Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Lebanon is bracing for its first parliamentary election since 2009, having extended its term twice since the in the absence of the security and consensus needed to proceed. While no one expects a shake-up in the results based on a new electoral law that may enable newcomers to win several seats, there are strong currents building that may alter future “election results as usual” predictions.

Currently, the Amal-Hezbollah-Free Patriotic Movement is considered the front-runner to secure the largest number of seats, not a majority, but more than enough to have its veto over any Parliamentary actions. But there are cracks in that alliance as well as the new electoral format does not assure them of all of the seats in districts in which they may have a majority of the population. In some distric...

Monday, February 19, 2018

It has been an extraordinary week in the Middle East, a region that continues to defy normalcy. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set out for the Middle East to bring some measure of calm to America’s bilateral relations with Egypt and Turkey, promote funding for Iraq’s reconstruction in Kuwait, and reassure Jordan and Lebanon that the US valued their survival. Against a background of continuing chatter about the lack of US leadership in the Middle East, a rather opaque foreign policy, except for US ties with Israel, and no inkling of what’s next, Secretary Tillerson was not accorded a hero’s welcome.

Regarding Lebanon, even a brief stopover had its complications. First of all, the Secretary spoke out about a maritime and land border dispute between Lebanon and Israel, cautioning both sid...

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Congratulations to former ATFL Honoree Dr. Huda Zoghbi on receiving the the National Order of the Cedar, Knight grade, by Lebanese President General Michel Aoun at a ceremony held on January 15, 2018 at the Presidential Palace in Baabda. 

"This award was presented in recognition of Zoghbi’s significant scientific and medical contributions in pediatrics, molecular and human genetics, neurology and neuroscience. Her groundbreaking research led to the discovery of the genetic cause of Rett syndrome and other neurological disorders that have far-reaching clinical implications."

 

Click here to read more about Dr.Zoghbi.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Recent cross-border military actions between Israel and Syria, the first since 1982, have raised concerns in Lebanon and the United States over the potential for increased hostilities in the region. The current tensions came on the heels of a February 6 inspection visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to the Israel-Syria-Lebanon border area. 

As reported in Al Monitor, “According to official reports from the Syrian army, that same night, Israeli aircraft attacked a target on the outskirts of Damascus. That same area, where a Syrian research facility involved in the “Precision Project” for missiles is located, had already been bombed in the past. Indeed, this site is considered by Israel to be a direct strategic threat.” Since the missiles were fire...

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The US President is not the only leader enamored with border wall building. The drumbeat in Israel for a northern barrier has been getting louder these past weeks as Lebanon has finally awarded permits to offshore gas exploration blocs that abut Israel’s exploration zone. While some construction has been started by Israel south of the Blue Line that marks the demarcation between Lebanon and Israel, Israel disputes Lebanese charges that part of the planned barrier infringes on Lebanese territory.

The latest round of charges started with Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comment that “Israeli soldiers may have to operate deep in Lebanese territory and maneuver on the ground on the battlefield if war breaks out.” His remarks and others from senior officials warn of Israel’s respons...

Thursday, February 1, 2018

I recently wrote about the visit of Lebanese entrepreneurs to the US to learn more about how we support the growth of entrepreneurs on the local level. Many of them have met Tony Fadell, the Lebanese-American who is credited as co-creator of the I-Pod, I-Phone, and Nest, and believe that they can only benefit from more interactions with overseas Lebanese. One of the participants, Hani Mawlawi, provided me with information on a program that may be of interest to overseas Lebanese who want to provide concrete encouragement to young people working to advance Lebanon’s economic growth.


Lebanon Science and Technology Park (LSTP) provides support to entrepreneurs to transform their innovative ideas/R&D science or technology projects into successful businesses, creating m...

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