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The Arab world's economics dictate their actions

Reader comment on item: [Saudi Arabia:] Not Friend or Foe

Submitted by Jaime Eisen (United States), May 16, 2002 at 01:36

The truth is that most Moslem countries have seen their economies shrink in the last 20 years. In the case of Saudi Arabia, because of the more than doubling of the population and the constant income in number of dollars per year, the current per capita income, expressed in 1980 dollars, is 1/5 of what it was in 1980 [as dollars have lost more than 50% value in the last 20 years]. The Saudis have run deficit budgets in the last three years. When they extrapolate these numbers forward to the next 20 years, it is easy to realize that what they cannot obtain now through terror, they will not attain in the future, and instead will lose what they have now.

Most Moslem countries wasted the last twenty years. While Hong Kong, Taiwan, Israel, and other western countries invested in technology the Moslem countries promoted a backward society: mistreatment of women, and monopoly of commerce through supporters of the goverment, etc.

Egypt is in even worse shape: terrorism has wiped out the tourist industry. their failure to develop new oil fields has made them importers of oil; one million new inhabitants every eight months.

Syria is a basket case dependent on the drug trade from Lebanon.

The Saudis would like to develop the recovery and marketing of gas from the oil fields. It will take 150 billion dollars. They are looking for foreign investments and when production is established they will nationalize this industry the same way they kicked out the Americans in Aramco.

The Moslem countries bordering the Mediterranean could have built a tourist industry rival to the French Riviera but they are not going to let the foreign women in bathing suits, or less, in their lands.
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