Opinion articles

Syria not yet folding its cards

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

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