In the last chapter, we saw the transformational impact of oil on the economies and societies of the subregion. This strategic commodity has shaped the geoeconomy of the Middle East as well. At the same time, it also gave the Gulf states an historically unprecedented opportunity to break out of the coredependent chain of commodity exporters apparently always on the margins of the system-shaping capitalist orbit. But, as we saw, oil also brought its own problems in both economic and security terms. Oil, however, did play its part in helping the integration of these economies into the capitalist system and as oil prices rose (in the 1970s) so also did the status of the oil states of the Persian Gulf as a distinct group of “capital-surplus countries” able to renegotiate their dependency chains in the context of the emerging international division of labor, itself being shaped by the increasingly footloose nature of industrial production and the rapid rise of new centers of industry in Asia and Latin America. That was the 1970s and the period bearing witness to the transnationalization of production systems and techniques – the threshold of globalization. Globalization, whether seen as system or process, has been a reality with

which the Muslim Middle East has had a very complex relationship. Unlike the Muslim region of Southeast Asia, which has adapted with relative ease to the pressures of globalization to take advantage of its many economic opportunities, in the Middle East political economy, culture, and religion, as well as lingering ideological hang-ups about globalization representing a new type of neocolonialism, have colored regional perceptions of an integrated capitalist order. And yet, much of the MENA subsystem is well integrated into the international economic order, and indeed parts of it have been integral to the internationalization of capital for decades. After all it has been the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf which has underpinned the rapid integration of the global economy since the 1960s and the natural resources of this subregion have facilitated the creation of the new division of labor (and industry) globally, which has moved production away from the Atlantic region and toward East Asia. Oil has turned the economies of the Gulf into some of the most trade open and market sensitive in the world, and also dependent on global currents and economic conditions.