Author Archives: Sami Halabi

Redialing discord?

To describe Lebanon’s telecommunications sector as politicized would be an understatement on par with saying the summer of 2006 was eventful, or that Hezbollah and Israel enjoy a good game of tag from time to time. Since its heyday atop the pyramid of Arab telecommunication industries in the early to mid-1990s, the sector has become

Secularism’s time to shine

  During the rain and overcast last month, one would have been forgiven for thinking the masses of Lebanese reciting slogans skyward about independence, resistance, justice, arms, tribunals, truth and stability had been duped into believing that their approach to social and political discourse would make the sun come out and the sky turn blue.

Pricey prospect for pipe dreams

The rectangular glass walls of Fathi Chatila’s office inHamra make visitors feel much like they are in an aquarium without water; perhaps that is appropriate for a hydro-geologist concerned with Lebanon’swater woes. Chatila, also the editor-in-chief of Arab Water World magazine, has been leading a campaign aimed at changing the heavily-indebted Lebanese government’s expensive water

Mobile internet dongle

State sponsored execution

The Lebanese are in the unfortunate position of empathizing with Vladimir and Estragon, the aimless dramatis personae from Samuel Beckett’s legendary “Waiting for Godot,” over their own absurdist Internet tragicomedy. Recently, signs have emerged that the country could be on the cusp of reaching a solution to its telecommunications purgatory. But, with the usual governmental

Harb’s divisive idea of ’diversity’

  As the wheels slowly fell off yet another ‘national unity’ government last month, Lebanon’s political class apparently had enough time to re-hash some old ideas and present them as legislation. But of all the bad ideas that Lebanese politicians have come up with to preserve the “diversity” of the country, the most recent draft

Oil Law: Missing the tide

    Oil has been interchangeably called “black gold” and the “devil’s excrement,” having both enriched the coffers of nations and pit them at war; it creates the capital for investment yet often destroys the development of other sectors in an economy.  It is perhaps fitting then, that Lebanese politicians have recently found renewed impetus to

Q&A with Raya Hassan

  Raya Hassan is Lebanon’s finance minister. Saddled with a debt  around one-and-a-half times the size of the country’s economic output, a gaping deficit and a lack of infrastructure, she is tasked with making a method out of the madness. In an exclusive interview Hassan sat down with Executive to discuss everything from her ministry’s

Time of mixed fortunes

  During the civil war, Beirut’s Commodore Hotel acted as a shelter for the various journalists and dignitaries who would brave the chaos to try and understand why this small but promising Mediterranean nation had fallen prey to the ravages of conflict. Twenty years since the guns fell (relatively) silent, and with many a former

Pipe dreams

  Politics and economics have always had an abusive relationship in Lebanon, with the latter habitually falling victim to the former’s unpredictable behavior. Like any odd couple, there are times when they get along, if only to fall back into a vicious cycle that consumes them both. As 2010 began there was optimism in the