Opinion articles

Government vague on Paris III

If I appear vague, forgive me, but looking at the document the Lebanese government was supposed to show the assembled international donors in Paris, a group that included sovereign governments, the IMF, the World Bank and other supranational institutions, one can only have a deep feeling that it was published half-cocked. Based on this, we

Abizaid: the Mad Arab who disagreed with the President

Gen. John P. Abizaid, the most senior military officer of Arab descent to serve in the US armed forces, disagreed with President Bush over the president’s Iraq strategy—and he is out. On Dec. 20, 2006, the Pentagon announced that Abizaid, an American of Lebanese origin, would step down from his position as Commander of CENTCOM

Ras Al Khaimah set to grow

Ras Al Khaimah (or RAK as it is affectionately known by the sprinkling of expats that have lived and worked there) was the Gulf’s best kept secret—until it positioned itself as a serious investment destination. An important milestone in this respect was the May 2005 investors’ conference held in the emirate by the RAK government

Sri lankans still opt for Lebanon

Sharjah International Airport looks exactly like you would expect for an airport in the United Arab Emirates: drop boxes collect money for your favorite Islamic charities and Qur’anic societies; security checkpoints have separate rooms for women to preserve modesty during frisking; and more than half of the airport is “under construction,” an adequate description of

The last dance

Last month saw the cream of the world’s leaders, businesspeople, economists and experts meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss today’s most pressing issues. And they are plentiful as they are urgent: poverty, climate change, trade barriers, famine and disease, to name a few. But as the world works together against malaria,

Saddam Hussein: 1937-2006

In February 1991, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, visited Tehran and met with Iran’s president, Ali Akhbar Rafsanjani. Neighboring Iraq figured high in the conversation. The US and its allies had just launched the ground war to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation forces, this coming three years after the end of the disastrous Iran-Iraq

War is not the answer

When the current political impasse is resolved and the ongoing restoration of Beirut resumes, the Lebanese government – whichever one ends up being in charge – should turn a cluster of the most distressed remaining buildings from the 1975-1990 civil war into a living museum. To hell with the cost. Somewhere along the Sodeco-Monot axis

Hariri’s legacy continues

There were few more poignant and telling indicators of the impasse that has befallen Lebanon in the past two years since Rafik Hariri’s assassination than the shuttered shops, restaurants and cafés and empty cobble-stoned streets of the downtown district during this holiday season. The Solidere-run city center was regarded as the jewel in Hariri’s reconstruction

Learning a thing or two from Qatar

Twenty years ago, I arrived at an airport in the middle of a desert peninsula in the Persian Gulf. The arrival hall was basic, not one to remember, and the duty free consisted of one room with items piled up on the floor. The passport control officers were unfriendly and the customs agents scrutinized every