Opinion articles

Saudis moving to block Iranians

Reading Time: 3 minutes While many analysts have in recent weeks trumpeted the role of Iran as an emerging regional power, the more astute have pointed to the remarkable role of Saudi Arabia in shaping the regional agenda across both the Persian Gulf and the Levant. The two key developments were February’s Saudi-brokered Mecca agreement between Hamas and Fatah,

Foreigners in their own country

Reading Time: 3 minutes This February, the US Democratic Senator from Illinois Barack Obama announced that he was running for the American presidency in 2008. Other than being erudite and bright, the 45-year-old Mr. Obama has attracted the media’s attention because of his very un-WASPish background and the fact that he is genuinely African-American: as his “unpronounceable name” (his

Creativity on tap in Lebanon

Reading Time: 3 minutes When it comes to discussing Lebanon’s role as the Middle East’s creative hub, it is not merely because of one or two reasons, but rather a series of factors that combine to create an environment conducive to providing a melting pot of ideas and proactive attitudes. Lebanon is home to probably one of the oldest

From death trap to gridlock

Reading Time: 3 minutes In the mid 1980s, the 10-kilometer stretch linking Sharjah with Dubai was billed as one of the most dangerous sections of tarmac in the world. Then—like now—there was new money aplenty with which young Emiratis bought fast cars and tested them on the brand new network of open roads fanning out into the desert. There

Keeping the baby and the Baath water

Reading Time: 2 minutes In 2005, the US and its allies, would have liked, by putting as much pressure on Bashar Al Assad, an internally-inspired regime change in Syria. Part of this strategy was the passing of UN resolution 1559, the architects of which were France, Saudi Arabia, the US and, exerting as much influence as they could, their

Yes, Iraq was all about the oil

Reading Time: 3 minutes We were told that the war in Iraq was waged for many reasons: Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, supported terrorism and nourished links with al Qaeda. Demonstrators holding up banners reading “No Blood for Oil” were dismissed as ignorant and naive. All wars start way before the first bullet is fired, and the

Paris III provides some relief but debt situation still perilous

Reading Time: 3 minutes The exuberant Paris III conference provided $7.6 billion in concessional pledging; certainly, a positive outcome as concessional loans—loans with flexible terms for the borrower—are more favorable than market borrowing in terms of debt service cost. The donors pledged $1.3 billion in private sector loans reflecting their concern that the sector has been constrained by stringent

Middle East coming out as top spot for emerging markets

Reading Time: 3 minutes So, you are an emerging markets investor, or concerned about the volatility in the US or European markets. If you have worries about a slowing of Chinese investments, or you believe a global financial bubble is about to burst, you may want to consider pouring some of your assets into the number one emerging market

The battle for the South

Reading Time: 4 minutes The battle is on for hearts and minds in South Lebanon. Taking advantage of the devastating Hizbullah-Israel war last summer, the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora is hoping to undercut Hizbullah’s traditional dominance of the border district through a two-pronged approach of external financial assistance and international diplomacy. The former is being conducted through