Author Archives: Claude Salhani

Lebanon sails into uncertain economic waters

Lebanon sails into uncertain economic waters

The Middle East is lately undergoing economic and political changes that imply the need to rethink Lebanon’s posture in this volatile geopolitical neighborhood. The two main impulses to consider are the expansion of the European Union and the recent and future American intentions for the region, and what the latter means for Lebanon. Both factors

Targeting Saudi Arabia’s ‘soft underbelly’

The frightening rise in the number of terror attacks in Saudi Arabia appears to be aimed primarily at the expatriate community. This seems like a clear attempt to strike at the soft underbelly of the kingdom – its economy. Initially, it might seem the attacks are aimed at causing panic and claiming as many lives

‘Drafting’ mercenaries

If you think that soldiers of fortune went out with Frederick Forsythe and the last colonial war in Africa, think again. The dogs of war are back big time, compliments of the US occupation of Iraq. Except in our more politically correct world, the word “mercenary” has been dropped from our vocabulary and replaced with

Winning hearts?

A CIA job advertisement currently posted on the agency’s web site is offering up to $55,000 a year for “qualified and motivated Language Instructors of Arabic, Chinese, Dari/Pashto,” to work in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. And for “qualified individuals who are able to read and translate Arabic, Dari and/or Pashto into English to serve

Libya back on the map

Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s recent political aboutface over his country’s weapons of mass destruction and his willingness to relinquish them has caught much of the world by surprise. It was a rare bit of good news emanating from an otherwise tumultuous part of the world. In truth, the Libyan leader’s decision to try and alter his

Saudi Arabia: Kingdom undire fire

Last month the Saudi Arabian authorities ordered the removal of ‘poor boxes’ from outside mosques in an effort to curtail the flow of money to what the Saudi government calls “terrorist organizations.” The move comes after indications that individual contributions to Islamic organizations have greatly declined after the implementation of strenuous controls to curtail the

Pressure mounts on Syria

Israel’s surprise attack on Syria shattered nearly 30 years of calm between the two countries, since the guns fell silent after a negotiated truce following the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Despite this, the “situation” between Syria and Israel has been one of a conflict under control. However, Damascus does periodically pop up on Washington’s political

So just how much trouble is Bush in?

Events in the Middle East are not exactly turning out the way President George W. Bush would have liked, and this is particularly bad with an election year just around the corner. The situation in Iraq is not progressing nearly as fast or as successfully as was initially hoped for. Rather, resistance to the continued

Bush’s flawed Middle East manifesto

Last month, Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s national security advisor, compared the present post-Iraq war situation in the Middle East to post World War II Europe. “America,” wrote Rice in her August 7 editorial published in the Washington Post, “committed itself to the long-term transformation of Europe.” She goes on to say: “…our policymakers set out to