Rami G. Khouri at PostGlobal

Rami G Khouri

Beirut, Lebanon

Rami George Khouri is a Palestinian-Jordanian and U.S. citizen whose family resides in Beirut, Amman, and Nazareth. He is editor at large, and former executive editor, of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper, published throughout the Middle East with the International Herald Tribune. An internationally syndicated political columnist and book author, he is also the first director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, and also serves as a nonresident senior fellow at the Kennedy School of Harvard University and the Dubai School of Government. He was awarded the Pax Christi International Peace Prize for 2006. He teaches annually at American University of Beirut, University of Chicago and Northeastern University. He has been a fellow and visiting scholar at Harvard University, Mount Holyoke College, Syracuse University and Stanford University, and is a member of the Brookings Institution Task Force on US Relations with the Islamic World. He is a Fellow of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (Jerusalem), and a member of the Leadership Council of the Harvard University Divinity School. He also serves on the board of the East-West Institute, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University (USA), and the Jordan National Museum. He was editor-in-chief of the Jordan Times for seven years and for 18 years he was general manager of Al Kutba, Publishers, in Amman, Jordan, where he also served as a consultant to the Jordanian tourism ministry on biblical archaeological sites. He has hosted programs on archeology, history and current public affairs on Jordan Television and Radio Jordan, and often comments on Mideast issues in the international media. He has BA and MSc degrees respectively in political science and mass communications from Syracuse University, NY, USA. Close.

Rami G Khouri

Beirut, Lebanon

Rami George Khouri is a Palestinian-Jordanian and U.S. citizen whose family resides in Beirut, Amman, and Nazareth. He is editor at large, and former executive editor, of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper. more »

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June 8, 2009 1:49 PM

A Sincere New Beginning. Now What?

The Current Discussion: What did you think of Obama's speech in Cairo? What kind of change will, or won't, it bring?

President Barack Obama in Cairo Thursday provided a combination Bible and Quran class mixed in with some American civics lessons -- a touching, sincere performance that gets high marks for boldness and empathy, but nevertheless leaves a lingering hollowness in some areas.

We should judge him by his intentions, measured by what can emanate from a single speech. In this respect, there is good news and bad news. The good news reflects a new approach and a change in tone, rhetoric and style, offering some hope where haplessness and hypocrisy once ruled Washington's work in the Middle East.

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May 22, 2009 11:55 AM

Newspapers' Global Transition


The Current Discussion: American newspapers are in dire financial straits. How are newspapers faring where you are? Are you concerned about the future of journalism in America or in your own country? What does that future look like?

Two issues have to be separated here to some extent: the commercial viability of mass media and the nature of the news business. Newspapers in most of the Arab world cannot exist profitably on their own, and rely on political subsidies from the government or wealthy patrons who usually have political motives. So most existing papers and magazines will continue to publish, but their readerships will decline steadily as younger people gravitate to new forms of media to obtain news and views and also to express themselves.

The transition from traditional newspapers to other media forms all over the world is probably a positive move in the long run, though the transition itself is painful. It's positive because the amount and quality of news and views available to any individual around the world are much greater than before, though people without internet access are at a relative disadvantage. The traditional role of the quality newspapers that offered news, analysis, opinion and entertainment features will be taken over by new institutions that distribute their content via the web and other means. The total market for news and views will be larger and richer, and more democratically accessible to a wider global audience. This is a good development that we should welcome. Getting there is painful, especially for hacks like me who have spent the last 40 years editing and writing for newspapers, but the new world we are entering is full of variety and quality. Change means the absence of stagnation...





May 12, 2009 5:05 PM

Obama's Israel Stance Still Unclear

The Current Discussion: Are Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama on a collision course over Iran and the Palestinian problem? What would be the consequences of a breach between the United States and Israel?

Netanyahu's policies are clear - and widely rejected by virtually the entire world because they smack of Zionist colonialism that perpetuates the European colonialism of the 19th century. Obama's policies vis-a-vis Israel-Palestine, on the other hand, are less clear, because he has not articulated them in any depth beyond saying he favors a two-state solution. This conforms to the prevalent international norm and UN resolutions, but does not indicate much else about whether the U.S. will lean on Arabs and Israelis alike to move towards this goal, or how the U.S. views options to address the central issue in the conflict from the Arab perspective, which is the fate and rights of the Palestinian refugees.

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April 24, 2009 2:35 PM

Acknowledge the Aggrieved

The Current Discussion: Today is "Genocide Remembrance Day" in the Armenian community, a particularly strained time of year for Turkey and Armenia. What's a realistic first step forward toward reconciliation for each of these countries?

Gestures of acknowledgment of historical crimes and atrocities are critically important for an aggrieved people. They are an essential element in a series of steps that heal the trauma and allow individuals and countries to resume relatively normal lives. Especially for people subjected to ethnic cleansing and genocide, acknowledgment of what happened to them is the critical first step towards restoring normal relations between the two concerned parties. Opening borders and normalizing trade and people-to-people exchanges are constructive steps that would allow people to get to know each other better and start to build new relationships based on respect and mutual benefits.




March 2, 2009 11:53 AM

Leave Iraq and Stay Out, America

The Current Discussion: The Obama administration has finally set a date for withdrawing U.S. troops for Iraq. If ethnic strife returns there, raising again the specter of civil war, should the U.S. send troops back in?

Absolutely not. American troops should leave Iraq and stay out. If ethnic strife flares up again in Iraq beyond its current levels, it will probably be due to three possible causes: lingering resentments and active revenge for the abuses of the Baathist regime; destructive forces unleashed by the American-led invasion that removed the entire state structure; or, meddling by external forces from neighboring countries. A return of American forces would not resolve any of those issues or lower their intensity, but would only exacerbate them.

Certified idiots in international affairs led the U.S. into Iraq and only neo-idiots would consider a re-run of this fiasco. Iraq has to regain a greater measure of legitimacy its own internal governance balance and regional status, and this requires the U.S. troops to stay out.




February 26, 2009 3:42 PM

A Massive Moral Black Hole

Israel and its foundational ideology of Zionism have always had a structural problem with how to accommodate Arab and Jewish nationalism in a single country. Most of the world believes that the best answer is two Israeli and Palestinian states side by side, with a negotiated and fair resolution of the Palestine refugee issue that is the core of the conflict for Palestinians and Arabs. Some Israelis feel the solution is to expel Palestinians within Israel, and treat those living under Israeli occupation as residents but not as citizens with equal rights. Few Israelis accept the principle that Palestinians and Israelis should enjoy fully equal rights in two adjacent states, with the Palestinian refugeehood issue resolved through negotiations on the basis of UN resolutions and prevailing international law.

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January 16, 2009 1:46 PM

Obama: Avoid Arrogance, Ignorance and Ordnance

The Current Discussion:What's the biggest mistake Barack Obama could make in his first six months in foreign policy?

The biggest mistake Obama could make as president is to assume that American values or conduct are somehow superior to those of other countries, or that U.S. allies have greater rights than other countries. In other words, persisting in a foreign policy agenda that combines arrogance, ignorance and ordnance in a deadly combination would be his worst mistake.




November 5, 2008 8:04 AM

Think About Where Our Conflicts Come From

The Current Discussion: What's the first thing you hope Barack Obama does as President-Elect?

I hope the new president takes a moment to look at the world rationally and accurately, analyzing political-social trends that really define the world rather than trends that are ideologically driven. He should join forces with like-minded, decent folks around the world to come up with win-win solutions to tensions and conflicts.

The critical first step for the new president is to identify accurately the real sources of conflict, and then address them. An example: what's the real problem between Iran and the U.S.? What are each side's legitimate concerns, and what are exaggerated fears and ideological frenzies and surrogate battles for Saudi Arabia, Israel, Hizbullah and other parties?




September 10, 2008 12:38 PM

This is Real World, not Reality TV

The Current Discussion: Does it worry you that Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee talks about issues like gun rights and abortion and teaching "creationism" in school, but has no experience in foreign policy? What does her selection say to people in other countries about how U.S. politics works?

Sarah Palin's nomination for the U.S. vice presidency reflects the best and worst in American politics and culture.

She represents the bottom of the barrel in her provincialism in global affairs, and her willingness to be used as an attack dog whose main job is to savage the Democrats with sarcasm, selectivity and exaggeration. She bases her candidacy on a series of emotional appeals more suited to television soap opera and wrestling arenas than to serious politics -- busy mom, moose hunter, rebel, hockey fan, etc. Appealing to emotions rather than to rationality is a common political feat around the world, not only in the U.S. But Americans take this to a higher level of idiocy, treating the citizens as nincompoops rather than serious thinking men and women, offering good vibes rather than sensible, viable policies.

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July 17, 2008 4:21 PM

Justice For All, Not Just Darfur's Bashir

The Current Question: The UN is pulling non-critical staff from Darfur after the indictment of Sudan's president increased tensions there. Isn't this like what happened in Rwanda in 1994 just before the genocide began--protecting UN lives at the cost of African ones?

The UN move to pull noncritical staff out of Sudan's Darfur region is a wise precaution under the circumstances. The prosecutor's decision to ask for an indictment against Sudan's President Bashir reflects the difficult trade-off between taking action against mass murder and genocide -- as the ICC sees it -- and preserving the uneasy security situation and ongoing peace efforts there. On balance, the decision to prosecute is correct if the evidence is strong, which it seems to be in most cases.

An important allied issue from the Arab world's perspective is whether other people who commit crimes of equal or similar magnitude in the Middle East will also be held accountable in some legitimate way. This includes other Arab regimes, the Iranian and Israeli governments, and those who have triggered the death and destruction in Iraq, including the U.S. and UK governments. Their actions have resulted in far more death and refugee flows than events in Sudan. Will they get away with it? Prosecuting the Sudanese for their actions, via a fair trial, should be the first step towards holding accountable all those leaders who have willingly unleashed death and destruction in their societies. We should work for an end to impunity, for sure, but also for an end to racism and colonialism...


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