What others are saying

March 14, 2007

Halliburton officials say shifting the oil service giant's center of gravity from Texas to the Persian Gulf is just a "strategic" move to drum up more oil business.

Chief Executive David Lesar even lanced the announcement that he was moving himself and his CEO headquarters to the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai into the middle of a weekend energy conference in Bahrain.

The implication: It is no big deal, especially since Halliburton promises not to reincorporate overseas, which would have huge tax consequences, or to uproot its 4,000-employee Houston headquarters.

Yet it is a very big deal: Recasting Halliburton's corporate persona as a Dubai-centered company is a thumb in the eye to the actual source of the firm's recent good fortune, the U.S. taxpayer.

The more than $17 billion that U.S. citizens forked over for Halliburton's defense contracts in Iraq have made its stock price a juggernaut. Halliburton stock has risen 218 percent since the Iraq war started.

- The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer

Predicting the end of Robert G. Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe has always been a risky business. The end has been nigh for at least seven years, but Mr. Mugabe has outfoxed friend and foe alike. But the reaction of riot police on Sunday to a small prayer meeting organized in Harare by opposition, church and civic groups was predictable. One protester was shot dead and dozens of opposition activists were beaten, some say tortured, in custody. Among them was Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, who was ... reported to have been taken to hospital with head wounds. ...

It is not written in stone that Zimbabwe's sufferings are destined to continue, once Mr. Mugabe is told that enough is enough. ... Zimbabwe's infrastructure, though in a state of total collapse, still exists. So do its housing and farms. It has a potentially large source of foreign currency from expat Zimbabweans, and a post-Mugabe regime could benefit from a windfall of foreign aid. But he has to go first, and the sooner the better.

- The Guardian of London

The U.S. Department of Defense has drafted a new strategy for the Black Sea region, focusing on getting the individual countries around the Black Sea to develop a regional approach to security issues.

Some of the strategy's finer points are still being developed, and the implementation may be slowed by the U.S. preoccupation with Iraq and Afghanistan. But it nevertheless represents a concerted effort by Washington to get involved in a region traditionally dominated by Turkey and Russia.

- Joshua Kucera, Eurasianet.org

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