Explaining Middle East Insecurity

The Middle East faces an increasingly complex and fragile security situation. The region (defined by authors Swain and Jägerskog to include all Arab countries in Asia, plus Egypt and Occupied Palestine — though I personally might also add Iran and Anatolia) suffers from strained water supplies and limited arable land, along with increasing populations, stagnant

C’est la vie

The decision in early June by the United States to withdraw from the Paris Accord, the latest global effort to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, sent shockwaves of uncertainty around the world. The agreement, which entered into force in November 2016, has the goal of limiting the global temperature rise to two

Sustaining Lebanon’s rural tourism

There is a growing local clientele in Lebanon hungry for a more “authentic” experience of the country. Through word of mouth and social media, rural activities, such as fruit picking and hiking, are slowly moving from small groups of connoisseurs to being embraced by a broader public. Guesthouses across the country, once informal, are becoming

Lebanon: A new destination for religious tourism?

Mosques, maqams, cathedrals, monasteries, zawiyas, madrassas, a synagogue … the list of 83 historical religious sites selected for an imposing new coffee table book, published as part of the government’s “cultural religious tourism” project, is as varied as Lebanon’s religious landscape. “The book’s title, ‘Lebanon: Celebrating Our Diversity,’ is a message in itself,” says Roula

Thanks, but no thanks

The long-awaited electoral law is out. And it’s rigged. The law that was supposed to be our hope for a better future was designed to keep our political class in power. Our democracy is in jeopardy, and we must fight back. Our political class is comprised largely of killers and thieves. They destroyed this country

Lebanon is getting its tourism groove back

The holy month of Ramadan is traditionally a slow one for tourism in the Arab region, and the hot streets of Beirut have been somewhat subdued this June. But among those in the hospitality sector, the sense of expectation and excitement for a busy July and August is so palpable one can almost taste it.

A cautious revival

For the first time since the onset of the war in Syria, there is finally positive news coming from Lebanon’s hospitality sector. The election of a president and the formation of a government in late 2016, and the lack of major security incidents in Greater Beirut since the second half of 2015, have given Lebanon

Undogmatic thinking

It is not every day that a world-renowned economist touches down on Lebanese soil, but it should not surprise that such a formidable economist could deliver a presentation less than 24 hours after arriving in Beirut for the first time in his life. It might be expected that he would start with an exercise in

Banking on reason

Pushing loans onto consumers has become the fashion among financial service providers — a fashion hardly more concerned with reason and logic than proposing the existence of prefabricated tears and holes around the knees of a new pair of jeans. But, while the latter insanity is only a serious detriment if you want to use

Better direction for Lebanese banks

Finding yourself immersed among a gaggle of high-profile Lebanese bankers at a conference or social get-together can be a mildly frightening experience. When almost everyone in your vision is a banker or economist, what do you say to soften this phalanx of professionals? Which is the best buzzword to break the ice? The answer, personally

Changes from abroad

“Part II of this legislation is coming”, US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said in his opening statement at a committee hearing entitled “Attacking Hezbollah’s Financial Network: Policy Options.” The United States alleges the Party of God is a global crime syndicate and has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The hearing,

A balancing act

“Part II of this legislation is coming”, US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said in his opening statement at a committee hearing entitled “Attacking Hezbollah’s Financial Network: Policy Options.” The United States alleges the Party of God is a global crime syndicate and has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The hearing,

Look to the numbers

In June 2017, there will be unprecedented room for emotion in banking. Lebanese financial markets could express a wide array of feelings — a mix of relief (at the stability of personnel), exasperation (at the inertia of political processes), doubt (in the ability of the body politic to ever deliver needed laws) and fear (over

Banking on training and education

Besides having to dispatch their staff to rigorous regular training programs required under central bank stipulations, banks provide employees with a variety of opportunities to participate in continuous education. Training extends from honing soft skills to mandated skill checks, acquisition of professional certifications and pursuit of academic degrees. Executive spoke to five banks about how

When restaurants and tech meet

Digital transactions ­— via websites or mobile applications — have become commonplace in everyday life. From shopping to booking a vacation, most tasks can be accomplished with just a few steps through an app — at least in more developed countries. In Lebanon, those wishing to outsource such interactions to apps have fewer options, though

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