Opinion articles

Lessons of a hostage crisis

Lessons of a hostage crisis

Reading Time: 3 minutes The United States’ cold war with Iran has taken aseries of sinister turns in recent weeks. Hopes of regionalco-operation over Iraq’s future are just one victim ofWashington’s drive to apply the thumbscrews. The good news was Tehran’s release of 15 British sailors andmarines, and the freeing in Baghdad of Jalal Sharafi, secondsecretary in Iran’s embassy,

Dubai and Halliburton hardly an ideal match, business is business

Reading Time: 3 minutes When US oil services behemoth Halliburton said this springit was moving its corporate headquarters to Dubai, exudationof praises ensued at full throttle. Maestro developerMohammed Alabbar of Emaar grandeur for example recentlycited the move as proof that a global city is underconstruction in Dubai with no real estate bubble about toburst. Local and regional commentators from

Chapter 7 and the tribunal

Reading Time: 3 minutes Despite the hesitation of the United Nations secretariat andthe warnings of the Lebanese opposition, the adoption of theInternational Tribunal under a Chapter 7 mandate appearsalmost certain. The government and its supporters have stepped up efforts tohave the tribunal adopted under Chapter 7, believing thatonce it becomes a fait accompli it will break the politicaldeadlock with

Flashes in the neo-con pan!

Reading Time: 3 minutes Muslims living in Holland should tear the Koran in half,as half of the book advocates violence, thus maverick Dutchpolitician Geert Wilders recently suggested, subtly adding:“If Mohammed lived here today, I could imagine chasing himout of the country tarred and feathered as an extremist.” This was the latest in what has become an extensiverepertoire of Wilders’

Region needs real journalism

Reading Time: 3 minutes Local and foreign observers across the MENA region are inconsensus that the region lacks a key ingredient to anythriving democracy: a pool of professional journalists. Thishas created a drought of oversight and accountability. While the problem is known, there is hardly any evidenceit is being addressed. Even the institutions that one wouldturn to first, the

The Blonde on the Billboard

Reading Time: 2 minutes You must have seen her. She’s blonde, fair andclear-skinned, blue-eyed with a perfect pout and an evenmore perfect nose. She’s staring at you frompractically every billboard in Beirut and urging you to takeout a “Plastic Surgery Loan” from First National Bank, sothat you too can look perfect. Going under the knife to give you that

Ruffing it, Bahrain style

Reading Time: 3 minutes A recent trip to Bahrain, what should have been a fairlyrun-of-the-mill interview with a CEO to discuss the launchof the Middle East’s first sports car plant turned intosomething rather different from the usual chat over coffeein a hotel lobby. I was informed just an hour before the interview by theassistant to Alois Ruf, the owner

An honest man, badly drawn

Reading Time: 2 minutes While corporate governance continues to be the hot topic ina region with a still-evolving corporate culture, it isinteresting to note that even the supposed arch-exponents ofthe practice sometimes fall foul of the standards theyimpose. George Bush-appointed World Bank chief and noted neocon,Paul Wolfowitz, appears to have been a victim of a campaignto discredit him over

Wolfowitz at the exit door?

Reading Time: 3 minutes So far this has not been a good year for President Bush.First, his plan to pacify Iraq by “surging” more Americantroops appears to have backfired. Since the surge beganIraqis have been dying in far greater numbers than everbefore, and terrorist bombings are claiming nearly 120 livesa day. And, U.S. casualties are increasing, adding pressurein Washington

The so-called ‘peace process’

Reading Time: 3 minutes Here in Washington, the winners of the 2006 mid-termelections had just started to enjoy their spoils when the2008 presidential campaign already started to heat up. Nosooner had Nancy Pelosi finished her tour of the Hamadeyasouq than the Clinton campaign decided to make Syria part ofthe campaign platform. See, former President Bill Clinton used to say