a source of frustration for investors.
    Gulf States News, 21 April 2016

  • Due diligence in Iran
    Thinking of doing business in iran? You might need these tips on how best to go about it.
    Forbes, 21 April 2016

  • PHOTO: Ani, Turkey
    The Yiddish language may have originated in north-eastern Turkey, and not Germany as previously thought, according to recent DNA analysis., 20 April 2016

  • Financing wanderlust
    UAE residents are travelling more often and spending more when they are on the road, despite the weakening economic conditions at home. That offers plenty of opportunities for banks and others.
    Gulf News, 20 April 2016

  • Seven big things preventing international companies from going into Iran
    From corruption to the lack of banking links to fears about the Revolutionary Guards...
    Forbes, 13 April 2016

  • Iran: banking on the future
    Can Iran’s banking system be reformed and strengthened quickly enough for the economy to benefit fully from the lifting of sanctions?
    The Gulf, 3 April 2016

  • Brussels shows that terrorism can dent an economy but rarely destroy it
    The terrorist attacks on the Belgian capital on 22 March shook the city, but If the experiences of other European cities in recent years are any indication, the chances of its economy bouncing back are good.
    Quartz, 1 April 2016

  • Why there's less to Saudi Arabia's new $2 trillion wealth fund than meets the eye
    Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has renewed his push to reform the economy, by announcing plans to create a $2 trillion sovereign wealth fund and part-privatize the national oil company Saudi Aramco within two years. But there is little new money involved in the headline figure.
    Forbes, 1 April 2016

  • Tehran pushes UK to help restore international banking links
    Iran is struggling to regain access to the global financial system, as continuing US sanctions prevent dollar deals and bar US banks from Iran, while delayed prosecution agreements between European banks and Washington are thought to contain clauses preventing an early return. In response, Tehran is trying to co-opt the UK into putting pressure on Washington to change its approach.
    Gulf States News, 31 March 2016

  • Tehran's dose of reality
    Caution and concern are the watchwords for many Western businesses considering doing business in Iran, as the initial excitement following the sanctions deal gives way to realism
    MEED, 24 March 2016

  • PHOTO: Temple of Bel, Palmyra, Syria
    NPR's story on the state of the ancient city of Palmyra after Islamic State forces were pushed out., 21 March 2016

  • Doha's deficit planning
    Low oil prices have pushed Qatar’s budget into the red, forcing the government to re-evaluate its economic model.
    MEED, 15 March 2016

  • Iran to get sovereign rating within months
    Credit rating will be an important step in Tehran's return to the mainstream of international trade and finance.
    MEED, 10 March 2016

  • Risky business
    The notion of conduct risk is rising up the agenda for finance industry participants, but there is still a big gap when it comes to knowing what is involved and how best to tackle it.
    Securities & Investment Review, 10 March 2016

  • Morocco's relations with the EU hit a new low
    Rabat has suspended cooperation on a host of issues with Brussels, in the wake of a European court ruling in December that suspended an agriculture trade deal because it included produce from occupied Western Sahara.
    MEED, 9 March 2016

  • Remittances market steady despite market volatility
    Remittances are a necessity rather than a luxury for many expats in the UAE, a fact which is cushioning the sector from the economic slowdown.
    Gulf News, 7 March 2016

  • Saudis shy away from the jobs market
    The unemployment rate in Saudi Arabia has been edging down, but only because fewer locals are joining the labour force, according to new data from the General Authority for Statistics.
    Gulf States News, 3 March 2016

  • Shop and drop
    Consumer confidence is fading in Saudi Arabia, and lower subsidies and new sales taxes will make matters worse for the country’s retailers.
    The Gulf, 1 March 2016

  • Watching the future
    Banks are starting to experiment with wearable technology, but consumer attitudes to the new devices remain uncertain.
    Gulf News, 28 February 2016

  • The future of banking in the UAE?
    The rapid growth of mobile apps offers some pointers as to what banking might look like in the UAE in the years ahead.
    Gulf News, 28 February 2016

  • Medical tourism offers route to economic diversification for the UAE
    Healthcare tourism is a $60bn industry and presents an enticing opportunity for hospitals and medical authorities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
    MEED, 22 February 2016

  • Islamic art: under the hammer and under pressure?
    London's big auction houses are preparing for the next round of Islamic art sales in April amid uncertainty over demand, not least because of the potential knock-on effects of low oil prices.
    Salaam Gateway, 21 February 2016

  • The Gulf's military balance: regional rivals in search of a bigger bang
    Government budgets may be under heavy pressure as a result of the sharp fall in oil revenues, but one area that still seems well protected is defence spending, particularly when it comes to missiles.
    Gulf States News, 18 February 2016

  • Russia walks a fine line in the Middle East
    Moscow is trying to combine military support for Damascus and boosting commercial ties with the Gulf states. How long can it maintain the balancing act?
    MEED, 18 February 2016

  • PHOTO: Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al Thani
    The former Qatari foreign minister has sidestepped a UK legal battle concerning allegations that he kidnapped a rival, after successfully claiming diplomatic immunity.
    The Times, 16 February 2016

  • Circuit breakers: the best option we have?
    The failure of circuit breakers to halt slides on the Chinese markets in January has raised doubts about the effectiveness of such trading curbs. But are there any better alternatives?
    Securities & Investment Review, 16 February 2016

  • Arresting decline
    Bahrain is searching for ways to re-invent its credentials as a regional banking hub.
    The Gulf, 1 February 2016

  • PHOTO: Porto
    Colourful tiling on the walls of a house in Porto, used to illustrate a review of Yann Martel's new novel, The High Mountains of Portugal.
    Times Literary Supplement, 22 January 2016

  • Saudi retail in need of therapy
    Growth looks certain to slow down in the Saudi retail market, with declining consumer confidence and rising costs.
    MEED, 19 January 2016

  • Could the sukuk market rebound in 2016?
    The sukuk market has been going through a tough time, with a steady fall in both the number and value of instruments issued in recent years. The question for the industry is whether that trend will continue in 2016 or if something will happen to turn its fortunes around.
    Salaam Gateway, 6 January 2016

  • Maintaining standards
    New regulations could help Bahrain maintain its strong position in the Islamic banking market, but there are plenty of headwinds for the industry.
    The Gulf, 1 January 2016


  • Qatar at your service
    The country services sector is growing steadily. Better planning could make things even better.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 21 December 2015

  • Warning signs in Palestine
    The West Bank leadership look as vulnerable and weak as the economy it oversees.
    MEED, 6 December 2015

  • Islamic finance in search of the mainstream
    Sharia-compliant banking has been expanding quickly, but the industry seems impatient for even faster growth.
    MEED, 6 December 2015

  • Project market in Saudi Arabia faces uncertain future
    Capital spending programmes are likely to be radically curtailed over the coming year, particularly when it comes to new projects.
    MEED, 2 December 2015

  • Unwelcome shock
    Riyadh reacted to a recent downgrade by S&P with heavy criticism of the ratings agency, but it is far from being alone in its analysis of the Saudi economy.
    The Gulf, 1 December 2015

  •  The last resort for food security
    A facility deep inside the Arctic Circle is playing a vital role in ensuring farming in the Middle East has a viable future.
    MEED, 26 November 2015

  • Executives jet in to Iran, but legal pitfalls could put brake on investment
    For all the excitement caused by the agreement to end Iranian sanctions, signed in July, no sanctions have been removed and none will be until the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, confirms that Iran has met its side of the bargain by scaling back nuclear activities. Even after that there will be plenty of issues for international companies to be wary of.
    Gulf States News, 26 November 2015

  • Gulf airlines stabilise at cruising height
    More than 1,000 exhibitors from 61 countries turned up to the 8-12 November Dubai Airshow, but there was an unusual lack of big new orders.
    Gulf States News, 26 November 2015

  • Innovation: Getting better
    The region has a poor record when it comes to medical research, but new institutions are emerging aimed at changing that.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 26 November 2015

  • Innovation: The pursuit of happiness and GCC smart cities
    Can “smart city” services make people in the Gulf more content?
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 23 November 2015

  • Investors target London property market with Sharia-compliant funds
    Several hundred million pounds of investment is potentially on the way into the market over the next year.
    Salam Gateway, 14 November 2015

  • PHOTO: Gebran Bassil
    Lebanon's foreign minister comes under fire over some large real estate investments.
    Open Democracy, 12 November 2015

  • London property dispute draws in Kuwaiti sheikhas and UAE real estate giant
    A complex dispute over property involving well-heeled Gulfis has come to the High Court in London, where Sheikha Hind Bint Salim Hamud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and two other claimants are pursuing a legal action involving six defendants, including two Kuwaiti royal’s sisters and Hussain Sajwani, chairman of UAE developer Damac Properties.
    Gulf States News, 12 November 2015

  • PHOTO: David Cameron
    The UK prime minister gives a speech on the UK's renegotiation with Brussels, ahead of an in/out referendum, leading to a joke with The Guardian and some unflattering comment from The Daily Mail and The Sun, 10 and 11 November 2015

  • Banking on privilege in the UAE
    The priority banking segment is bucking the wider market trends in the emirates and providing financial institutions with some much-needed growth.
    Gulf News, 5 November 2015

  • Tough decisions for Riyadh when it comes to its spending plans
    The kingdom will have to make some unpalatable choices if the fiscal squeeze continues. A chance to set out its priorities will come with the publication of the new budget in December.
    MEED, 2 November 2015

  • Surrounded by problems
    Saudi Arabia is facing political and military problems almost wherever it looks, both at home and abroad, and the risks of instability are edging upwards.
    MEED, 1 November 2015

  • The art of attraction
    Given what it has to offer, Oman should attract far more tourists than it does. A new government strategy due to be released soon could help it to make more of its potential.
    The Gulf, 1 November 2015

  • Gulf governments 'defund' assets in hostile macro environment
    Fiscal pressures from low oil prices are starting to hit home and a policy response is unavoidable, but the willingness of GCC governments to deal with the issue comprehensively remains uncertain.
    Gulf States News, 22 October 2015

  • Gulf banks await an IPO pick-up
    A backlog is forming among companies in the region wanting to list their shares on the stock market. They just need a bit of market stability.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 21 October 2015

  • Oman's banks struggle to cope with low oil prices
    Unfortunately for the country's lenders, there seems little prospect of prices bouncing back any time soon.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 20 October 2015

  • Lack of funding leading to severe food insecurity for Syrian refugees
    The World Food Programme has been forced to cut back on aid to refugees inside and outside Syria as a result of a shortfall in donor support this year.
    Salaam Gateway, 16 October 2015

  • Oman's ports prepare for growth from Iran deal
    Shipping hubs could benefit from a pick-up in trade with Iran once sanctions are lifted.
    MEED, 6 October 2015

  • Qatar faces up to a future of cheaper gas
    Doha is a heavyweight in the international market for liquefied natural gas, and the revenues it has earned from those gas sales have bankrolled the development of the country, but its market dominance is coming to an end.
    MEED, 6 October 2015

  • Dubai adjusts to a cooler real estate market
    The property sector is starting to accept that lower prices might be here to stay.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 5 October 2015

  • PHOTO:  North Korea's ambassador to the UK Hyon Hak-bon
    Diplomat says his country is prepared to launch long-range missiles "at any time", despite the threat of further sanctions.
    The Guardian, 1 October 2015

  • Weathering the storm
    The Gulf's banking systems appear remarkably resilient in the face of low oil prices, for now.
    The Gulf, 1 October 2015

  • The Middle East's bank branch deficit
    Consumers across the Middle East and North African countries would benefit from far more extensive branch networks.
    MEED, 28 September 2015

  • Crowdfunding platforms are developing their Sharia-compliant credentials
    Sites like Zoomaal, Beehive and are opening up new ways for businesses in the Middle East to raise funding.
    Salaam Gateway, 12 September 2015

  • PHOTO:  Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan
    Flangan says that Ireland will do what it can to keep Britain in the EU, in The Times, amid fears that a 'Brexit' would harm the Northern Ireland peace process, in The Guardian, 7 and 8 September 2015

  • How Leap Technologies raised Shaira-compliant financing online
    Case study on how one Dubai-based company used P2P finance site Beehive to raise money for expansion.
    Salaam Gateway, 4 September 2015

  • PHOTO:  The Mercado do Bolhão, Porto
    Used to illustrate a story about signs of recovery in the Portuguese economy.
    Worldcrunch, 3 September 2015

  • Making its marque
    Iran’s automotive sector should be one of the big winners from the deal to lift sanctions, but some Chinese brands could find themselves out of favour.
    The Gulf, 1 September 2015

  • PHOTO:  Natalie Jaresko
    Ukrainian finance minister confirms that her country has managed to reschedule its debts.
    Turun Sanomat, 27 August 2015

  • The challenges of becoming a 'smart city'
    The ‘internet of things’ makes it possible to develop new services that save energy and time, but it needs heavy investment and requires governments to collaborate and be more open to the public in ways that some in the Middle East are likely to find rather uncomfortable.
    MEED, 24 August 2015

  • Bottled water brands battle for market share
    New labelling rules are opening up the market to international players.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 18 August 2015

  • PHOTO:  Kuwait City's water towers at dusk
    A story about low oil prices and a nosedive in the country's foreign trade surplus.
    The National, 16 August 2015

  • Turning on the taps
    Iran’s oil and gas sector should be one of the areas that benefits most quickly from the deal with the US and other international powers.
    The Gulf, August 2015

  • Cashing in on mobility
    Can new e-money services alleviate some of the difficulties facing Yemenis during wartime?
    The Gulf, August 2015

  • UK authorities and Gulf banks join forces to to cut off sources of Islamic State funding
    Banks in some of the main financial centres in the Gulf, including Dubai, Qatar and Kuwait, have started working with the UK authorities to tackle funding flows to Islamic State and other radical groups.
    Gulf States News, 30 July 2015

  • Amman's nuclear option
    Over the past 12 months, Jordan has made significant progress with its ambition to develop nuclear power.
    MEED, 29 July 2015

  • PHOTO:  Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg
    The former Lib Dem leader is offering his speaking services for $55,000 a time.
    The Guardian, 22 July 2015

  • PHOTO:  UK defence secretary Michael Fallon
    UK defence secretary defends the practice of embedding British troops with allied forces, after news emerges of British involvement in bombing Syria despite a parliamentary vote against such action.
    The Times, 21 July 2015

  • PHOTO:  Michael Fallon
    UK Defence Secretary suggests that the UK might take further military action against ISIS in Syria.
    The Independent, 20 July 2015

  • PHOTO:  Arseniy Yatsenyuk
    Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yatsenyuk in a discussion about the risks of debt default.
    The Wall Street Journal, 18 July 2015

  • PHOTO:  Arseniy Yatsenyuk
    Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk tells an audience at Chatham House in London that ‘Putin’s aim is to eliminate Ukraine — I have no doubt’.
    The Times, 16 July 2015

  • The viability of Islamic State
    However unpalatable to the international community and despite what its critics says, ISIS does indeed look very much like a state, but is it on the path to becoming another failed state.
    The Middle East, 2 July 2015

  • Tehran's dwindling water supplies
    Iran is suffering from water shortages again this year – a consequence of decades of mismanagement.
    MEED, 16 July 2015

  • Unlocking Iran's mining potential
    The country's large mining sector needs international capital and expertise to expand.
    MEED, 15 July 2015

  • PHOTO:  Shaker Aamer
    Protesters outside the UK Houses of Parliament use a giant inflatable model of Aamer, as UK politicians urge Obama to release the Guantánamo Bay detainee.
    The Guardian, 3 July 2015

  • Hard graft
    Corruption is endemic around the Middle East and official policies to weed out malpractice and fraud are rarely seen as effective.
    MEED, 1 July 2015

  • Saudi Arabia faces up to an economic slowdown
    As the heat of the summer takes hold, the Saudi economy is starting to cool, and there may not be much that the authorities can do about that.
    The Middle East, July 2015

  • A road to growth
    Road, bridge and tunnel projects are often the cornerstones of economic growth, which explains why so many are being planned around the Gulf region.
    MEED, 29 June 2015

  • Huge sums being poured into regional aviation sector
    How and why the region’s airports and airlines are being expanded to fuel further growth.
    MEED, 29 June 2015

  • Low oil prices prompt talk of cutbacks in the UAE
    With the oil price set to stay low, authorities in the UAE are considering how and where to cut back. The federal interior ministry is seeking a strategic adviser for economic affairs, while Dubai is also taking advice, both from Abu Dhabi and independent consultants.
    Gulf States News, 18 June 2015

  • Gulf states are playing a dangerous game in Syria
    The bombing of two Shia mosques in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia on consecutive Fridays in May have highlighted, yet again, the risks that GCC governments face from domestic extremists linked to Islamic State and other jihadist groups.
    Gulf States News, 18 June 2015

  • Banking sector in Lebanon struggles to weather the storm
    Beirut’s banks continue to be a rare point of strength for the country, but the signs are that the market is getting tougher and tougher.
    MEED, 8 June 2015

  • Jordan's banks rally in the face of adversity
    Amman’s lenders are performing relatively well despite conflicts in neighbouring states, thanks to supportive regulations and a resilient economy.
    MEED, 7 June 2015

  • Private banks after the the global financial crisis
    Though less culpable than the big global banks for the crash, the Middle East's private banks still have work to do to mend their reputations. A set of three reports looking at how private banks are trying to restore trust, the increasing role of technology in private banking, and how banks are targeting the next generation of clients.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 3 June 2015

  • The Middle East's wars make it the deadliest region in the world
    More than 100,000 people were killed in the region's conflicts last year, far more than in any other part of the world. The nature of war is also changing in important ways.
    MEED, 1 June 2015

  • Funding pressures ratchet up for Gulf banks
    Low oil prices means that government revenues are falling, leading them to draw down some of their deposits. Gulf banks are having to turn to the bond markets to make up the shortfall and ensure they have enough funding.
    The Gulf, June 2015

  • The Middle East is an open road for car manufacturers
    Vehicle sales are growing fast across the region, often led by luxury brands.
    MEED, 26 May 2015

  • Egypt's aviation sector benefits from renewed focus
    Many of Egypt’s airports have been operating beyond their design capacity for years. Now funds are at last being ploughed into expanding them.
    MEED 24 May 2015

  • Middle East remittances remain volatile
    Remittance flows began to grow again last year, but could be hit if oil prices stay low.
    MEED, 18 May 2015

  • PHOTO:  Prince Turki bin Faisal
    Saudi Arabia's veteran diplomat warns that his country might feel compelled to develop a nuclear weapon, in the Belgian daily.
    De Standaard, 15 May 2015

  • Turkey tries to build bridges with the Gulf
    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has launched a charm offensive in the Gulf, making at least four visits to the region this year, as he seeks to soothe tensions caused by Turkey's support for the Arab Spring revolts.
    Gulf States News, 7 May 2015

  • Identity Crisis: Turkey, Europe and Erdoğan
    Under the rule of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has moved further away from European integration than it's been in decades. Is there any way back?
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 3 May 2015

  • Relief at last?
    Should the Iranian nuclear deal be finalised, its economy will get a huge boost, but it could be several years before the full benefits emerge.
    The Gulf, May 2015

  • Hotel investments around the Middle East
    Demand for rooms continues to grow, especially in Dubai, Doha and Jeddah.
    MEED, 29 April 2015

  • PHOTO:  Ed Miliband
    UK Labour Party leader
    in an article in which he's described as being "like a small boy in a onesie tiger costume trying to scare off a lion".
    The Guardian, 21 April 2015

  • PHOTO:  Ed Miliband
    UK Labour Party leader
    on a walkabout in the sunshine in north London.
    The Sun, 16 April 2015

  • Saudi tourism potential remains untapped
    The Saudi authorities have long said they are keen to attract more tourists and draw attention to the country’s heritage sites. So far, however, little is being done to expand the industry.
    MEED, 6 April 2015

  • Tadawul: an opening of sorts
    Plans to allow international investors to invest directly in companies listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) have been around for years. It looks like it will finally go ahead this year.
    Gulf States News, 2 April 2015

  • Reluctant allies
    Riyadh has doubts over America’s approach to the region, not least when it comes to Iran’s nuclear programme, but it has few diplomatic options.
    The Gulf, April 2015

  • Saudi riches and reality checks
    What sort of economic legacy has King Salman inherited from Abdullah?
    The Gulf, April 2015

  • Palestine's economic revival to be delayed again
    The dire economic situation in the Palestinian territories could well lead to another bout of conflict, compounded by the potential emergence of a right-leaning cabinet in Israel.
    MEED, 31 March 2015

  • PHOTO: Natalie Jaresko
    Ukraine's finance minister tells Chatham House of the need for her country to restructure its debts, in
    The Guardian, 24 March 2015

  • Downturn predicted for Abu Dhabi real estate
    If oil prices remain low throughout this year, there is a risk that demand for office and residential space could soften.
    MEED, 22 March 2015

  • Slow and steady for Oman property market
    Residential prices in Muscat are rising at a steady pace, but office space is in short supply.
    MEED, 22 March 2015

  • The credibility gap
    Why won't Middle East banks lend money to small businesses, and can anything be done to change their minds?
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 18 March 2015

  • Slowdown expected for Dubai real estate
    The emirate appears to have avoided falling into another round of real estate boom and bust, although prices are set to dip this year due to tighter regulations and lower oil prices.
    MEED, 18 March 2015

  • Lingering concern over Dubai's debt
    Some five-and-a-half years after Dubai had to seek a bail-out from Abu Dhabi, the emirate is still not completely out of the woods. A mountain of debt still needs to be paid off, and there are concerns Dubai could hit problems if oil prices stay low.
    Gulf States News, 5 March 2015

  • PHOTO: Nigel Farage
    A laughing leader of the UK Independence Party, pictured during a debate at Chatham House, in an article about democracy and the European Union, in
    Open Democracy, 4 March 2015

  • Ports could face overcapacity dilemma
    Competition for market share is heating up among Middle East ports.
    MEED, 3 March 2015

  • Opportunities outweigh logistics risks
    Tapping into the growing trade between emerging markets will provide expansion opportunities for regional logistics companies, despite continued political instability.
    MEED, 2 March 2015

  • Thrills and spills
    The Gulf is seeing a theme park building boom. When the dust settles, there may not be enough laughs to go around.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 1 March 2015

  • Dimming outlook
    Low oil prices present further challenges to the stuttering Bahraini economy.
    The Gulf, March 2015

  • Saudi Arabia climbs the ranks of the world's big military spenders
    Riyadh now has the third largest defence budget in the world, behind the US and China.
    Gulf States News, 19 February 2015

  • Low oil prices put pressure on Gulf budgets
    Gulf rulers like to buy loyalty through a generous welfare state , but their ability to continue with this approach is being tested by the ongoing slump in oil prices. Across the region, governments are facing sharp falls in revenues this year.
    Gulf States News, 19 February 2015

  • Kuwait's bitter pill
    Despite its significant fiscal reserves, falling oil prices highlight the need to reform the Gulf nation’s economy to achieve long-term sustainability.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 17 February 2015

  • Unrest chips away at the Middle East region's heritage
    Conflict and the race to develop resources and infrastructure are placing the Middle East and North Africa region’s cultural sites at risk.
    MEED, 16 February 2015

  • Airbnb offers a challenge to the regional hotel industry
    Peer-to-peer lodging companies are starting to gain ground in the Middle East, particularly in Dubai. The hotel industry needs to consider its response.
    MEED, 16 February 2015

  • PHOTO: Wadi Hanifa
    Locals crossing the Al Elb dam at Wadi Hanifa near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in an article on Saudi-Wahhabi relations.
    Open Democracy, 8 February 2015

  • The new norm?
    Low oil prices could herald a period of spending cuts in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Gulf.
    The Gulf, February 2015

  • PHOTO: A cloudy day in Riyadh in a photo used to illustrate a piece on succession in Saudi Arabia.
    Open Democracy, 28 January 2015

  • Nuclear deal vital to Iran's economy
    Despite Rouhani’s best efforts, the fiscal outlook for Iran is bleak, with falling oil prices and ongoing sanctions eroding government revenues.
    MEED, 5 January 2015

  • Dubai hopes for trade boost with Iran
    Dubai has long been the Islamic Republic’s gateway to the global marketplace and stands to gain if and when embargoes are lifted.
    MEED, 5 January 2015


  • Lower oil prices prompt talk of reform
    The fall in crude prices over the past six months should lead to a rethink about government spending priorities in the Gulf.
    MEED, 24 December 2014

  • They're building, but will the people come?
    Qatar now has a world-class airport and lots of ambitious building projects, but it may still struggle to hit its target of 7 million tourists by 2030.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 21 December 2014

  • Maghreb makeover Billions of dollars in Gulf money is reshaping the centre of the cities of Rabat and Casablanca, channelled through investment fund Wessal Capital. MEED, 17 December

  • The small loan opportunity
    Microfinance has got off to a slow start in the Middle East, hampered by a lack of regulatory support and government backing, but the potential remains huge.
    MEED, 10 December 2014

  • The Gulf's insatiable demand for shopping (pdf)
    Huge new malls are competing fiercely for business all around the Gulf, but traditional shops still account for a surprisingly large proportion of retail sales.
    MEED, 3 December 2014

  • Morocco looks south
    The Moroccan government is keen trying to position the country as a gateway for international investors wanting to expand into Africa. Can it succeed?
    The Middle East, December 2014

  • Upgrade fails to deliver uptick in trading for Doha bourse
    Despite its promotion from frontier to emerging market status, activity on the Qatar Exchange is still more muted than in other bourses in the region.
    MEED, 26 November 2014

  • Turbulence ahead for private aviation in the Middle East
    The private aviation sector is still recovering from the economic crisis. But even as it climbs out of that slump, storm clouds are gathering on the horizon.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 14 November 2014

  • Gulf nations step up defence spending
    The conflict in Syria and the ever-present threat of domestic unrest mean the region’s governments continue to ramp up military investment.
    MEED, 2 November 2014

  • The Middle East pushes back against ISIS
    US allies in the region have joined the coalition against Isis, each has a differing agenda on Syria. Meanwhile, Iran, the one country that could really help, is being ignored.
    MEED, 2 November 2014

  • Lebanon's pleas for financial aid fall on deaf ears
    The 1.5 million Syrian refugees now in the country are putting the Lebanese economy under great strain, but few of Beirut's allies seem interested in helping out.
    The Middle East, November 2014

  • Turkey's tricky diplomacy with the Gulf
    Ankara is walking a diplomatic tightrope with the GCC these days, trying to co-operate over the Syrian crisis while clashing over Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood
    The Gulf, November 2014

  • Middle East rises in importance for Turkish contractors (pdf)
    Trade between Turkey and the Middle East has grown sevenfold in the past decade, led by a vibrant construction industry.
    MEED, 27 October 2014

  • Mobile money: Africa prepares for the next generation
    Africa has forged a reputation as a global leader in mobile financial services, particularly when it comes to things like sending money to friends and family, or paying bills. Now central bank governors and others are eyeing up the potential for Africans to start saving and borrowing on their phones too.
    This is Africa, 20 October 2014

  • PHOTO: The ruins at Apamea in Syria from before the war.
    The New Yorker, 14 October 2014

  • Tokyo Drifts From GCC's Trade Sphere
    Despite efforts to enhance bilateral relations, trade with Japan is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the Gulf's economic future.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 13 October 2014

  • Ankara weighs up its options (pdf)
    There are risks in every direction for Turkey as it considers what role it should play in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq.
    MEED, 10 October 2014

  • Talk of an Egyptian Boycott of Turkish Goods Won’t Do Anyone Any Good
    Cairo and Ankara are ratcheting up their war of words, but it's hard to see anyone benefiting from the worsening rhetoric.
    The Atlantic Council, 7 October 2014

  • Qatar Financial Centre changes tack to attract more firms
    Without much fanfare the QFC has been shifting its strategy, in what looks like a tacit admission that its previous focus on insurance, reinsurance and asset management hasn't delivered the desired volume of business.
    Gulf States News, 2 October 2014

  • Caution in the Caucuses
    Slowly but surely, Gulf investors are starting to take an interest in Armenia, Azerbaijan and, most of all, Georgia.
    The Gulf, October 2014

  • No end in sight for the UAE's telecoms duopoly
    There is little prospect of any new entrant undermining the position of Etisalat and Du any time soon.
    MEED, 10 September 2014

  • Calm after the storm
    Six years on from a debilitating economic crash and the dramatic bursting of the Dubai real estate bubble the UAE property market has bounced back and his time things are different. Mostly.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 1 September 2014

  • UAE banks surge through the Middle East's political storm
    The Emirates’ economy has recovered much of the ground it lost in 2008 and the country’s banks are taking advantage by growing strongly. But is there a danger of another round of overheating?
    Euromoney, September 2014

  • Buying time
    The extension of talks over Iran’s nuclear programme leaves the world guessing whether a comprehensive deal can be struck before the new deadline of 24 November.
    The Gulf, August 2014

  • Lebanon's short-term property recovery
    Signs of an upswing in Beirut's real estate and construction sectors may just be temporary, as a new political vacuum is denting investor confidence.
    MEED, 23 July 2014

  • Reserves of strength?
    The Middle East is a key source of hydrocarbons for the world, but reserves are growing faster in other regions.
    MEED, 23 July 2014

  • FIFA's Doha dilemma
    Why losing the 2022 World Cup might be good for Qatar.
    Gulf States News, 17 July 2014

  • Are Gulf airlines running out of sky?
    Air traffic around the Gulf is growing so quickly that there is likely to be chronic over-congestion within just a few years. It looks like regulators are not moving quickly enough to tackle the problem.
    Gulf States News, 3 July 2014

  • Going off the rails
    Why the 2018 deadline for the GCC Railway project will not be met.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 1 July 2014

  • Tightening the purse strings
    GCC governments are easing off on their spending commitments and preparing for budget cuts in the future.
    The Gulf, July 2014

  • Iran at the economic crossroads
    For all the reforms of President Rouhani, the prospects for Iran's struggling economy do not look good unless there is a permanent deal to fully lift sanctions.
    MEED, 22 June 2014

  • The race for Mediterranean gas (pdf)
    In the past 15 years, a series of large gas discoveries have been made in the Eastern Mediterranean. Israel is leading the way, but Lebanon, Cyprus and the Palestinian authorities can all see the potential too.
    MEED, 3 June 2014

  • The good times are back for GCC bankers
    High oil prices, sustained economic growth and massive infrastructure investments: no wonder Gulf bankers are celebrating again.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 1 June 2014

  • Waiting for a windfall from Iran
    Can Dubai take advantage of Tehran's rapprochement with the West to once again become Iran's de facto financial link to the world?
    Euromoney, June 2014

  • Tehran eyes up investment office in Dubai
    Iran is exploring the option of setting up an inward investment office in Dubai, to help funnel money into the Islamic Republic if and when a deal is done to resolve the stand-off over the country’s nuclear programme.
    Gulf States News, 22 May 2014

  • Saudi aviation sector gets competitive
    Two new airlines are about to launch in Saudi Arabia, bringing much needed competition to the domestic market, but have the new operators learnt the lessons from past failures?
    MEED, 20 May 2014

  • Seizing an opportunity from a crisis
    Russia's annexation of Crimea and its threatening attitude towards eastern Ukraine are forcing European countries to seek new sources of energy. Can the Gulf states like Qatar, Iran and Iraq step in to fill the gap?
    The Middle East, May 2014

  • The ebb and flow of populations
    A look at immigration around the Middle East and North Africa and what lies behind the trends.
    MEED, 30 April 2014

  • Non-oil growth gains some momentum
    More Middle East countries are making headway with their economic diversification targets, especially in the Gulf.
    MEED, 22 April 2014

  • Rising oil exports give Iran taste of potential gains
    The chances of a comprehensive nuclear deal with the US and others remain finely balanced, but there are signs that the Iranian economy is already benefiting from the limited sanctions relief agreed to date.
    Gulf States News, 17 April 2014

  • Qatar ramps up defence spending
    Doha has introduced national service alongside a sharp rise in defence spending.
    MEED, 14 April 2014

  • Investment banks play a waiting game in Saudi Arabia
    The IPO market might be picking up but overall investment banking activity in the country remains subdued. Despite that, the market's potential means most banks will stick around in the hope of better times in the future.
    Euromoney, April 2014

  • PHOTO: Vernon Coaker
    , UK shadow defence minister, speaking at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
    The Telegraph
    . 25 March 2014

  • PHOTO: Kuwait City.
    I was interested in the decrepit buildings in the Kuwaiti capital when I took the photo, but here it was used it to illustrate a story on car tax around the world.
    MSN, 17 March 2014

  • PHOTO: LibDem leader and deputy prime minister of the UK Nick Clegg
    C;egg attacks anti-immigration party UKIP.
    Mail Online, 5 March 2014

  • PHOTO: LibDem leader Nick Clegg
    The deputy prime minister of the UK
    gives a speech at defence think-tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Other photos from the speech published here and here.
    The Guardian, 4 March 2014

  • Saudi Arabia's housing shortage
    Only around 30% of Saudis own their own homes and across the country there is a desperate need for more affordable housing. Government efforts have over-promised and under-delivered and the situation will only get worse as the country’s young population grows up.
    The Middle East, March 2014

  • Debt relief
    Budget deficits are looming for the GCC countries but they have the financial resources to deal with any problems. For other governments around the region dealing with debt is far harder.
    MEED, 24 February 2014

  • Saudi Arabia overtakes UK to have world's fourth largest defence budget
    The huge outlay on military equipment looks like a clear statement of intent at a time of tensions over Iran and Syria and concerns about the long-term commitment of the US to the Gulf region.
    Gulf States News, 20 February 2014

  • IMF report highlights Iran's economic challenges
    The fund's first review of the country since 2011 offers a fairly downbeat assessment of the economy and lends weight to President Rouhani's arguments that urgent reforms are needed.
    Gulf States News, 20 February 2014

  • Out of Africa
    With some African investments mired in bureaucracy, Gulf governments are turning to Europe and the Americas in their search for food security.
    MEED, 17 February 2014

  • PHOTO: The closure of art galleries on Cork Street in London
    A piece of London history makes way for expensive shops and apartments.
    NRC Handelsblad, 12 February 2014

  • Looming deficits highlight shortcomings of Saudi economic model
    There is a growing expectation that, within a year or two, the Saudi government will be spending more than it earns. It's perfectly affordable in the short-term but at some point serious reforms will be needed.
    Gulf States News, 6 February 2014

  • Going underground
    What Riyadh's new metro will mean for the Saudi capital.
    The Gulf, February 2014

  • PHOTO: Skopje
    A photo of one of the many statutes that fill up the centre of the Macedonian capital.
    Der Spiegel, 8 January 2014


  • Bridging the Gulf
    Tehran is trying to strengthen ties with the GCC following the scaling back of some international sanctions, but its efforts have been met with a distinctly mixed reaction so far.
    MEED, 30 December 2013

  • Bleak outlook for Saudi agriculture
    The age-old problem of water scarcity mixed with the Saudi government’s crackdown on foreign labour threatens the future of the kingdom’s agricultural sector.
    MEED, 18 December 2013

  • PHOTO: Political Reform in Kuwait?
    A road sign points the way towards Kuwait City.
    Open Democracy, 10 December 2013

  • Interview with Hussain Sajwani, CEO of Damac Properties
    The founder of the Dubai-based luxury real estate developer discusses his company's recent listing on the LSE at a time when some international investors have yet to be convinced about the emirate's recovery story.
    MEED, 4 December 2013

  • Exodus of foreign workers causes Saudi construction slowdown
    The government's purge of expatriate workers is a headache for the construction industry.
    The Gulf, December 2013

  • Calmer waters
    A new World Bank report highlights the cost of piracy in the seas around the Horn of Africa, but the signs are that the problem is fading.
    The Middle East, December 2013

  • Nuclear deal with Iran offers hope for regional stability
    The agreement struck in Geneva between Iran and the West might unnerve the GCC and Israel but the US and its negotiating partners should not be deflected by their allies' concerns.
    MEED, 28 November 2013

  • Bombing of Iranian embassy highlights Lebanon's fragility
    The two explosions on 19 November in southern Beirut show how exposed the country is to the Syrian war next door.
    MEED, 28 November 2013

  • Mecca's building boom
    Saudi Arabia’s most populous region is undergoing a major transformation, with the 20 largest projects planned or under way worth more than $280bn
    MEED, 21 November 2013

  • Improving relations between Baghdad and Ankara put KRG on edge
    Leaders of Iraq's Kurdish province fear they could lose out as the federal government in Baghdad puts its differences with Turkey to one side.
    Gulf States News, 14 November 2013

  • Three-horse race
    Oman became the last Gulf country to license Islamic banks late last year. The early indications are that three institutions will dominate the market.
    The Gulf, November 2013

  • Politics and prosperity
    These days the health of the Middle East's economies isn't just a matter of whether a country has ample oil resources; political instability is now just as important.
    The Middle East, November 2013

  • A new horizon for the US and Iran
    The election of a relatively moderate president in Tehran has rekindled hopes for a nuclear deal with the West, but there are plenty of hurdles to overcome.
    MEED, 24 October 2013

  • Iran's economy takes heart from mood of détente
    There are early signs the Iranian economy is benefiting from President Rouhani’s diplomatic charm offensive, but any gains could quickly evaporate if talks over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions break down.
    Gulf States News, 17 October 2013

  • Kuwait's 'un-development' plan
    The overwhelming influence of the government sector is stunting Kuwait’s private industry. As the first four-year Development Plan nears its end it looks to be a failure.
    MEED, 16 October 2013

  • The risks and rewards of Etihad's expansion strategy
    The Abu Dhabi carrier has been buying up stakes in small, troubled airlines around the world. It's a novel strategy and not without its risks.
    MEED, 8 October 2013

  • Saudi clampdown on foreign workers unlikely to have long-term impact
    The millions of expat workers in the country have a month left to get their paperwork in order or risk fines and jail. Such policies have been seen before around the Gulf and they usually fade under pressure from the business lobby.
    Gulf States News, 3 October 2013

  • Lebanese banks under siege in Syria
    Lebanese banks are seeing their once promising franchises in Syria fade as the violence continues unabated.
    Bloomberg Businessweek, 1 October 2013

  • Gulf countries eye up the Balkans for investment
    GCC states are starting to explore opportunities in Europe’s south eastern fringes, with deals being struck in Macedonia, Greece and Serbia.
    The Gulf, October 2013

  • The boldest brand rip-offs in Albania
    Imitation and flattery will get you everywhere in Tirana.
    Business Insider, 20 September 2013

  • Promise of growth draws more international banks to Iraq
    HSBC might be trying to offload its stake in Bank Mansour but it's a rarity - most banks are trying to enter the Iraqi market not leave it.
    Gulf States News, 19 September 2013

  • Solar power takes the lead over wind in renewable energy plans
    Renewable energy is a nascent sector in the Middle East but governments are starting to take it more seriously, if only so they have more oil to sell to the rest of the world.
    MEED, 18 September 2013

  • High oil prices driving up sovereign wealth fund assets
    Transparency is never a strong suit of GCC sovereign wealth funds, but the evidence suggests they are enjoying strong growth.
    MEED, 10 September 2013

  • Tide turns against pirates in Arabian Sea
    Piracy levels have fallen dramatically in the past two years, but could rise again just as quickly if ships and navies drop their guard.
    The Gulf, September 2013

  • Saudi banks prospering from buoyant local economy
    ... but their limited international reach leaves them over-exposed to any future problems in their home market.
    Euromoney, September 2013

  • Merger and acquisition spree shakes up Middle East banking
    The number of M&A deals has accelerated over the past year, as cash-rich Gulf banks look to create regional brands.
    Euromoney, September 2013

  • Positive outlook for Islamic banks in the Gulf
    The combined assets of the GCC’s 20 largest Islamic banks grew by 16.4 per cent in 2012, pointing to a healthy market for sharia finance in the region.
    MEED, 27 August 2013

  • Schooling leaves pupils ill-prepared in North Africa and the Gulf
    Despite some reforms and, in the GCC at least, a lot of investment the education systems in North Africa and the Gulf leave much to be desired, with school leavers poorly equipped to deal with university or the workplace.
    MEED, 22 August 2013

  • Shia lose seats as Kuwait votes yet again
    Kuwaitis turned out in searing heat to elect yet another parliament on 27 July. Shiites were the main losers as a crumbling opposition boycott saw some liberals and tribal groups return to the assembly.
    Gulf States News, 1 August 2013

  • Islamic banking's risky business
    The sharia-compliant finance industry needs to do far more to improve its risk management systems if it is to avoid the problems that have bedevilled the conventional banking sector.
    The Gulf, August 2013

  • The Middle East's domestic arms race
    Gulf countries are devoting ever more attention to developing home-grown military production capabilities, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia leading the way.
    MEED, 21 July 2013

  • Insider dealing on the Saudi stock market Most investment bankers and brokers in Riyadh acknowledge that market manipulation happens, but no-one can say just how much. MEED, 3 July 2013

  • Kuwaiti emir courts tribal leaders
    The ruler of Kuwait was cozying up to tribal leaders even before the courts forced yet another parliamentary election. The aim, it seems, is to persuade them to end their election boycott.
    Gulf States News, 20 June 2013

  • A vote for change in Iran
    A more moderate president in Tehran should improve the tone of relations with the West, but anything more substantial than that will take much longer.
    MEED, 20 June 2013

  • A service to the economy? Unemployment is one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest problems. Only the service sector can provide enough jobs, but will Saudis be willing to do them? The Middle East, June 2013

  • New paradigm emerges for Egyptian deal-making
    The Qatari takeover of EFG Hermes may have collapsed, but other buyouts show what is possible.
    Euromoney, June 2013

  • Saudi Arabia's contradictory green policy
    Riyadh is keen to develop renewable energy at home while still selling fossil fuels to the world. It is a contradiction it will find hard to resolve.
    The Gulf, June 2013

  • Empty towers
    Riyadh's new financial district is struggling to attract tenants. Rather than rivalling Dubai as a regional financial hub, could the Saudi capital be copying its neighbour's history of overblown property development instead?
    The Economist, 11 May 2013

  • The oil price balancing act
    Oil prices may be edging downwards these days, but Middle East governments continue to rely on high crude prices when it comes to balancing their budgets.
    MEED, 9 May 2013

  • A return to the good old bad old days for Dubai?
    Dubai’s property market is in recovery mode, but with speculators once again actively flipping houses and apartments there are signs that the boom and bust of the past could return.
    MEED, 30 April 2013

  • Military spending increases across the Gulf
    Gulf governments spent well over $100bn on defence in the past year as they grappled with the ongoing consequences of the Arab Spring and rising tensions between Iran and the West.
    Gulf States News, 25 April 2013

  • Investcorp: The house that Kirdar built (pdf)
    Behind the scenes at the Bahrain-based private equity group that helps wealthy Gulf investors buy up European and North American businesses and real estate, including interviews with the CEO Nemir Kirdar and other senior executives.
    Euromoney, April 2013

  • Aiming at the wrong target
    The UAE central bank's decision to limit how much people can borrow to buy their homes may not have the effect it is hoping for, not least because most buyers these days are cash buyers.
    The Gulf, April 2013
    republished in Trade Arabia

  • Will oil be a curse or a blessing for Lebanon? (pdf)
    Beirut has launched its first offshore exploration round and hopes are high of finding oil or gas under its Mediterranean waters, but it could simply provide a new forum for domestic political disputes and arguments with Israel.
    MEED, 13 March 2013

  • The world's latest frontier stock market
    The $1.3bn IPO of Asiacell could pave the way for investors to start taking the Iraq Stock Exchange seriously.
    The Middle East, March 2013

  • A lesson in conflict for Palestinian refugees (pdf)
    The Syrian civil war is making the already difficult job of educating Palestinian refugees even harder, says UNRWA, the UN agency that looks after their welfare.
    MEED, 6 March 2013

  • Abu Dhabi revives its spending habits
    A new $90bn spending spree shows that the emirate’s short-lived austerity is over, but it will probably still miss its long-term growth targets.
    MEED, 21 February 2013

  • Syrian inflation soars as war rages
    The cost of living is rising sharply , providing another source of pain for those caught up in the fighting.
    MEED, 14 February 2013

  • Going public in Iraq: Asiacell's historic listing
    Is the mobile company's stock market debut the start of something bigger for the Iraq Stock Exchange?
    The Economist, 3 February 2013

  • Qatar's dangerous games in North Africa
    Doha's support for the revolutions was welcomed by many, but has it bitten off more than it can chew?
    The Gulf, February 2013

  • Saudi Arabia approves another expansionary budget
    Budgeted spending rises to a record $218.6bn but the government always overspends anyway.
    Gulf States News, 24 January 2013

  • The politics of apathy in Amman (pdf)
    Jordan’s elite are struggling to convince the public to care about the election for the next parliament.
    MEED, 20 January 2013

  • Waiting for a great leap forward
    There are signs Kuwait’s economic fortunes could at last improve after the most recent election, but no-one’s holding their breath.
    The Middle East, January 2013

  • Libya: Not so open for business
    Some new deals are being done, but the government’s extensive review of Gaddafi-era contracts and ongoing security fears are deterring many investors.
    Africa Confidential, 18 January 2013





  • PHOTO: China
    Two photos used in in week-long series of articles on the country (the Monday and Tuesday images).
    The Economist,  June 2008

  • PHOTO: Mali
    A series of 8 photos used in a week-long set of articles on the country.
    The Economist , April 2008