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The New Middle East that Never Was


–– Rejoinder, 19 Years Later ––
How lucky the Middle East was, I thought as I re-read my International Spectator piece of 1996, when the worst nightmares of Arab opinion leaders were connected to the political risks involved in what seemed like an emerging new regional division of labour brought about by a peace treaty between Israel and its Arab neighbours. A substantial part of the Arab intellectual and political elites at the time feared that their countries would lose in relative terms, compared to Israel, if a comprehensive settlement of the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian and broader Arab-Israeli conflict were to lead to an economically integrated “New Middle East”. They would not have had to fear this, as we know today. […]

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