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Tumult/Reform in the Middle East

Weak oil prices hung over the region in 2016, a year of more war but also some efforts at renewal

Saudi Arabia's plan to reinvent itself dominated the Gulf's political and economic landscape in 2016. Yet across the Middle East, struggle was rife. Weak oil prices blew a constant headwind. Unveiled in Saudi Arabia in April, Vision 2030 - the brainwave of powerful deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (and jargon-wielding consultants) - was nothing short of a roadmap for the kingdom to break free of oil dependence. Greater detail arrived in June, with publication of the National Transformation Programme. It was riddled with key performance indicators on everything from sewage to tourism. For Saudis, though, the transition had begun at the start of the year, when the government raised fuel

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