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An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
Topic - John Sfakianakis
Gulf Arab stock markets slumped Tuesday and the cost of insuring Bahrain's debt surged, as investor unease with the political volatility in the tiny island nation appeared poised to grow with the declaration of a three-month state of emergency.
Persian Gulf Arab oligarchs are preparing their own version of a Marshall Plan for Oman and Bahrain, seeking to quell the unrest that has come to their doorstep and presented them with their most serious challenge in decades.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday nearly doubled a development fund that helps citizens buy homes, get married and start businesses, and it set up unemployment assistance for the first time as the oil-rich nation warily watches the unrest spreading around the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia will raise wages for most of its army staff, a move that follows a surge in inflation and the kingdom's first military engagement in almost 20 years against rebels in Yemen.
"It's to be expected, given what's happening today in Bahrain," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist for the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based Banque Saudi-Fransi. "The shock waves are felt throughout the region."
"In the case of Bahrain, you can really address the housing or quality-of-life issues by pumping in money," he said.