It might seem odd, paradoxical even, to suggest that an absolute monarch should embark on political liberalisation. Yet, this might be just the type of outside-the-box thinking that could save the United Arab Emirates government.

Last Sunday, Jürgen Habermas declined the UAE’s “Sheikh Zayed Book Award” because of its “connection […] to the existing political system there.” Of course, it would be a bit of a stretch for a ruler to reform his political system just to avoid the public embarrassment of being snubbed by a 91-year-old philosopher from Germany. But this was just the latest in a long string…

The separate Emirati and Saudi Hyperloop projects exemplify how nation-centric current infrastructure planning in the Gulf is, and how regional megaproject competition is helping nobody. The GCC needs to be more committed to economic integration and political coordination, which can be boosted by reviving and updating the ailing Gulf Railway venture.

Read the full article here:

Internal competition and unnecessary megaprojects are drawing attention away from the human capital and technology expertise needed for the UAE to transition away from oil. (for Arabic version click here)

Read the full article here:

The current violence in Israel puts the UAE’s foreign policy in the spotlight as the government is waking up to a wave of pro-Palestinian fervour from its citizens and Arab neighbours. In the last ten years, the UAE has burst onto the diplomatic scene, from Yemen and Qatar to Libya and Israel. As many of these gambles have gone wrong, it is worth asking if the UAE would not be better off scaling back its activity and returning to its historic policy of neutrality.

Read the full article on the LSE Middle East Centre blog:

Normalisation, the Poisoned Chalice that…

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 repeats old mistakes of relying heavily on new megaprojects and ignoring regional advantages in research and education. (for Arabic version click here)

Read my new analysis on the Gulf’s economic Visions on the Fikra Forum of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy:

Frederic Schneider

Senior Research Associate at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge. Economics and policy analysis. @FredericSchnei

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store