2012

Cult of Personality

He is, in the words of Barbara Walters, a “mild-mannered ophthalmologist.” Indeed, the rather squeamish leader-to-be chose eye surgery because it didn’t involve much blood. He speaks fluent English and can get by in French as well as his native Arabic. His wife is a knock-out, a “rose in the desert” according to a Vogue profile. Reluctant to take over the family business from his father, he interrupted his medical training in London to return home only after his older brother died in a car accident. Then, once at the helm, he released a number of political prisoners and instituted economic reforms that got a thumbs-up from the international business community. He cooperated with the United States in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Even today, he uses all the right words: transparency, dignity, reform.

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