Yossi Alpher, No End of Conflict

Yossi Alpher, a veteran of Israel’s intelligence services, starts “No End of Conflict” with a personal and emotional account of his role in an attempt to reunite two sisters from the Holy Land, separated since 1947 – first by their choosing different paths in life and later because of the new borders imposed on Palestine

Shedding light on a black market

This past November Lebanese authorities disrupted a smuggling operation that had evaded detection for over a decade. The items trafficked were mobile phones to the tune of 2.5 million devices valued at some $45 million during the network’s lifespan, local media reported. The trafficking network’s alleged mastermind? Kamel Amhaz. The name might sound familiar. Just

Putting meat on the skeleton of the state

Walking through the center of Beirut, Nejmeh Square, to the steps leading up to the Lebanese Ministry of Finance (MoF) is even more eerie today than it was 19 years ago. Back then, Downtown was still riddled with brokenness – with scarred streets and uninhabitable buildings that showed the results of the years of conflict.

The administration’s missing cogs

Try driving an aged Mercedes 280 of W123 vintage all the way from Tyre to Tripoli with a faulty gearbox or without a fan belt. Possible? It might be. Temporary fixes such as a pair of tights have been famously used to keep many old engines running when the fan belt has been destroyed. A

A roadmap for the first licensing round

On January 4 2017, the Lebanese government approved what many observers have been waiting for since March 2013: two oil and gas decrees, without which the country’s first licensing round could not proceed. One delineated offshore blocks, another detailed the model exploration and production agreement and set out the tender protocol. To signal its determination,

How to have a fair election

The goal of any electoral law in a representative democracy is fair and accurate representation. Many people in the country have argued that even with parliamentary seats divided among the country’s different religious groups, Lebanon has not done well in achieving this fair and accurate representation with its own electoral laws. A long-standing allegation against

Real risks and fake pathos

It is a funny thing with collective risk awareness. Human existence is full of perpetual risk, but our awareness of various risks differ. Even if different risks are equal in frequency and magnitude, some are perceived emotionally and with great and immediate personal involvement, while others only in intellectual terms, distanced from one’s existential core.

A full load of plans to spur on the economy

If there is unanimity concerning Lebanon, it is that the new government signifies a chance to put the country on a new track that will create prosperity and inclusive growth for Lebanese society. At the same time, it is widely agreed that the regional and domestic challenges are significant. Not least among these challenges is

Free minds of Lebanon, unite!

Our economy is in tatters, and we lack uninterrupted basic services like electricity, water and waste management. There is no acceptable explanation for why our country is near ruin. Fixing these problems is simple, and 2017 is our last chance to change course. There are plenty of free minds in this country that understand how

A balancing act

It’s been a mixed year for Lebanon’s retailers and luxury retailers. On the one hand, shoppers were once again bombarded with text messages urging them to hurry up and benefit from the latest discounts and offers, and passing by “70 percent off sale” signs on store windows was an all too common occurrence. Both of

Visiting Lebanon

With Lebanon looking to diversify its tourism market away from tourists from the GCC region, China seems to be an obvious choice. According to the China Tourism Research Institute, 120 million Chinese travelled abroad in 2015 alone, spending approximately $104.5 billion. Although the Chinese embassy in Lebanon was unable to provide us with figures regarding

Light at the end of the tunnel?

It has been a long five years for Lebanon’s hotel industry, marked by an ever-dwindling tourism market. With the election of a president in October 2016, however, that period may soon be over. Just like one would get ready to meet a loved one after a long period apart, Lebanon’s hotel industry is getting ready

The view from Beirut

All of the figures revealed by RAMCO’s research department confirm a slump in Beirut’s real estate market. A finer analysis of these figures yields some hopeful – and other more worrying – conclusions. Actual drops are higher than recorded The RAMCO price index, published for the third consecutive year earlier in 2016, reveals two years

The lights are on, but no one’s at home

Property developers with projects in and immediately around Beirut are in trouble. In late November, Massaad Fares – president of REAL, Lebanon’s syndicate for real estate brokers and consultants – explains that a years-long sales slump at the highest end of the market is having a wider economic impact. Developers with too much exposure to

A frank, but hopeful, view

Executive spoke with German Ambassador Martin Huth to follow up on Germany’s aid commitment to Lebanon, the development of bilateral economic relations in 2016 and to chart expectations for 2017. E   How much of the money pledged in conferences in the beginning of the year did Germany contribute to humanitarian and development needs of

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