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Latest in Opinion


Serving growing need for higher education

The demand for higher education around the world is growing. By 2030, according to UNESCO, the number of enrolled students is expected to more than double to over 414 million. Serving that population and others requires extraordinary energy and imagination, strategic thinking, and innovation. The need for quality higher education is especially important in the …


Egypt: Turning potential into performance

The revival of Egypt’s economic fortunes over the past few years has been nothing short of dramatic. The Arab world’s most populous country has devalued its currency and carried out a series of bold, but necessary, reforms to stabilise its economy, stimulate growth, and increase employment. A $12bn loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) …

Salah Shamma

Chemical attacks will continue unless there are consequences

If the lives of thousands of Syrians have no value to those watching indifferently, the whole world will be in danger when these precedents become familiar acts, made acceptable by silence and failure to punish the criminals. Silence in the face of what the Syrian, Iranian, and Russian regimes are doing in Syria will make …

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

A small example of peaceful coexistence

Growing up in Tucumán, a town in the north of Argentina, I had the opportunity to see a small example of peaceful coexistence and collaboration between Arabs and Jews. I was reminded of that experience after reading an article by Uri Avnery, one of the leading peace activists in Israel, on the need for a …

Cesar Chelala

5 things global CFOs should do in 2018

Where should CFOs focus their attention in 2018? In my conversations with customers across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, a few key patterns and themes have become clear. Chief financial officers (CFOs) recognise that the role of corporate finance needs to change to keep pace with the world around them. Rapid changes in consumer …

Arun Khehar

Saving the environment, empowering women

Vickie Frémont, a French woman born in Cameroon, is a modern day heroine. For the past several years she has been conducting workshops around the world, using a hands-on approach for the transformation of rejects or trash into useful everyday objects. Included in her workshops—which take place in schools, community centres, universities, and even in …

Cesar Chelala

New foundations

In the post-second world war era, American-Saudi relations had been a strategic constant in the Arab world. Both the United States and Saudi Arabia had made sure to work in concert and coordinate closely their Arab and regional policies. There had been disagreements, and in some instances, very serious ones, like the ramifications of the …

Hussein Haridi

The biography that Trump could not stop

New York, NY—Rarely was there so much expectation for the appearance of a book as is the case of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House of the North American journalist Michael Wolff. And never before were so many copies sold so quickly. Before its appearance, the book and its e-book version had reached …

Cesar Chelala

A war of succession

On 12 October, the two warring Palestinian organisations, Fatah and Hamas, signed an agreement, under the auspices of the Egyptian Intelligence Service, to carry out a major national reconciliation. According to this agreement, Hamas was supposed to hand over local governance in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian government headed by Rami Hamdallah. The Cairo …

Hussein Haridi

A risky venture in the Middle East

According to a New York Times article, published on Monday 12 March, the White House is expected to wrap up its much-awaited peace plan for the Middle East. The plan would deal with the major questions of borders, security, refugees, and the status of Jerusalem. According to three senior officials in the United States government, …

Hussein Haridi

A strengthened alliance

Leaving behind his mounting legal problems, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Washington last Saturday to attend the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful pro-Israeli lobby in the United States. On his five-day visit, Netanyahu met with President Donald Trump and congressional leaders. The White House meeting …

Hussein Haridi

The wisdom of idiots: a brief morality tale

Idries Shah was a teacher in the Sufi tradition whose seminal work was The Sufis. He presented Sufism as a universal form of wisdom that predated Islam. In his writings, he frequently used teaching stories and humour to transmit this philosophy. His stories contained multiple layers of meaning and were written with the idea that …

Cesar Chelala

Reconciliation efforts resumed

An Egyptian delegation arrived on Sunday 25 February to Gaza, in an effort to bring closer together Fatah and Hamas. Through an Egyptian mediation effort, the two Palestinian factions had signed an agreement on 12 October 2017 in Cairo, committing themselves to carrying out, in letter and spirit, a previous reconciliation accord reached back in …

Hussein Haridi

A word I shouldn’t use

New York—Growing up in Argentina, I had an English teacher named Sarah, a kind and knowledgeable woman. Reading one of my papers, in which I called a character in the story “a despicable man,” she admonished me: “you shouldn’t use that word, César, it is too strong.” Now, decades later, I find that perhaps that …

Cesar Chelala

Egypt: A term of spending despite austerity

Life in Egypt did not, before 25 January, and still does not, after 30 June, live up to the aspirations of many of its inhabitants. Social welfare has been sacrificed on the altar of economic “reform”, as if that was the only hurdle impeding the government’s effectiveness to provide a decent life for all. For …

Islam M. Elwany

Middle East on edge

The 54th edition of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) of 2018 convened in Germany from 16 February to 18 February. The MSC brought together more than 450 senior decision-makers from around the world, including heads of state, ministers, leading personalities of international and non-governmental organisations, as well as high-ranking representatives of industry, media, academia, and …

Hussein Haridi

Tillerson in town

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paid an official visit to Cairo, his first since he became America’s top diplomat a year ago, on Monday 12 February. The visit came as a part of a Middle Eastern tour for Tillerson that will also take him to Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, and, finally, Turkey. In Kuwait, …

Hussein Haridi

An oft-neglected Russian connection

One of the least-talked about questions is the coordination and cooperation between Israel and Russia in dealing with regional developments in the Middle East and how far this cooperation has gone in defending Israel’s security interests, particularly, against an expansionist Iran. With the Syrian government winning the war against terrorism and the armed groups which …

Hussein Haridi

The Arabs between Davos and Afrin

On January 20 2018, Turkish forces invaded Syrian territories in a military operation dubbed Olive Branch. The aim has been to clear Afrin from Kurdish “terrorists”—and Ankara vowed to continue its drive inside Syria to the Iraqi-Syrian borders to the east, to drive out all the Kurds from this vast stretch of territory. In so …

Hussein Haridi

Whither international banking?

Strong regional and global integration have been central to countries’ rapid growth and reduced poverty. Few economic sectors can better illustrate integration’s potential benefits—and its significant risks—than the banking sector. The period prior to the 2008 global financial crisis was characterised by a significant increase in financial globalisation, which coincided with dramatic increases in bank …

Mahmoud Mohieldin

Fact or Fiction

United States Vice President Mike Pence made his first official tour of the Middle East from January 20-22, during which he visited Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. This tour came exactly on the first year anniversary of the administration of President Donald Trump. During the past year, the American president visited the Middle East last May …

Hussein Haridi

Relevance as political power

Since the beginning of time, the idea of revolting against rulers has been studied and scrutinised, yet many people are still conflated about what makes ordinary citizens take to the streets and protest. A lot of people would not have imagined that protests would break out in Iran’s eastern city of Mashhad, initially against price …

Sherif Rizq

Changing regional landscape

The White House announced on 8 January that United States Vice President Mike Pence would be in the Middle East on behalf of President Donald Trump, from 19 to 23 January. Pence will arrive in Egypt on 20 January where he will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Al Fattah Al-Sisi. He will then travel to …

Hussein Haridi

Catastrophe of the century

We are in a time of no rules and no politics. The whole world is like a cat that fell into a basket full of strings. The more it tries to get out of it, the more complicated it becomes. We have small and medium international interest groups in the Arab region, which increases the …

Abdallah Al-Moghazy

Rania Al-Mashat, deputy governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE Public domain

Tourism Minister Rania Al-Mashat: a very old, very new idea

Many were taken by surprise when news leaked that locally and internationally acclaimed economist Rania Al-Mashat was appointed to become Egypt’s minister of tourism, followingsucceeding Yehia Rashed, who was known for his quite impressive record of experience in the field and for the pivotal roles he played therein for many years. Mostly, comments on the …

Mohamed Shirin El Hawary