As armed conflicts, diplomatic crises, and geopolitical rivalries dominate much of the coverage on the Middle East, it is easy to lose sight of the broader long-term trends shaping the region. Among the factors driving these changes is the region’s shifting energy landscape. Once considered the world’s predominant energy producer, the Middle East is slowly losing that special status. It must now contend with the shale revolution in North America, which has propelled the United States to become a top global producer of oil and natural gas. After years of dependence on hydrocarbons as a source of revenue, the Arab World’s oil and gas producers are tapping into the promise of renewable energy. And in an era where the Middle East no longer holds the same dominant position in global energy markets, much of the region is exploring post-oil futures as regional energy consumption patterns continue to rise.
Our Special Report: Middle East Energy Futures explores the complex political, geopolitical, institutional, and economic implications brought about by these developments. In our lead essay “The New Age of Renewable Energy,” Jeffrey Ball examines whether the region can put in place the institutional and policy frameworks necessary to transform the nascent market in renewables into a full-blown energy revolution. Bruno Maçães in his essay, “Russia’s New Energy Gamble,” sheds light on how the Middle East figures in Russia’s strategy to position itself as the dominant energy producer in Eurasia.
Ellen R. Wald’s essay “Kirkuk’s Oil Chessboard” presents an insightful analysis on how one of Iraq’s most important oil-producing regions is becoming increasingly enmeshed in the Middle East’s burgeoning conflicts. In “A New Kingdom of Saud?” Adel Abdel Ghafar reflects on the implications of Saudi Arabia’s transformation as it pursues the “Vision 2030” plan unveiled by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Dianne Sutherland surveys Egypt’s growing energy potential resulting from recent natural gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean in an incisive industry report titled “Egypt Re-Energized.”
And continuing our coverage of the region’s evolving conflicts, we are proud to feature essays by Karim Mezran and Elissa Miller on the ongoing diplomatic processes addressing the Libyan crisis, and by Seyed Hossein Mousavian analyzing the regional implications of the growing rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Cairo Review Interview is with former Egyptian Foreign Minister and secretary-general of the Arab League Amre Moussa, who offers his perspective on regional security and Egyptian politics.
Finally, Joseph Fahim presents his assessment on the state of Egyptian cinema, and Michael Kugelman provides an analysis of the domestic challenges facing India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he seeks to push through an ambitious reform agenda.