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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Mar 6, 2011

Illegal Money Transfer Out of Egypt

One of the major factors that has fueled the political unrest in the Arab world is the wide scale political corruption. Tens of billions of dollars have been transferred illegal out of the Arab states into Western financial institutions. Many heads of Arab states and high ranking political leaders have set an example that led to political and economic corruption in their states. In previous posts and prior to the beginning of the people protest movements, information was provided about corruption that was based on published international reports. However, since the uprisings that began in Tunisia and Egypt during January 2011, more information about the political corruption of Arab regimes began to appear in the press, especially that of ruling families in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Published reports revealed that the Mubarak family’s wealth was estimated to be between $40 and $70 billion and the Zain al-Abeedin family’s wealth was estimated to be around $35 billion. The Gadhafi family’s wealth was estimated to be between $31 and $100 billion. The political corruption was not only limited to the ruling families, but also prevailed on a wide scale among high-ranking government officials as well.

Professor Ahmad Ghounaim, an economist at Cairo University and an ex-member of the board of Egypt Central Bank, estimated that “The amount of money that was transferred out of Egypt during the past 30 years was equal to around $150 billion.” (al-ahram, February 13, 2011).

This amount of money illegally transferred out of the country is more than the total foreign and national debt of Egypt. The estimated foreign debt is equal to nearly $32 billion and the national debt estimated at L.E. 800 billion. The loss of such a huge amount of financial capital deprived the country of its potential economic development and growth. The end of the Mubarak regime will hopefully put an end to the political corruption in Egypt. Professor Ghounaim estimated the yearly savings will be around $10 billion. This will ease the pressure on the Egyptian government, who is expected to move rapidly to create new jobs for the unemployed millions of Egyptians. It should be mentioned that more than 700,000 young people enter the job market on a yearly basis.

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