Opinion articles

Hariri’s legacy continues

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

Bush’s Middle East mission

As every upper level manager knows, you bring the consultants in to buy you some peace and quiet with the shareholders while you’re deciding whether the buy-out clause in your contract turns out to be more lucrative than the year-end bonus. So why did George W. Bush, the Harvard Business School-educated CEO of the United

Tailoring a dream

Qatar can look on its hosting of the recent Asian games as a job well done. But the Genesis of the nation’s rise to prominence from being a Gulf backwater is predicated on a vision in which it deliberately chose to differentiate itself from its glitzy neighbor Dubai and Singapore, with its thick seam of

Contemporary art in the Gulf: time for a renaissance?

In May 2006, Christie’s held its first-ever auction in the Middle East, a sale of international contemporary art with an emphasis on Arab and Iranian works. All expectations were shattered: more than $8.5 million worth of art was sold, and a second auction is now planned for January 2007. Despite the absence of a strong

A year of tumultuous change and reversals

Lebanon is still a wildcard in the Syrian deck. The Syrians know it and the Lebanese know the Syrians know it, so they will only have themselves to blame if they allow Damascus an entrée back into Beirut because of their inability to get along. Imagine the shame of being ruled—either directly or by remote

No Room for Openness

If 2003 was a year when, realistically or not, there was hope for liberalism in the Middle East, this past year was most certainly one in which that hope collapsed. Initial optimism that a capitalist culture of free markets and free minds might emerge from the fall of the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein has

Political uncertainly, economic suicide

As Lebanon ended the year 2006 in a spell of indecision and instability, alarmingly little attention was given to what arguably may be, short of war, the most debilitating result of the country’s political deadlock: economic collapse. The giant bubble of confidence that has, miraculously, kept Lebanon afloat financially in the last decade will not

Dealing with Iran

Iran’s influence in the region and the Islamic world will likely continue to increase in 2007, as the United States fails to come up with credible strategies for managing Iraq or for reaching international consensus on Tehran’s nuclear program. If Washington is serious about talks, however, Iran may gradually return to the less confrontational style

Regime Change in D.C.

Be careful what you wish for. President George W. Bush and his close circle of neoconservatives wanted regime change … and they got it. Okay, it was not exactly what they wished for. Bush had hoped for regime change in parts of the greater Middle East. Instead, it came to Washington, DC. As expected, the