Friday, February 21, 2020

It is intriguing to compare what is going on in Lebanon with other states in various stages of unrest in the Arab world. While they may not be precisely comparable or offer any solutions, they do raise a concern about how and if Arab countries can evolve into a form of democratic states, and even if that is desirable. One hears from time to time the comment that the Arabs are better off when there are strong personalities leading the country. But that facile opinion is not supported by people fed up with the corruption, economic malaise, weak governance, and overzealous role of security forces in autocratic Arab countries. What seems to be missing is a way forward, a model that can serve as a roadmap for inclusive, comprehensive, fair, and equitable change over a tolerable period of time.


Friday, February 14, 2020

Dorothy Shea, a career member of the US Senior Foreign Service, whose last post was as Deputy Chief of Mission in Cairo, has been confirmed as the new US Ambassador to Lebanon. She is no stranger to the region. She previously served in the Consulate General in Jerusalem, in US Embassies in Tunis and Tel Aviv, and several posts in the State Department and National Security Council with a direct remit over issues in Lebanon. Ambassador Shea earned a B.A. from the University of Virginia, M.S. from Georgetown University, and M.S. from the National War College. She speaks French and Arabic.

It is no understatement to say that she takes up the reins of the embassy in Beirut at a particularly critical time in US-Lebanon relations and there has been a lot of anticipation and speculation about the m...

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