Author Archives: Zak Brophy

Buses bought to die

Buses bought to die

Transportation within Lebanon, especially within the greater Beirut area, has become synonymous with congestion and chaos. The system is built, almost entirely, around the personal car with a road network that is severely wanting in both quality and structure. Tragically, public transport has become little more than a scarce afterthought. “If we carry on along

Lebanon without a government, again

Lebanon without a government feels remarkably similar to Lebanon with a government. The political establishment in this country is so fickle and dysfunctional that the cogs and levers that actually drive this fragile nation grind along regardless of the ineptitude and cynical shenanigans of those voted into office. This begs the question, how much will

The Detroit of the Middle East

Hearing people fall back on the refrain of labeling Beirut the “Paris of the Middle East” grates the nerves not only because it is a lazy cliché but also because it is patently so far from the truth. It may be true that lots of people, in certain quarters of the city, speak French, but

Lebanon’s underage drinking problem

Younger and younger people are courting Lebanon’s hedonistic bent as they turn to the bottle for a good time. The lack of a coherent alcohol harm reduction policy means Lebanon’s youth are oftentimes ill-informed, exposed to ubiquitous alcohol advertising and able to access an abundant supply of cheap booze. Between 2005 and 2011 the number

Welcome to the snake pit

The relations between the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean are, to say the least, a tad complex. Centuries of invasions, occupations, liberations and alliances have carved a map that is both ill-defined and often disputed. In recent years, the major gas discoveries under the sea floor and the prospect of more to follow have added

Assir’s economics

We wanted to avoid talking about Hezbollah, we really did. We entered the room with the intention of carrying out our first interview with Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir where he didn’t mention the ‘Iranian Party’ — as he calls the movement led by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Yet, it was not that simple. Assir, one of Lebanon’s

The death of national policy making

Let’s be honest about it: policy politics in Lebanon was already all but non-existent. Whether politicians had the desire or the wherewithal to deliver policies that addressed fundamental issues — such as the nation’s corroded infrastructure and bloated public debt — was never of much importance. Loyalty to the major confessional leaders, their parties and

Powerless in a pipe dream

The oft-touted promise of great gas wealth under the sea floor off Lebanon’s coast has recently compelled the nation’s eyes toward the western horizon. There is a slowly growing sense of inevitability building around Lebanon’s potential hydrocarbon windfall, which was further accelerated by the appointment of the board for the Petroleum Administration in late 2012. 

Where is the private sector?

The Higher Council for Privatization (HCP) was created nine years ago; since then there have been no successful privatization programs, and after six years the public-private partnership (PPP) law is still gathering dust in Parliament. Executive challenged the Secretary General, Ziad Hayek, to find out why his office still exists.     Has the HCP failed

The problem with Lebanon’s new job site

Are you unemployed? Have you found yourself eyeing up employment opportunities in the Gulf, the US, Europe…anywhere but Lebanon? Well fear not, the Lebanese government’s very own National Employment Office (NEO) has launched a new online job finding service. NEO to the rescue, or possibly not. Intrigued as to what kinds of opportunities are awaiting