When the problems in the United States housing sector mushroomed into a global financial crisis by September 2008, it was assumed that Arab countries would remain immune: the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries because of their massive financial reserves, and the resource-poor countries because of their limited linkages to the global economic system - in particular, the global financial markets. However, this assumption has proven to be false. The US subprime mortgage collapse not only pushed the advanced economies into recession, but also it shattered global economic confidence, resulting in a massive financial contagion around the world. What explains the Arab World's vulnerability to the crisis? How has the crisis impacted both the resource rich and the resource poor? How have Arab countries responded to the crisis, and what must they do to insulate their economies better from the vagaries of global financial markets? This paper addresses these questions. © 2010 The Centre for Arab Unity Studies.
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