Arbitration in the Middle East has a diverse and complex history. Certain areas of the Middle East have been adversely affected by armed conflicts resulting in socio-political instability. In recent years however, significant advances have occurred across arbitration regimes in the Middle East. This is a reflection of Middle Eastern governments' recognition that a modern approach to dispute resolution is an essential element for attracting investors to the region, something which is increasingly more pressing in light of falling oil prices. For example, the year of 2015 saw Iraq's noteworthy ratification of the ICSID Convention' and the year of 2016 saw the inauguration of Saudi Arabia's first international arbitration institution, illustrating a willingness for nations in the Middle East to align to the needs of international business stakeholders.
Countries in the region have concluded at least 638 investment treaties (including bilateral investment treaties, free trade agreements and other treaties containing investment-related provisions), with 7.5 percent of the region's investment treaties being intraregional.
A total of 29 ICSID cases have involved Middle FA stern parties as either claimant investors, respondent states or both, with seven cases (24 percent) being intraregional. The first arbitration brought against a Middle Eastern country was filed in 2001 by an Italian investor against the United Arab Emirates. The first exclusively intraregional arbitration was filed in 2005 by an Omani investor against Yemen. Of the 23 concluded arbitrations involving the region, six cases (just under 26 percent) have involved further proceedings seeking to annul the arbitral award and eight cases (35 percent) were settled or discontinued.
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