Saturday, January 25, 2014

Davos Diary 1: Setting the Scene, Pondering the Middle East

Setting the scene:

At Davos 2014, The Gods Of Mischief Rule
Even the high and mighty assembling at the Swiss resort recognize, now, that grotesque inequality is the greatest threat to world peace. Their answer: Party on!

On the first full day, Wednesday, I moderated a panel on the Middle East "context." It was like dealing with people from a parallel universe -- officials from Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, who would talk about the problems of the region but wouldn't touch the subject of Iranian-Saudi competition. And of course the Egyptian insisted there was no coup. Moderators aren't supposed to debate with their panels. That was tough. 

That night, Tina Brown and Credit Suisse gave their big Davos party. Rubbed shoulders with stars from all over, including Matt Damon and Richard Branson. There's really no better mixer in town that first day. I also moderated a presentation by the amazing Khalida Brohi, who works to liberate women in traditional Pakistani villages from their lives of purdah, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the Academy Award winning filmmaker who produced and directed the stunning documentary "Saving Face" about women horribly disfigured in acid attacks carried out by ... their relatives.

Then, Thursday began what has become a kind of marathon of Middle Eastern issues as the Iranians brought their charm offensive to the Alps, and the Israelis responded. 

Iran's Rouhani Does Davos
The Iranian president told the assembled leaders what they wanted to hear … almost.

Netanyahu: Israel's What's Right With the Middle East
Speaking at Davos, the Israeli Prime Minister tried to sell his country as "what's right with the Middle East."

Taped a segment with Jim Clancy for CNN International's "The Brief," which aired twice on Friday and will air at 13:30 Central European Time on Saturday.

Virtual Syria in Davos
It's not that the elites in Davos find the war in Syria hard to imagine, it's that they just have no idea how to end it.

More to come ...

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