Opinion articles

Inter Arab Trade

Inter Arab Trade

Reading Time: 3 minutes Arab political unity, from being a mantra in the 1950s,has turned into a joke, and today the Arab world’s 22"sister" countries regularly bicker in an endless politicaltragic-comedy. Politically, fragmentation of the Arab worldis clear, but what about economics? The same lack ofintegration had been true in the late 20th century of Arabeconomies as it was

Bush understands Lebanon

Reading Time: 3 minutes The US’s former ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, recentlyconfirmed that Washington rejected calls for a ceasefirethis past summer and let Lebanon wither under Israeli attackfor several more weeks. An early cessation of hostilitieswould have been “dangerous and misguided,” said Bolton, whowas “damned proud of what we did.” So, maybe it’s worthwhileasking, with friends like

Syria not yet folding its cards

Reading Time: 3 minutes Like it or not, Syria’s leaders have no desire it seems toimitate Longfellow’s “Arabs” and “fold up their tents andquietly steal away into the night.” Two years of diplomatic isolation and unrelentinginternational pressure have failed to persuade Damascus tosignificantly alter its course regarding key regionalissues: Lebanon, the Palestinians and Iraq. On the contrary,marginalization by the

Jordan-US QIZ could be better

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Jordanian economy has done pretty well recently,boasting high growth rates, attracting attention fromregional investors, and enjoying increasing exports.Regarding the latter, the kingdom chalked up close to $4.1billion in national merchandise exports last year, up byalmost 13% on 2005. Traditional Jordanian production such asfertilizers (the country’s second most important good soldabroad) still accounted for almost

Iran‘s home-grown auto market

Reading Time: 3 minutes   It’s an ill wind that blows someone some good. Tehran’sinfamous traffic congestion may clog its roads and the lungsof its 12 million inhabitants, but it means big business forIran’s car makers. Total production of new vehicles reached nearly 1 millionfor the Iranian year ending March 20, according to Ali RezaTahmasbi, the minister of industries

Gulf airlines: Ego-trips or essential?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Is an industry, aviation has always attracted the wealthy.Tycoons rarely resist the chance to have their own airline,as Howard Hughes, Aristotle Onassis or Richard Branson areenough to prove, whilst virtually every country in the worldproudly flies a national flag carrier, even if it makes aloss in doing so. Little surprise, then, to observe the billions

Lebanon: Privatization and its fiscal implications

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Lebanese government has proudly outlined itsprivatization program in the recovery paper presented toParis III donors, underscoring its crucial role in promotinggrowth, reducing public debt and fiscal deficits. The focusis on the most profitable privatization, the mobile sector,while electricity, the most destitute, is deferred to anundetermined future date. Contrary to the general perception, these so-calleddinosaurs—or

A Farewell to Cairo

Reading Time: 3 minutes Last June I left Egypt after eight years as CNN’s Cairobureau chief and correspondent. I wrote this back then, butnever finished it as I was buried under an avalanche ofpacking cases. But now I’m back in Cairo, if only for a fewdays, I’ve decided I really have to get this out. Covering Egypt was the

Formerly a haven of small-town trust, UAE sees rise in crime

Reading Time: 3 minutes I recently stepped out of my apartment in Sharjah andabsentmindedly forgot to lock the door behind me. I havealways lived in places where doors lock automatically. Iwasn’t gone for very long, but long enough for someone toenter and rifle through all the drawers and take any moneythat was lying loose. Fortunately, the burglar only got

Arab states ignore climate change

Reading Time: 3 minutes Climate change? What climate change?” These are the twoquestions I often hear when I mention this issue to Arabofficials. If I insist, they get irritated and change thesubject. Others try to play it smart and argue like some USoil corporates, claiming current climate changes are naturalphenomena and not connected to any human activity. Thisdefensive approach