Understanding The Middle East: Economic and Strategic Fundamentals

The geographic scope of study is limited to the "core" Arab Middle East, meaning the area stretching from Egypt to Iraq. Other countries such as Iran and Turkey will be considered to the extent that their policies or internal developments have a material effect on the ’core’ area.

The course will consist in two parts. The first one will concentrate on the economic structure and business environment of the region. It will draw on personal direct involvement in business strategy making and development as well as in executing financial transactions on behalf of regional customers. Based on this experience, a description of the most remarkable and peculiar characteristics of the regional business environment will be discussed, with a comparison of the main economic models.

The second part will discuss the strategic/geopolitical backdrop of economic and business activities. An understanding of regional political ideas and of the formation of the state system is fundamental. A grasping of the peculiar nature of regional inter-state relations is also important for understanding business practices and economic flows.

Course Objectives

The course has the following objectives:

  • Provide an understanding of the Middle-Eastern state system, its roots and dynamics
  • Offer a first-hand view of the region’s economic and business environment.

Course Content

  1. The business environment and principal sectors of activity
  2. The case of the Gulf countries
  3. The origins of the state system and its dynamics.