Special Report articles

A direct line to the big time

A direct line to the big time

Digital has dominated the discussion in the world’s advertising industry recently, but in the Middle East, the economic adoption of cyber marketing has occured haltingly: spending on electronic advertising in 2011 still thrashed about in low percentages of marketing budgets.  However, this did not void the region entirely of success stories in the digital marketing

Lebanon and outsiders: Time for some benign disassociation

Lebanon is presented with the most serious challenges it has faced in the past decade. The economy is struggling, the internal security situation is deteriorating and the country’s neighbors pose real threats. In these circumstances the very fact that the country continues to operate can be seen as a success. And amidst everything, there are opportunities — not just

A clear and present solution

Tensions between Iran and the world powers should prompt reconsideration of Iran’s 2003 letter to the United States proposing a ‘grand bargain’.  Drafted by Sadegh Kharrazi, then ambassador to France, it had been discussed by a small group including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the rahbar (‘leader’). Iran offered intrusive inspection of its nuclear facilities, recognition of

Mapping a tinderbox of possibilities

Attempting to predict whether a war between Iran, Israel and the West will occur is an exercise in speculation akin to asserting that the uprisings in the Arab world will lead to real freedom and democracy in the Middle East — obviously no one has either answer yet; Executive does not pretend to either, not

No shelter from the storm

An attack on Iran that blocks the Strait of Hormuz would clearly have an impact on the Gulf economies. But when it comes to the possibility of a Gulf conflict, companies are extremely reluctant to talk about whether they have contingencies in place.  American technology firm Emerson, which works with the energy industry, replied to

Cashing in on conflict

The oil crisis in 1973 saw oil prices quadruple, equivalent today to a jump from $125 to $500 per barrel at late February prices. If Iran is attacked and oil tanker traffic is disrupted through the Strait of Hormuz, some 17 million barrels per day (bpd) would be taken off line and the markets would

Flirting with death

Just west of the Strait of Hormuz lies the United States Navy's Fifth Fleet in Manama which “covers the busiest 60 acres in the world,” according to military.com, the largest US army and veteran online forum. The naval command center in Manama coordinates NSA (Naval Support Activity) of nine US bases in Bahrain, two in

The boy who cried war

Among the fables of the ancient Greek storyteller Aesop is that of a young shepherd who repeatedly raises false alarms about a looming wolf with nearby villagers; the crux comes when a real wolf later appears but nobody believes the boy’s cries before it is too late. Now, replace “young shepherd” with “the media, Middle

Tablets on the boardroom table

With the explosive growth in demand for smartphones and notebook computers in recent years, it is hard to believe that corporate technology users are still finding room in their bags and attachés for yet another device. The rising popularity of tablet computers, though, suggests they are somehow finding a way. Although corporate demand for tablets

Naturally selected

To say that Internet and social media usage in the Middle East and North Africa is expanding exponentially has become a truism of our time, but like the dinosaurs that failed to adapt as the ice age covered the globe, many companies’ marketing strategies now resemble bewildered cave men soon to be run over on

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