Opinion articles

Abizaid: the Mad Arab who disagreed with the President

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

Sri lankans still opt for Lebanon

Sharjah International Airport looks exactly like you would expect for an airport in the United Arab Emirates: drop boxes collect money for your favorite Islamic charities and Qur’anic societies; security checkpoints have separate rooms for women to preserve modesty during frisking; and more than half of the airport is “under construction,” an adequate description of

The last dance

Last month saw the cream of the world’s leaders, businesspeople, economists and experts meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss today’s most pressing issues. And they are plentiful as they are urgent: poverty, climate change, trade barriers, famine and disease, to name a few. But as the world works together against malaria,

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

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

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