Companies far and wide are feeling the effects of the conflict

It was supposed to be the new Middle East: a quieter, neutral entrepot where Arabs and Jews, Shia Iranians and Sunni Arabs, Americans, Chinese and even Russians could all rub along in the common pursuit of profit. In the past six months that vision, championed most vigorously by leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (uae), and embraced by chief executives the world over, has come under assault—first by Israel’s war with Hamas militants in Gaza, then, this month, by the first ever direct exchange of fire between the Jewish state and Iran. Can the dream withstand the throwback to turmoil?

Thankfully, the Iranian and Israeli (largely victimless) strike and counterstrike have not escalated into a larger conflict. However, combined with the much bloodier war in Gaza and its fallout in places like Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, the missile skirmish leaves the region on tenterhooks—and its commercial ambitions in a state of uncertainty.