Political blog posts

Putting America first isn’t always the best policy for the US

Libertarians in the United States feel a new-found momentum on the issues most important to them. Their preferred candidate for the presidency, Rand Paul, has consistently ranked high in pre-election opinion polls. America has never seemed so reluctant to intervene overseas. And the federal government has faced significant pushback for its intrusive surveillance methods, into whose net many Americans have fallen.

However, the growing non-interventionist impulse of Americans highlights a shortcoming in the libertarian position: its insularity. Most libertarians are “America firsters” in that their values seem to apply only at home. That would be fine, except when it has a bearing on the single issue that most defines libertarians, namely liberty.

MIT 35 Innovators under 35: Fadel Adib and Ayah Bdeir from Lebanon on the list

The MIT Technology Review recently released their list of 35 Innovators under 35, which is an annual lineup that highlights young professional who are reshaping the way their respective fields think with their research.

So why did mobile prices suddenly increase?!

If you have been following smartphone prices in Lebanon over the past couple of weeks then you might have noticed the weird increase on all handsets.
For some unknown reason, prices have increased by around 10% in the latest price list published by Amhaz (Stars Communications) and are now similar to the prices during the period when the government cracked down on smugglers by requiring IMEI registration. The table below shows the difference between the prices on August 6th and 18th for some selected devices.

Beware of the scammers on Lebanese classifieds websites

A friend of mine was looking to buy a used car through Lebanese classifieds websites like Al Waseet and Bey3. Among several cars he was interested in, two were selling for a very attractive price, so he eventually started messaging their owners until he learned that they live outside Lebanon and were asking for the whole money or a down payment to be transferred through Western Union!

Live Love Beirut by Big Addict

Grafitti Lebanon
“Graff Me Europe” have chosen to honor the graffiti in Lebanon because it taps into people’s differences while giving the opportunity to live in the similarities of all. Film by Big Addict.

Male bellydancer woos audiences

The news has been a bit heavy lately, so I thought I'd let you know that joy still exists out here.

Inland empire - Even in foreign affairs America is hopelessly self-obsessed

When outsiders watch how America debates foreign policy issues, they are usually taken by the extent to which these become almost entirely domestic conversations.

Before the Iraq war in 2003, as the Bush administration was preparing the ground for an invasion, Americans seemed little concerned for the Iraqis themselves. What preoccupied them was what it all meant for America. And today, as President Barack Obama adds caveats to a new American military intervention in Iraq, it is clear that his main concern is support at home, not the suffering of Arabs or Kurds, Yazidis or Christians.

Pity Lebanon’s reckless Christians

Michel Aoun might want to learn a lesson from Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s ousted prime minister. It is that the longer you cling to a tenuous position, the more apt are others to decide for you.

In fact, Lebanon’s Christians in general should be careful. It has been months since a president was scheduled to be elected, yet Aoun’s ambitions and Christian rivalries have helped make agreement over a candidate impossible. Worse, the Christian parties have pursued the thoroughly idiotic tactic of boycotting legislative sessions in Parliament until a president is elected, as if blocking passage of needed legislation can in any way help their cause.

Of Maps and Men

islamicmapA few months ago, my friend Joshua Landis wrote an essay for this blog called “The Great Sorting Out,” which generated one of the more interesting discussions we’ve hosted. I’ve been thinking about Joshua’s argument ever since, and trying to make sense of what I find to be right and wrong about it.

Flora of Lebanon in Pics

 Ghada Elrayess at flora of lebanon in pics on Facebook Source: Ghada Elrayess at flora of lebanon in pics on Facebook

Assad’s strategy is based on survival in the short term

All eyes have been on Iraq and Gaza lately, but the carnage in Syria just grinds on. Despite military gains earlier this year by the regime of President Bashar Al Assad, its prospects of prevailing do not look good. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine the regime surviving as it is in the medium-term, let alone the long-term.

In recent weeks, the Al Assad regime has suffered several setbacks, particularly in the north-east of the country. It has lost most of its positions in Raqqa and Deir Ez Zor provinces, as well as a large number of soldiers, to the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or ISIL.

Guy in "ISIS photo" can't stand ISIS

In a story going viral on social media, John McCain is supposedly pictured with members of the extremist armed group ISIS, which everyone from Obama to Hezbollah is now calling the worst terrorists on earth. 

Brazilian Olympic Football Team migth call off their trip to Lebanon

football fans
Too bad for us, the much anticipated football game between the Brazilian Olympic team and the Lebanese national team might get called off due to the crisis in Arsal earlier this month!
According to this article in Al-Akhbar today, the Brazilian Football Confederation is now considering moving their training camp to Qatar to guarantee the safety of their players away from the security incidents here in Lebanon.

Municipal work? Start a fire

The municipality of a certain village was forced to call the fire department this week for a fire lit by its own staff. Luckily the firefighters were able to put it out before the blaze spread to the surrounding brush and caught half the mountainside on fire.

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