Author Archives: Joe Dyke

A slippery second step

A slippery second step

Reading Time: 5 minutes And as if from nowhere, there was a breakthrough. Ten months after the Council of Ministers, Lebanon’s cabinet, demanded the establishment of a Petroleum Administration (PA), and nine months after the Energy Minister promised to do so, on Wednesday the six-member body was finally established. Many of those watching from the sidelines were beginning to

Romney and the Middle East: Would anything change?

Reading Time: < 1 minute As the American people prepare to go to the polls to select their new president, incumbent Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are on a desperate last minute race for votes. But for those watching in the Middle East, unable to influence the result, the question is how a change in government would really affect

Beyond the assassination

Reading Time: 4 minutes Shortly before 3pm last Friday afternoon the sun was getting in Eli Abujawdeh’s eyes. After ignoring it for a few minutes, he surrendered to irritation and stood up to close the blinds, a decision that could well have saved his life. Returning to his desk, he shuffled some papers and carried on working before an

Whose Homeland is that?

Reading Time: 4 minutes Two cars of men carrying AK-47s pull into a tight alleyway, jump out and threaten hijab-cladded women. Another car arrives and out steps a shady Hezbollah leader, the cue for special agents of the Central Intelligence Agency to spring their ambush. All this takes place on Beirut’s ‘Hamra Street’ in the latest episode of the

Revolt in Syria

Reading Time: 3 minutes One of the most significant challenges foreign journalists have faced in covering the Syrian uprisings these past 18 months has been their lack of understanding regarding the country’s society. Unlike neighboring Lebanon, Israel or regional powerhouse Egypt, Syria’s decades of stability until last year had led the vast majority of Western journalists and analysts to

The Innocence of Google

Reading Time: 2 minutes The decision by Google to restrict access to the hugely offensive anti-Islamic film “The Innocence of Muslims” in parts of the Middle East has proved almost as controversial as the film itself. Click here or on the map below to see our exclusive infographic mapping how the film has been taken offline across almost the

The Pope in Lebanon: the numbers

Reading Time: < 1 minute Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Lebanon on Friday, 14 September 2012 for a three-day trip in which he was expected to call for peace across the Middle East. Executive gives you the key facts you should know about his first visit to the country.

Lebanese in Kurdistan

Reading Time: 5 minutes As you wait for your bags at the airport in Erbil, the capital of the northern region of Iraq, a large sign reads “Welcome to Kurdistan”. But the sponsor’s name plastered below is not the Kurdish Regional Government or a local firm, but Lebanon’s own Byblos Bank. In the decade since the invasion of Iraq,

The man with your books

Reading Time: 3 minutes When Abdul Hafiz Mansour says 2011 was an “active” year, he leaves the impression that an off-the-record interview would yield a coarser word choice. As the “Secretary” of the Bank du Liban’s Special Investigation Committee (SIC), Mansour has the task of rebuilding confidence in the Lebanese banking sector’s ability to deal with money laundering, following

Prying open privacy

Reading Time: 8 minutes Financial wherewithal was not a quality Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran naturally inherited; his father was a gambling addict who was imprisoned for embezzlement. But given his penchant for priceless wisdom, perhaps the Lebanese banking system would be sage to heed of one of Gibran’s most famous sayings: “If you reveal your secrets to the wind