Friday’s events from the World Economic Forum feature an address by Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, and sessions looking at the challenges faced by, and presented by, the fast-changing Arab world. Reports from FT writers in Davos and by Ben Fenton, Lina Saigol and Lindsay Whipp in London
17.03: The Davos Live Blog is closing down now but for more reading and insight on today’s events, please visit the FT’s in depth page on the World Economic Forum.
16.41: Gideon Rachman, titular proprietor of this blog, has written his surmise from the earlier session on Syria.
16.16: Asked by the Amercian moderator of his panel session about corruption and banking regulation, Nigeria’s central bank governor Sanusi displays a little frustration:
He said: “We are the only country which has taken people out of banks and put them in jail. No bankers in your countries have gone to jail.”
16.12: Martin Wolf has recorded his view on the politics and economics at play in a “low-intensity” Davos this year:
It’s too early to pass judgment, said William Hague, British foreign secretary, about Algeria’s handling of the worse hostage crisis in decades. And he might be right.
It is not easy for western governments to strike the right balance between criticism of the Algerian assault on the In Amenas gas plant and the ensuring bloodbath, and the need to appear tough and determined in combating terrorism.
But questions about whether Algeria’s military moved too rapidly on the offensive when jihadi militants took one of the country’s vital gas facilities will have to be asked by governments and by the families of those who died. Read more
Middle East turmoil and the US response
The Middle East is in turmoil following the murder of the American ambassador to Libya and assaults on various US embassies across the Muslim world. Roula Khalaf, Middle East editor, and Ed Luce, chief US commentator, join Gideon Rachman to discuss what recent events say about the internal stability of post-revolutionary Libya and Egypt and President Obama’s policy towards the Middle East. How will these and the other regional concerns in Syria, Iran, and the Palestinian territories affect the US election? Read more
Turmoil in the Middle East looked like a gift to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney. With unseemly eagerness, the Republican candidate unwrapped his present – blaming the Obama administration for encouraging Islamist militancy. Conservative commentators chimed in. On Fox Television, Charles Krauthammer announced: “What we are seeing on the screen is the meltdown, collapse of the Obama policy on the Muslim world.” Read more
This week, Gideon Rachman talks to Roula Khalaf, Middle East editor, about the results of the Egyptian elections, where Islamist parties have won almost two-thirds of the vote and discusses the growing international pressure on Iran with James Blitz, defence and diplomatic editor. Also this week, David Crouch, Europe news editor, talks to Charles Clover, Moscow bureau chief, about the demonstrations in Moscow against Vladimir Putin. Read more
I am in the Netherlands, where it has just been announced that the trial of Geert Wilders, a populist, anti-Muslim politician, will go ahead in a couple of weeks time. Wilders is charged with inciting racial hatred by comparing Islam with Nazism. In theory, he could be sent to prison, if found guilty. Read more
Gideon became chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times in July 2006. He joined the FT after a 15-year career at The Economist, which included spells as a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Washington and Bangkok. He also edited The Economist’s business and Asia sections.
His particular interests include American foreign policy, the European Union and globalisation