The COVID-19 epidemic hit Iran and its neighboring countries early, and has tested health systems and governments across the region. A second crisis hit the region in early March, when oil prices plummeted after a decision by oil producers to flood the market. Our guest on this episode, Karen Young, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, has been following both crises.
These twin shocks have shaken vulnerable people across a region already buffeted by conflicts and political crises. Countries like Iraq and Iran seem ill-positioned to handle a health emergency—and falling oil prices threaten to make the Iraqi state insolvent. The virus and the spiralling effects of an oil price war also highlight the deep connections among countries in the MIddle East, and between the Middle East and the world economy.
- Karen Young, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute
- Thanassis Cambanis, senior fellow, The Century Foundation