Don't know about Middle East but as for getting the licences,the A & P is a doddle compared to JAR 66.The biggest problem you will have getting the A & P is permission from the FAA to sit the exam.If not in the states you need to proove you require the licence and are currently working on 'N' registered aircraft,also backed up by a letter from your QA dept. As for starting a 66 licence from scratch it will mean an awful lot of studying but my advice would be to keep at it as if you want it enough the reward's are there.
For work in the Middle East, having a ICAO type 2 is a basic requirement. The company I work for will only hire you as a fitter if you only have a FAA A&P. If you have an ICAO type 2 you will be hired at a higher rate of pay as an LAE.
FAA A&P does not have type ratings where as most other licences do. If a company wants to hire you, it will be for experiance and ratings held.
Well as an ex AN lame and having undergone all mod's to gain the JAR 66 Bi,EX AN you have it bit wrong. In my opinion not many LAME's from OZ would pass MOD 1&2,maths /physics. The standard in europe is far higher than casa requirments.Mod 3,4&5 ,they form the electrical content of the training ,are that more demanding again. The rest are very much in line with OZ. Type traing under JAR147 them goes downhill in big steps . CAR 30 training is by far better.
The best is to get both....the JAR 66 B1 or B2 along with ratings to get payed....and the A&P to enhance your chances to get the job. For people having a CAA or JAR one is't quite straight forward to get the A&P....as soon as you get the signed form from the FAA.... Good luck
A Pair... I agree with you if your training was received post 1992.Prior to that it was the same as UK CAA with some difference between the split in categories. And as you've stated the Type training is fairly dismal By the way, your initials aren't A.R. are they?