This work is a book to consult, not to read. Azzam, economist and head of the regional bank Jordinvest, has pulled together numerous studies of economic indicators to produce a useful handbook. It treats first the entire Arab world as a unit and then turns to succinct individual country studies. Emphasis is placed on subjects not usually covered in standard statistical sources, such as Arab bond and stock markets and the role of Arab banks and Arab currencies. Although Azzam sticks to his economic and financial data, he offers some refreshing conclusions. Among them: Arabs must join, not resist, globalization; defense expenditures must be cut; the cycle that produces extremists, religious antimodernists, political suppression, and obsolete educational systems must end -- and a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians must be reached sooner, not later.
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