Thursday, November 19th, 2009
Lebanon has two strong neighbors, Syria and Israel. Although the Maronite Christians are a minority, they have traditionally governed the country that was declared a French mandate in 1920, was granted formal independence on November 26, 1941, and gained complete autonomy with the reinstatement of its Lebanese officeholders on November 22, 1943. Since then, the 22nd of November has been its national day. Lebanon threatened to break apart because of a civil war that broke out between Muslims and Christians in 1975. In 1989, Saudi Arabia negotiated a peace settlement in its western city of Ta’if that fixed confessional parity. The political situation became stabile and economic recovery slowly began in the country bordering the Mediterranean with a population of just under four and a half million (c. 95% Arabs, 4% Armenians, and a Kurdish minority). Its capital lying on the Mediterranean is Beirut. Once known as the “Paris of the Near East,” it is home to more than a forth of all Lebanese.
Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
Policy of openness on the course to success - direction set toward alignment with the European Union as the key to sustained development - Security for foreign investments.
Something akin to a new era began in 1999 when, after the death of his highly esteemed father, Hassan II, a young king took over the throne of Morocco, an Arab country with relatively few natural resources, whose northern tip is separated from Europe by the twelve kilometer-wide Straits of Gibraltar. For more than 300 years, the Alaouite Dynasty has ruled the North African kingdom with its well over 30 million inhabitants living on a 458,730 square kilometer area of land, who, on July 30, 2009, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of King Mohammed VI’s ascension to the throne as a national holiday. The young king, a direct descendant of the Prophet, but who is affectionately called “M6” despite his state office and all his religious dignity, cautiously yet consequently struck out on new paths, particularly in the economy and society, despite some resistance from the conservative parliament.