Posts Tagged Bahrain
The Hormuz Strait is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point. With shipping lanes only 2 miles wide to ferry a fifth of the world’s oil trade, it is a choke point in all senses of the word. If closed or blocked, attempts to reopen the strait would concern all of the world’s powers.
The obvious implications of any closure of the Hormuz Strait are stark. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, almost 17 million barrels of oil were transported daily through the Strait last year, representing nearly 20% of global oil trade. (Most Gulf oil exports now head to Asia.) A number of analysts predict prices for oil would jump 100%.
Closely neighboring Iran, most of the Arab Gulf countries would find themselves at risk and their economies under pressure. Instead of benefiting from a windfall from sudden increases in the price of oil, they would be dealing with increased security and logistical costs, a fleeing expatriate workforce, flight of investment capital and a squeeze on resource demands.
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When protestors first took to the streets across the Middle East early this year, the world watched as thousands of Arabs demanded an end to governments that were corrupt and self-serving. Dubbed the Arab Spring, it was a movement propelled by technology, imbued with optimism for change, and aiming to create a more equitable economy.
After the initial blush with relatively peaceful demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, the social revolution has led to strife rather than reform, as Yemen, Bahrain and Egypt have all witnessed bloody protests, while Syria and Libya have been plunged into all-out civil war. Much of this violent turn of events, says Wharton’s Stuart Diamond, is because of dashed expectations.
“Entrepreneurs know that the idea is just the start; without building out an enterprise, no value is created,” says Diamond, who teaches negotiation courses at Wharton, and is a Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author of Getting More: How To Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World. “This is the problem with the Arab Spring. Now that many have more power, they actually have to do the hard work to build out a different sort of economy.”
Another failing of the movement is the emphasis on past grievances — putting Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak on trial, Diamond says, is the wrong way to start rebuilding Egypt. “Negotiate with him on what he and others in his circle will provide,” he suggests. “Leave them with something to get them to agree. Now that would better help in building a new Egypt than a trial of a sick old man.”
For those challenging leadership, such as protestors in Syria, the best thing would be to avoid confrontation, he adds. “If Syrian protestors stop the violence, all the negative focus will be on the existing government, which will not be able to withstand the continuing criticism. The goal of the protestors now should be to document everything and keep telling the world.”
Diamond adds that the situation in Libya, “is perhaps the best example today of the stupidity of not negotiating … Libya will never be able to provide a better life for its citizens until the war stops. And the quickest way to do that is negotiate with Qaddafi.”
Read the story here on Arabic Knowledge@Wharton