Opinion articles

Myth busting n Beirut

Myth busting n Beirut

Reporting on the Middle East for Brazilian viewers is no easy task. The world has been fed so many half-truths from this region that I spend most of my time having to concentrate on the other halves. So, when my report is about Iran’s wish to enrich uranium, I must explain to my TV audience

Smooth as silk

The world economy was until recently a cozy club of the countries of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD – a grouping of 30 of the world’s biggest and more prosperous states) and of the multilateral organizations that they largely finance and control, including the World Bank. However, that coziness could now be

War is not the answer

When the current political impasse is resolved and the ongoing restoration of Beirut resumes, the Lebanese government – whichever one ends up being in charge – should turn a cluster of the most distressed remaining buildings from the 1975-1990 civil war into a living museum. To hell with the cost. Somewhere along the Sodeco-Monot axis

Hariri’s legacy continues

There were few more poignant and telling indicators of the impasse that has befallen Lebanon in the past two years since Rafik Hariri’s assassination than the shuttered shops, restaurants and cafés and empty cobble-stoned streets of the downtown district during this holiday season. The Solidere-run city center was regarded as the jewel in Hariri’s reconstruction

Learning a thing or two from Qatar

Twenty years ago, I arrived at an airport in the middle of a desert peninsula in the Persian Gulf. The arrival hall was basic, not one to remember, and the duty free consisted of one room with items piled up on the floor. The passport control officers were unfriendly and the customs agents scrutinized every

Bush’s Middle East mission

As every upper level manager knows, you bring the consultants in to buy you some peace and quiet with the shareholders while you’re deciding whether the buy-out clause in your contract turns out to be more lucrative than the year-end bonus. So why did George W. Bush, the Harvard Business School-educated CEO of the United

Tailoring a dream

Qatar can look on its hosting of the recent Asian games as a job well done. But the Genesis of the nation’s rise to prominence from being a Gulf backwater is predicated on a vision in which it deliberately chose to differentiate itself from its glitzy neighbor Dubai and Singapore, with its thick seam of

Regime Change in D.C.

Be careful what you wish for. President George W. Bush and his close circle of neoconservatives wanted regime change … and they got it. Okay, it was not exactly what they wished for. Bush had hoped for regime change in parts of the greater Middle East. Instead, it came to Washington, DC. As expected, the

The rich just keep getting richer

The ultra rich—those who hold more than $30 million each—have increased their assets by 8.5% to $33.3 trillion in 2005 from $30.7 trillion in 2004, Merrill Lynch and Capgemini said in their 2006 World Wealth Report (WWR). The Middle Eastern share of high net-wealth individuals (HNWI) in 2005 amounted to $1.2 trillion, representing the strongest

Contemporary art in the Gulf: time for a renaissance?

In May 2006, Christie’s held its first-ever auction in the Middle East, a sale of international contemporary art with an emphasis on Arab and Iranian works. All expectations were shattered: more than $8.5 million worth of art was sold, and a second auction is now planned for January 2007. Despite the absence of a strong

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