Monday, May 4, 2015

Syria and The New Regional Borders of Influence

After hosting Iran’s nuclear talks, Switzerland readies itself to serve as the main ground for Syria’s fresh round of UN-sponsored talks. Russia has just announced that it will be participating in the May 14 consultaions in the capital Geneva. The consultations will involve the Assad government, Syrian opposition, and other regional powers including Iran.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Why Nepal?

Only a few days prior to the devastating earthquake, a friend was telling me that she would rather live in Nepal even if the country is sitting on a known fault line and prone to earthquakes including a big one that can hit any time.

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Iran: The New Power Center of The Middle East

Dissecting Iran’s message written by its Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressing U.S. decision-makers gives many clues about Iran’s vision for the futue, at least in rhetoric.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Russia Reaps Early Benefits of Iran Nuclear Deal

While the U.S. was busy reacting to Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency in 2016, Russia has announced that it is lifting its ban on missile system deliveries to Iran and that the two countries have already embarked on an oil-for-goods swap under a barter agreement.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Iran Nuclear Deal: The Region’s Latest Pacifier

Amid the announcements and reactions, there is analysis, prediction and spin. The camps of those opposing the deal are the most vocal but least effective.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

The Middle East Beyond ‘Decisive Storm’

The sudden Arab coalition operation to crush out the Houthi rebels in Yemen was shocking and seemed almost out of a Hollywood script; but it is absolutely necessary just as a ground incursion might prove timely and crucial to finish the job properly. 

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Netanyahu’s Racism Wins Him Israeli Elections

It has finally dawned on President Barak Obama that Netanyahu and those who elected him have no interest in making peace with the Palestinians. What the US would have considered campaign rhetoric in the past, is aggressively criticizing as a policy reversal vis-à-vis peace and co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians. This will likely translate into less of the usual blind support at the UN and elsewhere.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

March 14th Is Only A Date Again

It was born a legitimate grassroot movement from the people, for freedom and for “The Truth.” For those of us who witnessed and reported on that glorious March 14th day in Martyr’s Square ten years ago, the date means as much as the emotions that flowed from the varied groups of people from all walks of life demanding “The Truth.”

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Monday, March 9, 2015

In March We Remember The Sweet Taste of Freedom

Today I remember a few glorious days ten years ago. It is hard to believe ten years have passed already. The only measurements we have are the voids we feel for all those who are no longer with us. The hopeful moments vanished quickly and deception replaced them.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

The Same Old Price of Opposition in Russia

The headline might as well have read, “Boris Nemstov has committed suicide” by taking four bullets in the back as he crossed a bridge in plain sight in Moscow. It’s a heinous senseless assassination, one that will never be solved and for which no one is likely to be punished. It sinks Russia deeper in conspiracy theories and mysteries fit for fiction books. However, they keep finding their way to news headlines instead.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Can Palestine Win in the US-Israeli Rift Over Iran?

I am reminded often of Palestine and the plight of the Palestinian people and their suffering at the hands of the Israeli occupation or how Palestinians in Israel are treated as second-class citizens, or their much worse treatment as neglected and abused refugees in Arab nations lacking basic rights and opportunities to live in dignity and prosper. 

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Monday, February 16, 2015

ISIS Distracts and The World Reacts

(modified and updated for the new publishing date)

The Islamic State continues to capture the world media headlines with senseless beheadings of any victims they lay their hands on, pushing horrific mass murders out of sight and out of mind. The ISIS cruelty and barbaric acts are desperate attempts to attract attention and spread fear. They mask the terror group’s substantive expansion and drive the media to ignore real crimes committed by sitting tyrants.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

ISIS Distracts and The World Reacts

The Islamic State and other extremist groups continue to capture the world media headlines pushing horrific mass murders out of sight and out of mind. The ISIS cruelty and barbaric acts are desperate attempts to attract attention and spread fear. They mask the terror group’s substantive expansion and drive us to ignore real crimes committed by sitting tyrants.

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Journalism Today: More Trouble, Less Power

My mentor, Doyen of Arab journalism, the late Ghassan Tuneni has always said, being a journalist was his favorite and most precious title. His version of journalism is fast disappearing. He could respect all opinions even if he disagreed with them. He was a journalist’s journalist and a role model in the practice of this sacred profession, that has earned itself the distinctions “troublesome” and “powerful.”

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Monday, January 26, 2015

The Throes of an Arab Spring

My mentor, Doyen of Arab journalism, the late Ghassan Tuneni has always said, being a journalist was his favorite and most precious title. His version of journalism is fast disappearing. He could respect all opinions even if he disagreed with them. He was a journalist’s journalist and a role model in the practice of this sacred profession, that has earned itself the distinctions “troublesome” and “powerful.”

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Monday, January 19, 2015

If I Were Muslim

If I were Muslim, I would be practicing my religion and not preaching it. I would be humble in my dress, actions and speech. I would quietly help the needy, protect my world and make it safer for future generations. I would fast to cleanse body and soul of negative thoughts and vibes. I would surrender by giving myself wholly and unconditionally to the creator and the sole judge of my actions and my life.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Charlie Hebdo Tests Our Value of Life

Journalists seek the truth and believe in its sacred mission to know, speak and report. We usually band together like a cult and stand in solidarity when our freedom is compromised.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Women's Affairs Reflect Society

My message is addressed to women and men equally because they are equal in their responsibilities and duties as well as in their roles in building or destroying any society.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year Seeks Fresh Heroes

As we welcome 2015, I wish that the trials and errors of the previous years have taught us some lessons and prepared us for what is coming.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas: Holiday of All Holidays

Christmas is nowhere a larger holy day than in the Middle East and for a good reason. Nazareth where Jesus and his Mother Mary hail from is in Palestine or modern-day Israel, considered as an enemy and occupier by most Arabs. Bethlehem, site of the nativity is in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank, not accessible to most.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Torture As A Human Characteristic

Have you read the CIA torture report in some of its most gruesome details? Has the cruelty of Islamist groups made you sick? Have you been repulsed by the silence or justification given to cover up the bestiality every time it occurs?

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Monday, December 1, 2014

I Survived Their Lebanon

My latest trip to Lebanon began in a difficult place as the negativity emanating from Beirut continues to build up thanks to an internal political impasse heightened by regional threats of a bloody spillover.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Underneath All The Bad News Lies Even Worse News

They do not know any better than the streets they roam and live in. They are abused, trafficked, forced into a life of drugs and prostitution; they are made to do things no child should be exposed to. Yet, they are out of our sight. During the day they are busy surviving the many challenges thrown at them, and at night they find shelter under a bridge or in the shadows of a run-down building. A homeless child with a connection to a powerful tent-owner is invited in, thus feeling safe from a slew of dangers lurking outside.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

'Jihadi John' A Bad Case of Western-Fed Narcissism

Legend has it that the British press gave him the nickname “Jihadi John” after none other than the Beatles star John Lennon. As if straight out of a James Bond movie, the British Premier has ordered his top security and intelligence agencies to track him down and capture him. All media near and far, headline him and his heinous acts. His despicable videos compete with the Kardashian posterior for eyeballs. As a result, the murderer (allegedly a mediocre rapper previously) revels in his artificially enlarged ego, boasts of his newfound fame, huffs and puffs at world leaders as he performs to the camera.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Islamic Atheism Way Before ISIS

Some would like us to believe that ISIS is to blame for Muslims flocking to atheism in droves. It would be a credible charge had we not been witnesses to a shift in Islamic rhetoric and behavior that began almost a century ago with the Wahhabi movement and the Muslim Brotherhood. Under the guise of western inequality, the creation of Israel and what it ensued of injustice against Palestinians, many groups came to exist and thrive since.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

The Necessity of Separating Mosque and State

ISIS exposed an angry, hateful and lethal volcano brewing under the surface in many countries across continents.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Going Downhill and Singing Our Failures

Tell me how you measure success. Actually, you don’t need to tell me. I can probably find out on my own. Just as I can find out your likes and dislikes, hobbies, political views, your friends’ updates, your family’s peculiarities and many other details. Others, with specialized surveillance tools, can find out your secrets, from how much money you make to how you spend it and where.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

The Kurdish Way of Fighting ISIS

Images speak volumes. Terrorists of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ know that very well and employ it in their fear-instilling tactics. It is our responsibility to remember that images are often misleading. Their deceptive impact is at the basis of all propaganda.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Let The Malala Effect Resonate Loudly

For many in the Arab world, the phenomenon of Malala Yousafzai is not a high point worthy of discussion or analysis. Why should they concern themselves with a teenager who defied the odds and stood up to her aggressors, the Taliban no less, in a conservative Muslim nation plagued by Islamic fanaticism?

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Monday, October 6, 2014

This Cataclysm Will Be Televised and Tweeted

I recently spent a week away from news and what I found when I returned seemed truly apocalyptic.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Race to fight ISIS or only a show of force?

If we ask Arabs what is their favorite animal, they are likely to choose the ostrich, as it solves all its problems by simply burying its head in the sand!

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Matteh Becomes Hollywood

George Clooney loves Amal Alamuddin and he is proud to be her husband as he announced recently ahead of the couple’s wedding this weekend. Clooney is proudly confessing his love for a well-deserving woman who hails from Lebanon. Amal represents an independent woman model some Lebanese and other Arab societies are still struggling to accept and promote. She is the embodiment of a woman’s right to choose including who to wed and when, irrespective of background, religion, culture or age differences. Good reasons to celebrate.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

America Is Back Late and Pompous. Reason for Concern

There is always a good time for a U.S. intervention (diplomatic in particular, military if necessary) in the Middle East. There is also a better time, just as there is a worst time. History teaches us, the U.S. always misses the former two and goes for the latter with usually terrible consequences.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Fighting ISIS Means Suffocating It Without Mercy

In his many diatribes, terrorist in chief Osama Bin laden had a recurring theme: A deeply rooted desire to “bring America to its knees” by dragging it or luring it into conflict and letting it “bleed to death.”

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Keep “God” Out of Your Evil

This is not a column about religion. Nor does it aim to convince you of anything religious. Quite the contrary, this is purely about humans, their politics, evil, and how they dump it all -- for blame or justification -- on religion; or worse, on “God” -- theirs or somebody else’s.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Can Assad Fight Himself? How Else Would He Fight Terror?

In our new world that lives and dies on social media, officials condemn and condone in 140 characters while everyone is certain of the relevance and soundness of their opinion, reason and logic have become alien concepts.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Netanyahu: Symbol of A Defeated Leader

Benjamin Netanyahu is not a dove, nor does he seek to be seen as one. Peace with the Palestinians he does not seek or want. He wants security for Israel and if that means making peace with the Palestinians, so be it. But, in this case, he will make sure Palestinians are weakened enough that their presence or absence, are the same.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Defining Our Struggles In Today’s Middle East

The Middle East has been a hotbed for conflicts and wars always attracting the news media; but it has never been faced with so many tragedies at once as it has since the beginning of Arab uprisings and things keep getting busier. Today there are many aggressors spewing their hatered and barbarism on unsuspecting or simply defenseless victims. Many of those offenders are old, others are new and some are the “friends” of yesterday or yesteryear.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Moral Responsibility Towards Palestine

Palestinians have been struggling for a homeland for seven decades. This struggle has taken on many forms and has raged in several continents. Following a long armed struggle for the liberation of all of Palestine, it became apparent to all involved that peace is the only viable option with mutual acceptance by Palestinians and Israelis of each side’s right to exist and prosper.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Palestine In Search of A Compass

I’m sick an tired of the pretenders who say, “Palestine is the compass,” and ignore the actual abuses the Palestinians have been enduring at the hands of occupiers, jailers and hostile hosts.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

In Gaza Only The Innocent Deserve Support

After every Israeli aggression against Gaza, and they have not stopped for decades, one thinks there is nothing left of Gaza or its people to endure another incursion. Israel has never been able to bring Gaza to its knees despite the military might it rains on the overpopulated strip which Israel with Egyptian support keeps under siege controlling who and what goes in and out.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Waiting for A Global Movement of Change

What if instead of celebrating independence or national day, and instead of military parades and proud displays of national colors on hats, shirts, bathing suits and flip flops, we pause and reflect on whether we are actually where we need to be in this world and the best ways to preserve our freedom and wellbeing?

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tough as nails... and not in a good way

In any business that involves human interaction, you are bound to run into clients you deem “difficult.” In fact, difficult people are everywhere in every aspect of life, including in business. Although difficult clients are a reality every businessperson has to deal with, I find the term “difficult” to be overused and misused, even abused in some instances. Many people use it lightly without appreciation for the impact their opinion has and the weight it can carry where it can potentially unfairly damage or ruin someone’s reputation. When I hear that term used, I take it to mean: “I don’t like this person.” I tell myself not to pass judgment before I experience that person’s “difficulty”, if any, on my own.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

The Lessons We Learn From Simply Remembering

Forgetting is one of our survival mechanisms and, thankfully, it works most of the time when dealing with trauma or painful memories. However, forgetting history can yield unpleasant results; while constantly picking and choosing what to remember and what to forget is a disaster.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

When ISIS Steals The Headlines

Blame the media for the rise of ISIS and blame them for empowering an extremist Islamic group that has nothing to do with Islam and its teachings and has everything to do with anger, hate and lack of opportunities for a decent life.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Obama’s Failed Middle East Policy

It’s painstakingly difficult to see things as they are sometimes. This one in particular is a hard pill to swallow. Let’s not dwell on what we thought could have been and what we hoped should have been and what we dreamed will have been. Reality is staring us in the face, as the Obama administration seems incapable of making a difference anywhere in the Middle East.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Lebanon: Phoenix No More, But Wounded Albatross

Lebanon today resembles Baudelaire’s wounded albatross. Unable to spread his giant wings and soar in the vast free skies where he truly belongs, he is exiled on land, wounded, awkward and reduced to a nuisance by ignorant, evil men who shot him for entertainment and now are having fun ridiculing him and his injuries.

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

'Treponomics: Toeing The Thinnest Possible Line Between Right & Wrong

In an advertising-driven world where media organizations increasingly identify themselves as businesses first, the ethics line has become blurry in favor of the bottom line. Ethics are eroding fast and risk disappearing or becoming a remote memory in the minds of older generations. There was a time in history when media professionals spoke of a complete separation between “sales and editorial” in the same tone as the separation of “church and state”

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Lebanon: The Last of The Christian Presidents

The Maronite presidential seat in Lebanon was weakened tremendously and rendered almost honorary with the Taef Agreement of 1990 after many historic powers were stripped from it. It was at the time two Maronites that brought the Syrian-free Christian-controlled parts of Lebanon to its knees, ushered in a new era of Syrian domination and forced all parties into Taef to find a way to reconcile. But reconciliation came only with a serious re-writing of the constitution unfavorable to Christians.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Lebanon’s “Nakba” Catastrophe

The Lebanese don’t like to be outdone, not in good times nor in catastrophes. No matter how hard they try, they always fall back on the same trouble, same strife, same calamity, same divisions, same politics and same leaders.

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