Author Archives: Sami Halabi

The Lebanese art of distraction

  For several excruciating months the Lebanese press has been subjecting us all to a whirlwind of speculation over the prospect that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will issue an indictment accusing, in one way or another, Hezbollah of being involved in the 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri and many others.

Propping up the State

During the civil war, when the residents of Lebanon would give directions, they could always rely on one landmark from which to guide visitors to their homes — the mountain of garbage that had built up in each neighborhood over the years of violence and absence of a functioning state. Today those mountains may be

Profits over principles

  Summer in the Middle East is typically a time when life slows down;  business deals are put off until everyone has finished their vacations and the weather has cooled off. So in August when Credit Suisse issued a statement that it was embarking on a $1 billion-plus fund “with a small group of Credit

2010 MENA World Economic Forum

  From October 26 to 28 leaders and decision makers from around the Middle East and North Africa will descend on Marrakech for the 2010 World Economic Forum (WEF) on the MENA. The theme of the conference is “Purpose, Resilience and Prosperity.” To get an idea of what will be on the agenda; Executive had

A new venture for capital

When it comes to political stability, you either drink the Kool-Aid or you don’t,” says Tarek Sadi, managing partner of Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), using an American adage for wholeheartedly believing in something, as he sips a Nespresso in his office overlooking Martyr’s square. “We drank the Kool-Aid and we are investing in it,”

A new alliance?

  The battle over privatization in Lebanon has trodden the same well-worn path for decades; the left decrys the idea as a nepotistic sell out and the right lauds the concept as the only way to reform the country’s decrepit public services. But, for now, the two sides may have found a compromise in the

Derision of democracy

When things go wrong, progressive types normally try to fix them. But in Lebanon, this simple logic is rarely followed; more often than not we go along with the situation so as not to stir up tension, in the hopes that somewhere down the line things will fix themselves. But our problems don’t get fixed

United by farce

Optimists have lauded the sight of Lebanon’s politicians playing a game of football together, under the banner “we are one,” as a sign of good faith to mark the 35th anniversary of the Civil War.  But for those of us less buoyant in nature, the sight was a slap in the face. We would rather

Burning a hole

The Lebanese government has developed a habitual pattern of behavior in regards to progressive policy: the idea is lit with good intentions, smoked by vested interests and political squabbling, then forgotten like ash flicked away in the wind. When not tossed aside entirely, major policy initiatives are often simply relegated to an indefinite sentence in