What I Learned This Week

Evidence is mounting that Prince MbS is returning Saudi Arabia to its traditional authoritarian roots, just as Iraq descends into another downward spiral of civil unrest.

The Saudi Aramco IPO has been indefinitely postponed, thus preventing the embarrassment that the offering would fail to achieve the desired $2 trillion value. Instead, Aramco is going to buy the state-owned chemical company SABIC, using borrowed funds that will be transferred to the government. The kingdom also reported a drop in oil production in July, which ran contrary to its desire to raise it to keep a lid on oil prices before the U.S. elections in November. Big changes are afoot in Saudi Arabia and modernization isn't one of them! As King's College visiting professor Nick Butler recently wrote in the Financial Times: "The new [traditional] approach goes beyond energy. The policy of sh…

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