The Lebanese Parliament failed to elect a president for the sixth time since the term of President Michel Sleiman expired on May 25, 2014. Due to the lack of Christian consensus, Lebanese sectarian divisions, and regional discord, an early resolution to the vacant presidency is difficult. Despite the void in the presidency, several internal and regional factors, unique to Lebanon, are likely to ensure stability.
On January 16 in The Hague, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will open the trial of the suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafiq Hariri and 21 others who died with him. This trial can be important for Lebanon, for the region, and for the United Nations' tribunals because it carries the hope of ending a culture of impunity in Lebanon and in introducing a new culture that chooses the courts and the rule of law over revenge, retribution, and violence in the Middle East. The outcome of the trial has stark implications for the future of Lebanon and for international justice.
Contested Frontiers studies one of the flash points of the Middle East—a region of roughly 100 square kilometers where Syria, Lebanon, and Israel come together but where the borders have never been clearly marked. Asher Kaufman analyzes this geopolitical conflict, and reflects on the meaning of borders and frontiers today.
Lebanon is finally getting Washington’s attention after spending the last four years languishing on the back burner. The Lebanese are now hopeful that maybe the days when Lebanon was a priority in Washington are upon them once again.
Once again Lebanon is facing crises that are driving it toward communal strife. The Syrian crisis and Hizbullah's involvement in it on the side of the Bashar al-Assad regime is dividing the country, stoking sectarian feelings, and forcing a political vacuum in the government. The flood of hundreds of thousands of refugees is adding to the explosive mix. Few Lebanese are trying to find a way out. Their success will depend on how the Syrian crisis turns out.
The Syrian refugee issue in Lebanon is threatening to become the real humanitarian crisis in the region. There are more Syrian refugees in Lebanon than in any other country in the region. Straddled by a weak economy, domestic political infighting, and internal divisions over the crisis in Syria, Lebanon is finding it hard to cope with the evolving problem inside its borders. In the absence of a quick and sustained international support, the refugee issue in Lebanon could become a full blown crisis with domestic and regional implications for Lebanon.
Hezbollah’s main strength in Lebanon is not its weaponry. Its real backbone is its popular support, which guarantees Hezbollah’s control over state institutions. Iran may be prepared to lose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but it is certainly not ready to lose Lebanon. Now that Hezbollah’s popular support in Lebanon is waning, Iran will do whatever it takes to overcome the results of Lebanon's parliamentary elections in 2013.
The Islamists Are Coming is the first book to survey the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
Click to see the table of contents, or download the full PDF below.