Opinion articles

Paris III provides some relief but debt situation still perilous

The exuberant Paris III conference provided $7.6 billion in concessional pledging; certainly, a positive outcome as concessional loans—loans with flexible terms for the borrower—are more favorable than market borrowing in terms of debt service cost. The donors pledged $1.3 billion in private sector loans reflecting their concern that the sector has been constrained by stringent

Middle East coming out as top spot for emerging markets

So, you are an emerging markets investor, or concerned about the volatility in the US or European markets. If you have worries about a slowing of Chinese investments, or you believe a global financial bubble is about to burst, you may want to consider pouring some of your assets into the number one emerging market

The battle for the South

The battle is on for hearts and minds in South Lebanon. Taking advantage of the devastating Hizbullah-Israel war last summer, the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora is hoping to undercut Hizbullah’s traditional dominance of the border district through a two-pronged approach of external financial assistance and international diplomacy. The former is being conducted through

US presidential race heats up

For the first time since 1952—since Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House—neither the incumbent president nor his vice president is in the running for the top job in the country. George W. Bush will have served two terms, making him constitutionally ineligible, and Vice President Dick Cheney? Well, realistically, his chances of being

Days of decision for damascus

Few Syria observers ventured a guess at the New Year as to what the coming 365 days may hold for the country. The region’s topsy-turvy politics is the primary reason, but so is a trait unique to Syria: its seeming inability to set targets and meet them. The final date of the June 2005 Baath

Even big powers want friends

A friend at the State Department relates a meeting he had recently with a high-level official from a one-time Soviet satellite state, one in fact where the US waged a major, and very unsuccessful, war. But with the Cold War over and the US having won it, this nation, like most others, wants a deal

Government vague on Paris III

If I appear vague, forgive me, but looking at the document the Lebanese government was supposed to show the assembled international donors in Paris, a group that included sovereign governments, the IMF, the World Bank and other supranational institutions, one can only have a deep feeling that it was published half-cocked. Based on this, we

Abizaid: the Mad Arab who disagreed with the President

Gen. John P. Abizaid, the most senior military officer of Arab descent to serve in the US armed forces, disagreed with President Bush over the president’s Iraq strategy—and he is out. On Dec. 20, 2006, the Pentagon announced that Abizaid, an American of Lebanese origin, would step down from his position as Commander of CENTCOM

Ras Al Khaimah set to grow

Ras Al Khaimah (or RAK as it is affectionately known by the sprinkling of expats that have lived and worked there) was the Gulf’s best kept secret—until it positioned itself as a serious investment destination. An important milestone in this respect was the May 2005 investors’ conference held in the emirate by the RAK government