This story by Robert Worth is about inflation in the Middle East and will be in tomorrow’s New York Times. I always get excited now when I see a dateline from Jordan. And this story addressed an issue that was omnipresent while I was in the region. Everyone, from the Islamic Action Front candidates to the taxi drivers to my host mother, talked about the inflation problem. It’s good that the Times is putting it on the front page. I’m sure that inflation in the Middle East affects us in ways few of us realize.
A tangential topic that gets a little attention in this piece is the gap between the rich and the poor that exists in the Middle East. This chasm that spans not only Amman, but the entire region from Gaza to Qatar. It was impossible not to notice it.
My only criticism of Worth’s story is that even though he writes from Jordan, he somehow manages to neglect Iraq completely. Iraq and Inflation are closely linked in the Hashemite Kingdom. Jordan used to get oil at incredibly reduced prices from Saddam Hussein. When the American invasion changed the regime, Jordan was left a little thirsty. This helped to drive up the price of everything from eggs to tea. And some people have argued that the influx of wealthy Iraqis brought up real estate prices.
But overall, I think this article is worth reading if you want to know what is one of the most important, albeit slightly boring, issues to people in the Middle East. (Jordanian friends can feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about this.)