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U.S. Names Ambassador to Syria; Different Ali Tajeddine Onboard Ethiopian Airlines Crash

Sources are reporting that the new American ambassador to Damascus will be Robert Ford, former ambassador to Algeria and current deputy ambassador to Iraq. It’s funny: I was having tea with an NPR journalist yesterday afternoon and we were remarking on the fact that we still have no inkling of what the Obama Administration’s Syria … Continue reading

Electoral Systems and Lebanon

A friend of mine recently drew my attention to the fact that the ministerial statement (al-bayan al-wizari) of Saad al-Hariri’s government contains a surprising clause: a commitment to begin developing a new electoral law for the 2013 parliamentary elections within the next eighteen months (see article no. 20) It’s not clear to me how binding … Continue reading

Quid Pro Quo

(The scene: A Beirut cafe) Abu Michel: Did you hear that they’re trying to lower the voting age to 18? Abu Samir: Of course. What a ridiculous idea. Abu Michel: What do 18 year-olds know about anything? Abu Samir: When I was 18, I was still a child. Abu Michel: And the 18 year-olds these … Continue reading

Beirut Exchange

While I was in Beirut last week, I stopped by the final lecture of The Beirut Exchange (a two-week program organized by Mideastwire twice a year, in which college and masters students get to meet various political bigwigs and study Arabic). If you’re at all interested in Middle East politics, and Lebanon in particular, I’d … Continue reading

Parking in Lebanon

Here are two parking stories, both of which I encountered today within a few hours of each other. ** While getting my head shaved at my favorite barber, H., this evening in Beirut, I learned that he had just been in a fight with the owner of the shop next door. The fight began as an argument … Continue reading

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