Opinion articles

Russian expansionism

Russian expansionism

There’s no shortage of headlines about Russia’s grand design for the East Mediterranean gas resources. An unrealistic understanding of the strategic significance of these resources and the role they could play in weaning Europe away from Russian gas fuels these claims. In reality, we have yet to see a Russian breakthrough in the upstream oil

Don’t sweat the details

After a rocky start that saw a several-year delay of the sector’s development as a result of political squabbling, in late April the Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) announced the oil and gas companies that will be eligible to bid for offshore exploration licenses in late. Executive lauds this milestone and hopes the

Self absorbed

Donkeys deserve more respect than they get. For some 5,000 years, humans have been using them as strong, reliable beasts of burden. We’ve made progress on the backs of these noble creatures, yet denounce them for a strength of will we praise in ourselves. Intransigence is in the eye of the taskmaster, it seems. Donkeys

The donkey strategy

A scantily clad singer belts out another frivolous song, and not only does her video clip get banned, she has her travel privileges revoked. A university blogger dares to criticize the system only to find himself officially ostracized and harassed. As this is taking place, a former head of Lebanon’s telecommunications company, himself under investigation

Taxation without representation

For 12 years running, Lebanon has been without a budget. This does not mean the state hasn’t been collecting revenue and spending it. Rather, it means there have been no clear-cut priorities, nor a strategic vision guiding how the government manages taxing and spending. During the past five years, the problem of finding revenue to

Stonewalled

Executive didn’t get past security at the Grand Serail. It was March 3. The access to information law was just over a month old, and we were barking excitedly, unsure if whether we were even in front of the right tree. In hand were requests for minutes of cabinet meetings. We were hoping to reach

An industry-wide upgrade

Times of change and upgrades of operating systems are confusing events, or, in today’s economic lingo, disruptive. Few things can be more disruptive than the abrupt upgrade of a whole industry to a higher level, forcing it into new ways of doing business and, inevitably, altering its whole identity in the process. That’s what’s currently

Rare opportunity

Lebanon just got a new tool to promote government transparency and accountability, as well as prevent and fight corruption. Entering into force in February 2017, a new access to information law allows anyone to request specific information from virtually all government entities. From doctors needing public health data, researchers looking for economic and social indicators,

Protect us from the modern plague

When modernity was sending out its first rays of thought in the Enlightenment Age, thinker Thomas Hobbes wrote speculatively that the natural state of man is “war of all against all.” Overcoming the universal conflict to him was the central historical argument for the formation of states. Captivating and influential as his frightful idea of

Dashing our hopes for reform

Back in 2013, Parliament extended its own mandate in part to allow it more time to agree on a fair and representative electoral law. Instead of spending four years working toward this goal, the legislature did very little with the four extra years in office it granted itself. From the second the ink dried on

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