Author Archives: Sami Halabi

High Hopes and Higher Hurdles

High Hopes and Higher Hurdles

Reading Time: 9 minutes Recent history would show that perhaps the only thing slower than Lebanon’s Internet speed is the process the politicians have undertaken to bring about faster Internet speeds. But just as web pages do, eventually, load onto laptop screens in Beirut, it may be that Lebanon’s online evolution from the Stone Age to the modern day

Neither justice nor stability

Reading Time: 3 minutes In the past, other Arab countries have looked to Lebanon as a model of democracy and free expression in a region submerged in autocracy and monarchism. But the Arab Spring has put us Lebanese in awe of the feats we thought our brethren were incapable of achieving, and has highlighted the systemic flaws within what

A homegrown shortfall

Reading Time: 7 minutes   The need for security is a constant refrain among Lebanese politicians and journalists, who tend to intone that it has something to do with ministers meeting their maker on a Sunday drive to the mountains, or with the ongoing drama with the country’s southern neighbor. But there is another danger that goes beyond bombs

Redialing discord?

Reading Time: 13 minutes To describe Lebanon’s telecommunications sector as politicized would be an understatement on par with saying the summer of 2006 was eventful, or that Hezbollah and Israel enjoy a good game of tag from time to time. Since its heyday atop the pyramid of Arab telecommunication industries in the early to mid-1990s, the sector has become

Pricey prospect for pipe dreams

Reading Time: 9 minutes The rectangular glass walls of Fathi Chatila’s office inHamra make visitors feel much like they are in an aquarium without water; perhaps that is appropriate for a hydro-geologist concerned with Lebanon’swater woes. Chatila, also the editor-in-chief of Arab Water World magazine, has been leading a campaign aimed at changing the heavily-indebted Lebanese government’s expensive water

Secularism’s time to shine

Reading Time: 3 minutes   During the rain and overcast last month, one would have been forgiven for thinking the masses of Lebanese reciting slogans skyward about independence, resistance, justice, arms, tribunals, truth and stability had been duped into believing that their approach to social and political discourse would make the sun come out and the sky turn blue.

Mobile internet dongle

State sponsored execution

Reading Time: 14 minutes The Lebanese are in the unfortunate position of empathizing with Vladimir and Estragon, the aimless dramatis personae from Samuel Beckett’s legendary “Waiting for Godot,” over their own absurdist Internet tragicomedy. Recently, signs have emerged that the country could be on the cusp of reaching a solution to its telecommunications purgatory. But, with the usual governmental

Harb’s divisive idea of ’diversity’

Reading Time: 3 minutes   As the wheels slowly fell off yet another ‘national unity’ government last month, Lebanon’s political class apparently had enough time to re-hash some old ideas and present them as legislation. But of all the bad ideas that Lebanese politicians have come up with to preserve the “diversity” of the country, the most recent draft

Oil Law: Missing the tide

Reading Time: 6 minutes     Oil has been interchangeably called “black gold” and the “devil’s excrement,” having both enriched the coffers of nations and pit them at war; it creates the capital for investment yet often destroys the development of other sectors in an economy.  It is perhaps fitting then, that Lebanese politicians have recently found renewed impetus to

Q&A with Raya Hassan

Reading Time: 8 minutes   Raya Hassan is Lebanon’s finance minister. Saddled with a debt  around one-and-a-half times the size of the country’s economic output, a gaping deficit and a lack of infrastructure, she is tasked with making a method out of the madness. In an exclusive interview Hassan sat down with Executive to discuss everything from her ministry’s

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