Inside the Middle East
March 31, 2010
Posted: 2159 GMT
Lebanon-born Rima Maktabi has joined CNN International’s Inside the Middle East.
Lebanon-born Rima Maktabi has joined CNN International’s Inside the Middle East.

CNN International today announces Rima Maktabi as the new host of its popular ‘Inside the Middle East’ program and a key addition to CNN’s roster of anchor/correspondents covering the Middle East.

The appointment of Lebanon-born Maktabi, one of the Middle East's most dynamic and well known prime time presenting talents, signals CNN's deepening commitment to the region and continued investment in its Abu Dhabi production hub.

The hiring of Maktabi – a prime time news anchor on Arabic news channel Al Arabiya who brings with her a wealth of experience in the region – follows the recent launch of CNN Abu Dhabi, the debut of the nightly primetime show ‘Prism’, and the decision to fully localise the production staffs of the high profile ' Inside the Middle East ' and ’CNN Marketplace Middle East' shows.

The expanded CNN output is further bolstered by an extensive regional newsgathering infrastructure which today includes bureaux in Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Islamabad, Jerusalem and Kabul.

In a unique collaboration with Al Arabiya – for a two month period Maktabi will continue to present her Arabic prime time news show while filming throughout the region for CNN's ' Inside the Middle East ' .

Maktabi’s first appearance on CNN will be on the April 5th edition of ' Inside the Middle East ', ahead of joining CNN full time in June.

"CNN is delighted to announce the addition of Rima Maktabi to its line-up of Middle East based on-air talent as host of 'Inside the Middle East '. She is a strong talent with an impressive track record and we're pleased that this flexible partnership with Al Arabiya will allow our international viewers to get to know Rima much better as she becomes an integral part of our reporting from the region," said Tony Maddox, EVP and Managing Director, CNN International.

"CNN's appointment of Rima Maktabi is yet another acknowledgement by a highly-reputed global Newsmaker of the professional standards of Al Arabiya," said Abdul Rahman Alrashed, General Manager of Dubai-based Al Arabiya News Channel. "The fact that Rima Maktabi will first appear simultaneously on both CNN and Al Arabiya also gives this joint arrangement a greater corporate meaning and provides various audiences with tremendous added-value and synergies," Alrashed concluded.

In addition to hosting 'Inside the Middle East ‘, Rima also joins CNN's regionally based Stan Grant, Paula Hancocks and Ben Wedeman as a roving anchor/correspondent, reporting as and where the network's newsgathering needs require.

About Rima Maktabi
Rima Maktabi joined Al-Arabiya as a prime time news anchor and producer in 2005. Since then, she has covered notable regional stories such as the Iranian and Lebanese elections, the Palestinian Camp War in Nahr el Bared, the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict and the Arab summits in Doha and KSA. Rima has also covered international stories such as the World Economic Forum in Davos and The US Presidential Elections for Al-Arabiya. Her journalism credentials also include time as a reporter for Annahar newspaper and news and entertainment reporting/presenting roles at Future TV. She holds an MA in International Affairs and a BA in Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University of Beirut.

About 'Inside the Middle East'
'Inside The Middle East ' is CNN International’s flagship feature show for the region. Long one of the network’s most high profile and well received shows, it refreshed its concept last autumn with new interactive elements, a greater online presence, new titles, graphics and music.

Segments introduced into the new format include Your IME Diary a round-up of the region’s festival season including cultural, sports and business events, on TV and online, populated by viewer clips, stills and comments from key events around the world; My Middle East which takes viewers on a unique journey into the heart and soul of one of the region’s greatest cities through the eyes of regional icons from the world of film, music, fashion, business and politics to reveal the hidden treasures within their chosen city; and The Campus Forum engages university students from across the region to discuss the issues affecting today’s youth.

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Filed under: CNN Coverage •Inside The Middle East

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Alice   March 31st, 2010 10:22 pm ET

Thanks for the info. regarding the new anchor.

earle,florida   April 1st, 2010 12:54 am ET

This is very good news – I wish you success now,and into the future – I'll be listening in daily as always – Thanks IME via CNN PS. I do hope that Ms. Paula Hancock gets her fair share of stories.

shadi   April 2nd, 2010 9:45 pm ET

Hello Congratulations, you join my Rima

I would like knowledge Is there a channel for CNN in Arabic Anail Sat, and is not encrypted

And Tmanaiti to Rima and you success and I hope to respond to Emily

fares rahbani   April 3rd, 2010 11:06 am ET

i wish u always success...........and i hope that all ur dreams become true.......god bless u......

mihoubi   April 3rd, 2010 5:57 pm ET

bonjour كيف حالك ريما سعيد لرئيتك

shadi   April 3rd, 2010 9:18 pm ET

Hello I want frequency channel CNN Arabic

Amr   April 4th, 2010 10:38 am ET

A sweet addition to the CNN team.

goodman   April 4th, 2010 3:20 pm ET

first of all, we should take care about her new job,and not judge about it quickly, we will wait and see if she works better than the worst althamina in alarabiya , after all this converter i think the alarabiya will be lose very much one of its assets , and allow me to warning that it should use her efficiency instead of herself as a women .

Anas Nadaf   April 4th, 2010 3:59 pm ET

congratulations to CNN & and to Queen Rema Maktabi...

Kissel   April 6th, 2010 10:25 pm ET

What is your most prized possession?

sami jamra   April 7th, 2010 5:49 am ET

Big name in the middle east, congratulation to you both Rima ans CNN

A. Smith, Oregon   April 8th, 2010 7:01 am ET

Welcome Rima Maktabi and congratulations CNN on adding such a wonderful addition to your staff!

I look forward to Rima Maktabi's reports and insights on the inner-developments in the troubled Middle Eastern region and country's.

Hussein Younes - Tibiyan.Net   April 11th, 2010 8:20 am ET

Congratulations Rima, this is really important step in your career, looking forward to see your show, wish all the best and good luck.

Anil Kumar Upadhyaya   April 12th, 2010 11:08 am ET

Dear Rima,
I had seen your programme Inside the Middle East this morning in India on CNN and was very much impressed by your talent.I like the background of Egypt which was the tourist spot and name was probably Al-Harm shiekh famous for beaches.Can you present Belly Dance programme with dance background of Lebanon from where you come.And you know more better than anybody because you come from Lebanon.I am India based freelance journalist but working with European political and economic reports from India.But I like very much your way of presentation and this is your first assignment with CNN which is given on the CNN IME page.Many good wishes for you and your future.Pls accept my good wishes from India.

with regards
Anil Kumar Upadhyaya
freelance journalist
New Delhi/India

Smith in Oregon   April 14th, 2010 7:59 pm ET

Life on US Military bases in Afghanistan just got harder when Afghanistan President Karzai's family starting hitting back, accusing US officials of launching a smear campaign as a prelude to abandoning the country again. “There’s a very bad policy developing towards Afghanistan,” said the president’s brother Mahmoud Karzai, a businessman who lives in Kabul. “They want to discredit the Afghan government in the eyes of the US public. I hope it’s not the beginning of an exit strategy. If it is, God help us, it will be very bad — don’t they remember what happened when they did this before in the Eighties?”

Mahmoud believes the tension goes back to before last summer’s elections. “There was a clear push by a group of US politicians to really hurt him.”

Both President Karzai and his brother Mahmoud particularly blame Galbraith, who was then the deputy UN representative, and Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. “They made statements which were really outrageous,” Mahmoud said. “On the second day of counting, before the results were even known, they said it would go to a second round.

“Ever since there has been a push to undermine the Afghan government. I don’t understand. I see right now the Taliban at the fence. If we continue the good work, the Taliban will be defeated, but if we continue in this way they will not.”

The Sunday Times reports:

The biggest sticking point is Ahmed Wali, who runs the Karzai Clan family interests in Kandahar and is believed to be a drug dealer. US officials have reportedly said he must be removed before a battle for control of the province.

“They say he is a drug dealer but we’ve never been shown any evidence,” Mahmoud said. “The idea that Ahmed Wali should be removed is generated by those who want to hand over Kandahar to the Taliban.”

As for the Afghan president’s reported threat to join the Taliban if the West kept attacking him, Mahmoud said: “It’s impossible. The Taliban would not allow him.” It is often forgotten that President Karzai was once the Taliban’s chief fundraiser.

LET's Repeat that, from Karzai's own brother 'President Karzai Was Once the Taliban's CHIEF FUNDRAISER'

Undoubtedly that is the missing connection he has with the CIA. President Karzai must have begun being on the CIA's payroll when he became the Taliban's CHIEF FUNDRAISER some years prior to him being handpicked by the CIA to rule Afghanistan.

The argument (between President Karzai and Gen McChrystal) may come down to differences over how to deal with the Taliban. Like the British, Karzai thinks negotiations should start now. The Americans want a military victory first. This will be the main topic of discussion when President Karzai visits Washington next month.

Chernor Jalloh   April 15th, 2010 5:07 pm ET

As someone who has been away for quite a long sometime,still has this beautiful edition very close at heart(inside the middle east),and its presenters.Luckly,though I have also come across with this good news that you have got this charismatic lady that is full of experience of what is happening in her home country or the Middle East in general,known as Rima Maktabi who according to you people at the CNN center in the US,Rima would be ready to unearth the tresores of that part of the world.I hope so.She can also give a full and unbiased picture over the Middle East and until then people we will give her all the credits she deserves in many years to come.I would like to thank her for the hard work in which she has realised her dreams.A woman will always thrive if she is ready,and Iam sure of that.Cheerio CNN and Rima.

miriam   April 16th, 2010 10:21 am ET


Please explain the concept "freedom of speech".

Or perhaps "freedom of press" in the UAE.

Anas Alkhateeb   April 30th, 2010 10:20 pm ET

congratulation to you both Rima ans CNN
i wish u always success...........and i hope that all ur dreams become true.......
and i miss u
god bless u......

Houssam Hamdan   May 8th, 2010 9:34 am ET

Great Choice
Rima Maktabi, one of the best

terry   May 10th, 2010 7:57 am ET

thank Rima for This choice , but I want some information abut young yemen, aden .

Thank .

raja baba   May 18th, 2010 4:48 am ET

just want to say that the hard work will go on as u r doing well &u have the that god's acceptance
in u keep the good work&god bless u

rast   May 19th, 2010 12:17 pm ET

i hope see you in CNN too we are like your voice

abdelmadjid   May 20th, 2010 8:08 pm ET

ريما انشاء الله انت محفوظة من السوء و الاشرار في كل مكان حتى بين الدئاب كل يوم في الصباح عند الفطور اكون انشاء الله ارقب التلفزة خاصة قناة ابو ضبي ايضا السي ان ان كل يوم اعجبتني كل الموضوعات في المنطقة التي تعملين فيها اود ان ان اشاهد موضوعات عن السلام بين شعوب المنطقة وكيف تعايشات في ما بينها طوال القرون مدون حروب اكون ممتن لك و للقناة عبد المجيد الوفي لك و لى القناة في حفظ الله الواحد

Ghassan   June 2nd, 2010 7:43 am ET

All the best Rima, you deserve that.

ليش يا قمر عنا تخليت   June 16th, 2010 2:33 am ET

يا شباب متى موعد هالبرنامج الي تطلع فيه ريما مع اني ماعرف انقليزي بس الشكوى لله مقدر افوته وليتك ترجعيلنا يا ريما والله وحشتيني

najmomar   July 2nd, 2010 5:15 am ET

we lose you in alarabiya qeen Rima

tawfik   July 20th, 2010 9:55 am ET

welcome rima
i always see you in alarabia and now i want see you in cnn
you please tell me the time of your program because you are
realy the best

tomg500   July 22nd, 2010 3:29 pm ET

that's great news. now we have another lebanese "expert". i'm pretty sure that this one will be much better then the former one, i bet that this lebanese lady like israel and she will bring an objective point of view about the middle. cnn, come on, why won't you for once try to bring an objective host to this specific problematic area.

Ardalaan   July 31st, 2010 7:03 pm ET

Did not see your program but heard that you used a wrong term for talking about "PERSIAN GULF". Did not like that. Be ware of the truth. CNN is not a place for a big lie like that.

sina   July 31st, 2010 7:19 pm ET

arabic gulf?

shame on you
are you journalist?
you are a arabic-nationalist , NOT journalist...

GULF is PERSIAN GULF not any thing Jamal Abdonaser said in 30years old.

Please read history...

sory for you!

Farshid   July 31st, 2010 7:24 pm ET

You should Learn how to say the word PERSIAN GULF, there is no such a thing as Arabian GU:F remember it has been always PERSIAN GULF and will stay PERSIAN GULF

Hossein   July 31st, 2010 7:27 pm ET


Omid   July 31st, 2010 7:28 pm ET

As a so called "expert" you should have learned your Geography. It's Persian Gulf
Research my dear
Just to make ur job easier here is a glimpse:

saeid   July 31st, 2010 7:38 pm ET

read is Persian Gulf.

dariush   July 31st, 2010 7:54 pm ET

only persian gulf

nima sadrieh   July 31st, 2010 9:45 pm ET

Hi Rima
based on the historical documents "Persian Golf" is correct and "Arabian" is not a real name for that golf. Could you please use this name which is a historical and well known name?


Mortal   July 31st, 2010 11:23 pm ET

Persian Gulf Forever

sari   July 31st, 2010 11:45 pm ET

let's hope that her very clear (and dangerous) biases do not make an appearance here. Fortunately not very many people are watching CNN these days so possibly less chance of her doing the damage she did during the tense times in recent Lebanese history.

Saeed   August 1st, 2010 12:36 am ET


For your information, the gulf you sometime refer to as arabian gulf is scientifically, geographically, and historically called "Persian gulf"!

I'm afraid that repeating this mistake might be interpreted as racism!


Akbar   August 1st, 2010 5:27 pm ET

No body of water by "Arabian Gulf" has ever existed. The correct name is Persian Gulf, which always has been, and will always remain, Persian.

kia   August 1st, 2010 10:15 pm ET

In Middle East, there maybe many things under dispute and without a clear answer.

However, the name of the Gulf is NOT one of them. The Gulf has been recognized as the "Persian Gulf" and CNN, or any other media should not allow distortion of such a simple and established fact.

Thank you.

Sara Nabati   August 3rd, 2010 2:55 am ET

To all those who posted here regarding the INCORRECT/false term used by Ms. Maktabi, "arabian gulf", I completely agree with your comments.

And an interesting note. As of today, August 3rd, 2010, I just noticed that in that particular ad/promo for the show "Inside the Middle East", Ms. Maktabi has corrected herself and now states "PERSIAN GULF"

Hats off to you CNN for enforcing this FACTUAL Name and having Ms. Maktabi change/correct the ad to reflect the true name of the gulf which has been and always will be: PERSIAN GULF

محمد   August 8th, 2010 2:53 pm ET

congratulations to rima

farhad persian   August 8th, 2010 11:20 pm ET

Persian gulf........for ...ever.

Sarino Tesandori   August 9th, 2010 5:51 am ET

What is in a name. Persian sea, Arabian sea, dead sea, black sea, red sea do not reflect their true meaning or significance. Is the red sea red? is the dead sea "really" dead? Is the black sea mourning the black sea? GIVE ME A BREAK GUYS. LET"S CONCENTRATE ON MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES, LIKE AVOIDING WARS AND CALAMITIES.

I wish we could chill out a bit on stupidities.


nb. If it were for me to name that Gulf, I would name is Persian Arab Gulf and yes in that order.

Sara Nabati   August 12th, 2010 7:38 am ET

Sarino Tesandori...are you italiano?

So, lets "chill out a bit on stupidities" and refer and change the "Italian Alps" to French or Swiss Alps.

Afterall, the alps extend into and cover land in other neighboring countries as well, do they not??

If you are truly Italian, would you want this? Would this bother you a tiny bit even?

This is NOT about "stupidities"! This is about HISTORY and a historical name of a body of water that has been and is recognized internationally, albieit for a few arabic countries and perhaps the UK (solely for its own selfish purposes in the gulf region). These gulf countries wish to exert their so-called power and influence by using cash (loads of cash that was dumped into the bank accounts of Google Earth officials) to influence the name change. Haha! And, thankfully, many were and are cognizant of that fact.

The name is PERSIAN GULF, has been and always shall be.

wsam hsam   August 28th, 2010 3:30 pm ET

hi rima ihope succed for ever and iwish to visit iraq ,introduce their data last good luck .iam watch ur p always

matt   March 6th, 2011 7:26 pm ET

dear cnn 'inside middle east' program by rima maktabi,
i'd like you to know that your report on the baqaa camp in Amman-Jordan lacked the comprehensive picture of what Jordan's economy is all about. while you reported that the camp youth dreamed of being doctors and engineers and that their destitution left them hopeless to realize those dreams, i'd like you to be aware of the fact that even fortunate young Jordanians may not have the opportunity to realize their dreams either and that unemployment is quite high among the young nationally and not just in the camps. furthermore, your report lacked the representation of the wealthy Palestinians in the country holding some of the largest private sector establishments or governemnt positions.
kindly ensure your program is responsible media not just selective reporting.

lacen   March 18th, 2011 5:02 pm ET

I want to talk with you and I love you

lacen   March 18th, 2011 5:04 pm ET

When you're here

wsam hsam   April 27th, 2011 10:57 pm ET

hi.i watch inside the middle east every month iwant to be rima introduce any program on cnn every day like althamna in alarabiya and i thank her for her tired

Mohamed Al-baker   July 2nd, 2011 12:57 pm ET

i remember her from her days with the Future TV Channel she presented some musical show 'n gosh! how beautiful she was! i was only 6 back in those days lol still i had an eye out for a beauty such as Rima! may Allah bless you ya Rima.

DannyH   July 3rd, 2011 9:39 am ET

What a joke...another flop by CNN. Getting a Lebanese Arab as a host on Middle Eastern affairs? Of course she will be balanced (NOT), especially when it comes to reporting on Israel...but this is CNN, I guess.

Antonio Jabbour   August 7th, 2011 7:04 am ET

This is very good news – I wish you success now,and into the future – I'll be listening in daily as always.

Thomas Kaiakapu   December 26th, 2011 12:08 am ET

I just saw Rima playing with her cell phone during a interview of the Petra/Bedouin video. How rude is this? Very, very poor taste!! I would
fire her butt if I was her boss.

wala'a   August 20th, 2012 4:26 pm ET

I respect RIMA alot and I love her
GOOD LUCK in her life <3 <3 <3

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About this blog

Welcome to the Inside the Middle East blog where CNN's journalists post news, views and video from across the region. This is also a place where you can start the discussion so please keep your comments coming. We highlight not only current news stories but also anecdotes and issues that don't always make the top of the headlines.

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Inside the Middle East airs the first week of every month on the following days and times:

Wednesday: 0930, 1630,
Saturday: 0430, 1830,
Sunday: 1130

(All times GMT)