Opinion articles

Political uncertainly, economic suicide

Political uncertainly, economic suicide

As Lebanon ended the year 2006 in a spell of indecision and instability, alarmingly little attention was given to what arguably may be, short of war, the most debilitating result of the country’s political deadlock: economic collapse. The giant bubble of confidence that has, miraculously, kept Lebanon afloat financially in the last decade will not

Dealing with Iran

Iran’s influence in the region and the Islamic world will likely continue to increase in 2007, as the United States fails to come up with credible strategies for managing Iraq or for reaching international consensus on Tehran’s nuclear program. If Washington is serious about talks, however, Iran may gradually return to the less confrontational style

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

A year of tumultuous change and reversals

Lebanon is still a wildcard in the Syrian deck. The Syrians know it and the Lebanese know the Syrians know it, so they will only have themselves to blame if they allow Damascus an entrée back into Beirut because of their inability to get along. Imagine the shame of being ruled—either directly or by remote

Mohammed al-Rumaithy – Help from the UAE

Last month, the UAE Program to Support and Rebuild Lebanon handed over the keys of 168 repaired schools to the Lebanese government. Executive talked to the program’s director, Mohammed al-Rumaithy, about the logistical aspects and political overtones of reconstruction in Lebanon. E When exactly did the program begin and what are the main projects you

The forgotten war

When Americans talk of “the war” these days, they mean the one being fought in Iraq, a war that has been percolating for three and a half years. But Americans – and a broad multinational coalition — have been fighting another war, in Afghanistan, even longer than in Iraq. As of last month, NATO assumed

Real men negotiate with Tehran

North Korea’s nuclear test should remind the world that what counts in politics is results rather than rhetoric. Especially since the “Axis of Evil” speech of January 2002, the Bush administration has pursued ideology-based policies that have failed in the real world. The US has not achieved a basic level of success with any one

“They hate us for our freedoms”? If only they knew

Immediately after September 11, 2001, while the ruins of the World Trade Center still smoldered, some of the more thoughtful members of the punditocracy and the population asked the obvious question of why: “Why did this happen? What had the US done that was so bad?” For some—George W. Bush, for instance—the answer was clear.