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The Government and Politics of Lebanon

Second Edition

Imad Salamey

The Government and Politics of Lebanon, Second Edition describes the special attributes of Lebanese politics and the functions of its confessional state. It aims to contribute to the reader’s understanding of contemporary Lebanese politics, consensus building, and government. It stimulates discussion concerning the nature of consociationalism as a power sharing arrangement for a divided society. The book captures the complexity of Lebanese politics by revealing the challenges embedded in the management of plurality, including institutional paralysis and system stagnations. The second edition features new and expanded chapters that pay particular attention to state’s adaptations to post-Arab Spring politics. It expands the analysis on the performance of the Lebanese consociational state in light of turbulent regional environment and the various repercussions associated with regional conflict. It is divided into several parts. The first introduces the particular form and foundations of Lebanese consociationalism and provides an elaborate description of its special features. The second part explains the different rules of the game as institutionalized in the country’s international and domestic power sharing arrangements. It describes the international politics of Lebanon and the influence exerted by regional powers in shaping its domestic affairs. It explains the manifestation of domestic parties and electoral systems in the power distribution among the country’s different sectarian and ethnic groups. It analyzes the political economy of communitarian politics. The third part focuses on the contemporary powers and functions of the different branches of government as well as their institutional expression of sectarian interests. The fourth part of the book places Lebanese consociationalism in light of contemporary regional turmoil and describes state’s responsiveness in mitigating and managing conflicts, particularly those associated with the spillover from the Syrian conflict.
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4. The Taef Republic


This chapter examines the factors that led to declining domestic support for the belligerents. The external factors facilitating a settlement are examined in terms of the waning Palestinian–Israeli conflict, the growing Syrian influence, and the end of the Cold War. The Taef Agreement, electoral reform and the remaining political, economic, and security contentions are analyzed. The chapter looks in detail at the UNSC Resolutions concerning Lebanon and examines more contemporary events, such as the 2006 war and the crisis of 2008 leading up to the Doha Agreement.

Prelude to the Taef Agreement

Declining Domestic Support for Belligerents

By 1987, exhaustion had not only overwhelmed the fighting sides but had also drained any genuine public support for the battling forces. Public mobilization across the sectarian divide was growing increasingly hostile to militia rule, while reaching out for civil unity across the Green Line.1 It had become evident that an imminent victory was far from being attainable by any rival group. Worse, the parties had become convinced that neither side was capable of sustaining self-rule ←53 | 54→without risking internal disputes and deepening fragmentation. Two major invasions by the Syrian and Israeli armies failed to change the course of the war in favor of either side. A stalemate was reached after more than 100,000 people had lost their lives, half the population had been displaced, and the entire public infrastructure was destroyed. Thus, an alternative arrangement became urgent, not only to end the war...

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