Many of the essays in this interesting collection are only tenuously linked to the overall environmental theme. Yet that does not detract from their quality. In a particularly excellent contribution, Francis Ghilès and Eckart Woertz analyze Tunisia’s phosphate-rich region of Gafsa, which is vital to the country’s economy but neglected by the central government, so it consistently produces labor activism and jihadism. Other contributors examine the illegal charcoal trade between Somalia and the United Arab Emirates, the oil-rich dictatorships around the Caspian Sea, the dynamics of cross-border environmental protests, the new social contract within the Gulf states, illegal fishing and piracy off the coast of Somalia, and the impact of energy subsidies on economic growth. The collection offers no big takeaways; indeed, there is no concluding chapter. Each story is one of almost bewildering complexity and contingency.
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