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Month: July 2004

هرج ومرج وطبل

هرج ومرج وطبل ! علي حماده, مؤسف، لا بل مؤسف جدا، ان يعتبر العهد الميمون ان محاولة اللبنانيين فتح نقاش في الاستحقاق الرئاسي الذي يخصهم ويهمهم، هو هرج ومرج وطبل!

ومؤسف اكثر، لا بل مفجع، ان يعتبر تصديق الناس لمفهوم “لبننة الاستحقاق” التي نادى بها الرئيس بشار الاسد، نقاشا من دون طائل! فهل معنى هذا ان اعلان زوار العهد صباحا ترشيح الرئيس نفسه لتجديد ولايته (لم يقل لنا كيف)، قد محاه غروب الشمس لتعود السليقة اياها، سليقة الصمت والحجر على آراء الناس؟ ام تراه التراث البوليسي الثقيل الذي لا يفرح الا بالليل او الظلمة يلفان ارض لبنان؟

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Editorial Cheikh Wadih El Khazen (Iraq)

بقلم وديع الخازن, يشكل قانون الطوارىء، الذي يعطي رئيس الحكومة العراقية اياد علاوي صلاحيات استثنائية، تحدياً جديداً لشعارات الديموقراطية والحرية التي حملتها الاعلام الاميركية لنجدة العراق من طغيان صدام حسين. ويبدو هذا القانون مشروعا آخر يتلطى وراءه الاحتلال الاميركي لاطلاق أيدي المسؤولين باستثناء حالة واحدة هي تعطيل الانتخابات في أي ظرف. لكن كيف يمكن ان تجرى انتخابات ما دام حبل الامن فالتاً وما دامت القوات العراقية، وهي في طور التشكيل، في حال إستنفار دائم ضد أشباح المقاومة العراقية التي لا تزال ترفع راية الولاء للرئيس المخلوع صدام حسين الذي يواجه عقوبة الاعدام اذا تجرأ قاض على النطق بها في مثل هذه الاحوال الدموية في بلاد الرافدين.

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Political parties in postwar Lebanon: parties in search of partisans

AL Academic

AT Political parties in postwar Lebanon: parties in search of partisans.

AU Farid el Khazen

CT The Middle East Journal

DE Political parties

DE Political parties_Lebanon

DP Autumn 2003 v57 i4 p605(20)

GN Lebanon_Political aspects

IS 4

LW 605(20)

ND 20040430

PB The Middle East Institute

PT Magazine/Journal

PT Refereed

RM COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

SN 0026-3141

SU Political parties

SU Political parties_Lebanon

SU Forecasts and trends

SU Political aspects

VO 57



   Source:  The Middle East Journal, Autumn 2003 v57 i4 p605(20).


    Title:  Political parties in postwar Lebanon: parties in search of


   Author:  Farid el Khazen


 Subjects:  Lebanon – Political aspects

            Political parties

            Political parties – Lebanon

Locations:  Lebanon


Electronic Collection:  A111162255

                   RN:  A111162255



Full Text COPYRIGHT 2003 The Middle East Institute


This article examines the performance of political parties in postwar Lebanon

against the benchmark of parties in the prewar period. Parties turned into

militias during Lebanon’s fifteen-year war and reverted to their party status

with the ending of the war in 1990. In postwar Lebanon parties face several

problems partly generated by their inability to recover from wartime practices

and partly because of the built-in limitations in the political system

inhibiting competitive politics. Some parties are banned; others have access

to political and financial rewards and thus have a stake in preserving the

status quo. In this sense, parties are performing functions similar to those

performed by parties in authoritarian regimes.




Political parties have been active in Lebanon ever since the state was formed

in the early 1920s. The “first generation” of political parties emerged during

the French Mandate (1920-1943) and was followed by a “second generation” after

independence in 1943, and a “third generation” in wartime Lebanon (1975-1990).

From independence until the outbreak of war, the influence of political

parties was continuously on the rise in local and national politics, reaching

a peak in the first half of the 1970s. In the 1972 parliamentary

elections–the last held before the outbreak of war–the seven political

parties represented in parliament made up over 30% of parliamentary seats.


Lebanon does not have a party system, as in the case of two-party or

multi-party systems in functioning democracies. The political process is

centered on party-based politics as well as on non-partisan “independent”

politicians. Although no party in Lebanon reached power and ruled as parties

do in parliamentary systems, parties have shaped parliamentary debates and

participated in government, and party leaders, particularly those of

established parties, are influential political figures.


Unlike parties in Arab countries, Lebanon’s parties have represented a wide

spectrum of political, communal, and ideological platforms reflecting the

diverse political landscape both in Lebanon and in its Arab regional order.

(1) With no authoritarian state in Lebanon, no ruling party, and no official

state ideology, parties have greatly benefited from Lebanon’s openness and

competitive political process. Parties were able to express views and

propagate ideologies, particularly nationalist parties, in ways that were not

possible in the largely one-party and/or one-man pattern of rule in the Arab

world. Despite the banning of some political parties in Lebanon with leftist

and nationalist leanings, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, these parties

were able to organize, attract new recruits, and even participate in

parliamentary elections.


Lebanon’s parties, however, were not without limitations and problems: they

have generally reflected the communal nature of society and few were able to

overcome the confessional barrier. As for secular-oriented parties, they

shared a rigid political platform and were subject to various political and

ideological influences emanating from Arab politics. In general, parties have

failed to promote national integration and were not able to establish

mechanisms for cooperation–except on election day through the formation of

temporary electoral alliances. Common to all parties was the absence of

internal democratic practice. The internal organization, belief-system, and

power structure of parties were not conducive to democratic practice,

transparency, and accountability. (2) Parties have also nurtured the

personality cult of the party founder and/or leader, and few were able to

maintain cohesion and abide by their original political platform beyond the

founder’s lifetime.


Another feature shared by parties in Lebanon concerns their involvement in

armed conflict. Most parties were predisposed politically and ideologically to

transform themselves into militia forces in crisis situations linked to

regional turmoil. This occurred in the six-month crisis in 1958 and, more

recently, in Lebanon’s fifteen-year war. On the eve of the war in 1975, all

active parties–with the exception of the National Bloc Party led by Raymond

Edde–acquired weapons and party members underwent military training as part

of the military mobilization that culuminated in war.




The origins of political parties in Lebanon are similar to those of their

counterparts in other countries, both Western and non-Western. (3) Parties

grew from two sources: (i) institutional (or internal), that is, from within

government institutions, usually electoral politics and the legislative

process; (ii) external (developmental or crisis-situation) associated with the

process of social change and modernization (urbanization, mass education,

economic development, conflict). Parties like the Constitutional Bloc Party,

the National Bloc Party, and the National Liberal Party emerged out of

parliamentary coalitions, while the founding of parties like the Kata’ib

(Kataeb, Phalanges) Party, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), the

Lebanese Communist Party (LCP), and the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) was

due to various political, ideological, and social factors. (4) Lebanon’s

parties have mirrored societal cleavages (political, confessional,

ideological) and elite rivalries; they vary in size, influence, and

representation across Lebanon’s regions. While some parties have been confined

to a particular community, region, and even to a locality in the city, others

have a broader base and cater to a national audience.


Lebanon’s major communities have been associated with one or more parties.

Maronite and Druze partisan politics (Qaysi versus Yemeni) had roots in the

Imara (1516-1842) and Mutasarrifiya (1861-1914) periods in the eighteenth and

nineteenth centuries respectively, thus preceding modern political parties. In

post-1920 Lebanon, the Maronite community identified with parties espousing

different political and ideological platforms while the Druze community was

largely associated with the Progressive Socialist Party founded in the late

1940s and led by Kamal Jumblatt until his assassination in 1977. (5) The Sunni

community has generally identified with parties with an Arab nationalist

orientation both before and after independence. It was not until the early

1970s that the Shi’i community identified with parties of its own: the

Movement of the Deprived, subsequently Amal, and Iranian-backed Hizballah a

decade later. (6) By contrast, leftist and nationalist parties, particularly

the SSNP and the Lebanese Communist Party, were not associated with any

particular community and/ or region. As for the Armenian community, it had its

own parties which catered to Armenian communal interests and concerns. Except

in parliamentary elections, Armenian parties were largely detached from the

political process.




Political parties in Lebanon have evolved in five phases: (1) The French

mandate period (1920-1943) prior to independence; (2) The post-independence

period from 1943 to 1970; (3) The pre-war period from 1970-75, marked by

unprecedented party activism; (4) The war period (1975-1990), which generated

a drastic transformation in the conduct and objectives of political parties;

(5) The post-war period from 1990 to the present. Each phase had its own

characteristics regarding the functions and role of political parties in

relation to both state and society.


In the mandate period, two types of parties emerged: ideological parties (the

LCP, the SSNP, and the Kata’ib Party), and elite-based parties “partis de

personnalites”, according to Maurice Duverger) (7) which operated more like

loose political coalitions than as organized and disciplined parties (the

National Bloc and the Constitutional Bloc). Of the ideological parties, the

LCP (initially the Syrian-Lebanese Communist party led by Khalid Bakdash)

subscribed to Soviet communism, while the SSNP and the Kata’ib Party espoused

two radically different nationalist platforms, both opposed to Arab

nationalism. The SSNP advocated Syrian nationalism and called for the

formation of Greater Syrian and the Kata’ib Party subscribed to Lebanese

nationalism within the boundaries of the newly-formed state. Of the elite

based parties, the National Bloc and Constitutional Bloc were led by two

Maronite politicians, Emile Edde and Bechara el-Khoury, although these two

parties had allies and supporters from all communities. While ideological

parties in the mandate period were on the fringe of domestic politics and

elite rivalries, and had a narrow power base (the SSNP was banned by French

authorities in the 1930s), party-based politics identified with established

communal leaders. Much of the politics of that period hinged on inter- and

intra-elite rivalries, particularly competition between Maronite politicians

for the presidency, Maronite-Sunni differences over Lebanon’s Arabism and

relations with Syria, the positions of established leaders toward the French

mandate, and the struggle for independence. (9)


The post-independence period witnessed the emergence of new parties: the

Najjada Party, the Progressive Socialist Party in the late 1940s, the National

Liberal Party in the late 1950s, and Arab nationalist parties (founded outside

Lebanon) in the 1950s and 1960s (the Arab Nationalist Movement, the Ba’th

Party, and Nasirite parties). Party-based politics in the 1940s was largely a

continuation of the politics that prevailed in the mandate period. The 1950s,

however, witnessed change, as parties became better organized and more

involved in Lebanese politics both in its internal and external dimensions.

The polarization induced by the Cold War and by the 1956 Suez war at the

height of Nasirite influence in pan-Arab politics forced politicians and

political parties to take a stand on the issues of the day: American-Soviet

rivalry, Western-sponsored defense pacts, and Arab nationalist politics.

Several parties took part in the armed conflict in 1958 and the country was

divided between the pro-Nasir camp and the pro-Western Arab camp, then led by

Hashimite-ruled Iraq.




The third phase (1970-1975), which immediately preceded the outbreak of war,

was unique in the history of party politics in pre-war Lebanon. Over 15

political parties and groupings of all persuasions were active and

influential: parties of Left and Right, confessional and secular, ideological

and non-ideological, radical and moderate. Parties were engaged in large scale

mobilization, recruitment, and propaganda activities across the country. This

period was marked by two developments: the political assertion of leftist

parties (the “old” and the New Left) and the Palestine Liberation

Organization’s political and military activism in Lebanon in the aftermath of

the Arab defeat in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. PLO-generated radicalism in the

first half of the 1970s overlapped with the entry of Lebanese politics into

the age of ideology and mass politics. In many ways, Lebanon’s political scene

resembled the era of the 1960s in Western countries. (10)


Since the late 1960s, leftist parties expanded rapidly within all communities

and were influenced by revolutionary movements in Third World countries and by

student activism in Western countries. This was a time when Lebanon witnessed

the rise of radical parties espousing various ideological platforms: Marxist,

Leninist, Maoist, Trotskyite. In the eyes of the more militant parties of the

New Left, represented by the Organization of Communist Action (founded in

1971), the Lebanese Communist Party looked like a traditional establishment

party. Arab nationalist parties were equally active, notably the pro-Iraqi

Ba’th Party, which won a seat in the 1972 parliamentary elections. So did a

Nasirite candidate in Beirut. Also, the SSNP made political headway during

that period, but it was a different party, both politically and ideologically,

from that of the 1940s and 1950s. Released from jail in 1969-70, after serving

a sentence since 1963 following the party’s abortive coup against President

Fouad Chehab, SSNP party leaders began to reorganize the party and turned it

into a “left wing” party identifying with Arab causes. (11)


During that period Lebanon’s labor unions associated with political parties

were mobilized and highly politicized. In the 1970s, the social question

acquired an unprecedented ideological dimension and a political platform never

experienced before in Lebanese politics. The novel development in the 1970s

was the political activism of university students affiliated with parties.

Never before did Lebanon witness the intensity and magnitude of politicization

of university students as in the first half of the 1970s. (12)


The first half of the 1970s was also marked by the militarization of Lebanese

politics. The PLO’s armed presence divided Lebanese parties and public into

two camps: one opposed to the PLO’s armed presence and to PLO-Israeli warfare

in south Lebanon, the other giving it unconditional support. By the mid-1970s,

domestic Lebanese politics overlapped with that of the PLO. This was the case

in the three major crises that paralyzed government in 1969, 1973, and 1975,

in which the PLO was deeply involved both politically and militarily. The

divide continued to widen and no middle ground solution was possible. In the

end, armed conflict was inevitable, for coexistence between an expanding

Palestinian revolutionary movement backed by Arab regimes and the Lebanese

state was, at best, temporary.


THE WAR YEARS: 1975-1990


In the war years, political parties were the most predisposed and the most

well-equipped actors to engage in armed conflict. The turning point for the

militarization of parties–that is, the acquisition of weapons and the

organized training of party members and supporters–was in 1973, following the

armed confrontation between the Lebanese army and the PLO. Divided on the PLO

armed presence as well as on ideological and political grounds, political

parties mirrored these divisions. In the Christian camp, weapons were needed

to defend communal interests and face the PLO-Leftist-Muslim alliance, while

in the Muslim-Leftist camp weapons were needed to defend the PLO and to reform

the political system.


As war broke out, parties quickly turned into militias. (13) They mobilized

the youth, attracted new recruits, and provided the political, military, and

propaganda infrastructure for warfare. And with the institutionalization of

the war system, parties/militias emerged as the main beneficiaries of the war

both politically and financially. Militia leaders were better off managing

conflict rather than finding ways to end it. While the first phase of the war

in 1975-76 was fought by volunteers on both sides and the perception of

communal and/or political threat was high, the subsequent phases–from 1977 to

the Israeli invasion in 1982, and from that date until 1990 were fought by

organized militias (in addition to the PLO, Syria, and Israel) with full-time

fighters receiving salaries and other benefits.


As the war generated a momentum of its own along with its rewards for the

protagonists, political parties/militias became the most effective “lobby” for

its prolongation. Following the second collapse of state institutions

(government and army) in the aftermath of the 1982 Israeli invasion (the first

was in 1975-76), militias were the de facto holders of power in the areas they

controlled: the (Christian) Lebanese Forces in “East Beirut” and (Shi’i) Amal,

the (Druze) Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), and other parties in “West

Beirut.” (14) The first major attempt to integrate the militia order in the

state was in December 1985, when Lebanon’s three major militias–the Lebanese

Forces, Amal, and the PSP–signed an agreement to end the war. Presented as a

platform for reform, the Syrian-brokered Tripartite Agreement aimed to

institutionalize Syrian domination over Lebanon through militia rule. Opposed

by Lebanese Forces military commander, Samir Geagea [Ja’ja’] and by president

Amin Gemayel [Jumayyil], the Tripartite Agreement collapsed and Elie Hobeiqa,

the Lebanese Forces intelligence chief who brokered the agreement with

Damascus, was ousted from “East Beirut.” (15)


As the war continued, militias became increasingly dependent on external

parties for support (PLO, Syria, Israel, Iran). The war also led to the

fragmentation of militias and to bloody confrontations among militias sharing

similar objectives and within the same community and/or region. The militias’

“civil wars” resulted in thousands of civilian casualties and in massive

destruction of property. Moreover, some militias ceased to operate during the

war, notably the Fatah-backed Sunni militia Al-Murabitun, while new

parties/militias were formed. The two main newcomers were Islamist parties:

Shi’i-based Party of God (Hizballah) and Sunni-based Harakat al-Tawhid (Unity

Movement) led by Shaykh Sa’id Sha’ban. While the power base of Harakat

al-Tawhid was confined to the northern city of Tripoli–and was backed first

by PLO Leader Yasir ‘Arafat and, after the latter’s ouster from Tripoli in

1983, by Syria–Hizballah had much greater influence and support.


Although Hizballah’s roots go back to the Da’wa Party in Iraq, its official

founding was in 1985, following the announcement of its charter identifying

itself as an Islamist party committed to the establishment of an Islamic state

in Lebanon and espousing Ruhollah Khomeini’s Wilayat al-Faqih. (16)

Hizballah’s initial involvement in the war was in 1982 during the Israeli

invasion. Armed and funded by Iran, Hizballah clashed with leftist parties and

was on bad terms with Syria at a time when the relationship between Amal, led

by Nabih Berri since 1980, and Damascus was at its peak, particularly in the

mid-1980s. Having succeeded in attracting an increasingly large Shi’i

following, intially from within the ranks of Amal, Hizballah became Amal’s

main rival in the Shi’i community. Armed confrontations between Amal and

Hizballah in the late 1980s were ended by an active intervention by Syria and



Most opposed to a political settlement to end the war–from the first attempt

in the February 1976 Constitutional Document to the November 1989 Ta’if

Agreement–were political parties/militias; they had more interests at stake

to preserve in war-torn Lebanon than powerless politicians not affiliated with

parties. The ending of the war in Fall 1990–preceded by two successive wars

in “East Beirut” in 1989-1990 between the Lebanese Forces and General Aoun and

between the latter and Syria occurred against the will of the militias and

their leaders. (17)




The transition from war to peace was abrupt and involved no rehabilitation

process for political parties and for the “war elites” who changed hats

overnight. The war did not end with a peace conference that brought together

the protagonists under international auspices, as in the case of other

protracted conflicts. The closest substitute to a peace conference was the

Ta’if Agreement, (18) the implementation of which sparked another round of

warfare. War ended with an act of war, when General Michel Aoun, heading an

interim cabinet, was removed from office by Syrian forces assisted by Lebanese

Army units loyal to the Ta’if government. (19) With the ending of hostilities,

political parties, like other political actors, entered the postwar phase of

Lebanese politics. Militias had to adapt to this new state of affairs and

quickly revert to their political party status.


In March 1991, the government formally announced the dissolution of the

militias in accordance with the Ta’if Agreement, and militias were given until

the end of April to hand in their heavy weapons and to close their military

and training centers. (20) All militias, large and small, were dissolved

except Hizballah and, to a lesser extent, Amal. Hizballah maintained a

sophisticated military force of several thousand men and was engaged in

warfare against the Israeli army and the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army in

south Lebanon. Similarly, Palestinian factions, especially those based in

camps in the south, were not disarmed; on the contrary, they were given a new

lease on life in the absence of a political decision to allow the Lebanese

Army to enter the camps in 1991. Loyal to Syria and ‘Arafat, Palestinian

factions have been involved in recent years in violent clashes in and outside

the camps.


The most targeted militia force in Syrian-controlled postwar Lebanon has been

the Lebanese Forces, in addition to other Christian-based parties. The

Lebanese Forces were transformed in 1993 into a political party, officially

called the Lebanese Forces Party. But less than a year after its formation,

the Lebanese Forces Party was banned by the Lebanese government and its leader

Samir Geagea was detained in 1994, following the bombing of a church, of which

he was later acquitted, and has received several life sentences for

war-related crimes. Although without Geagea’s support the Ta’if Agreement

might not have seen the light, his detention since 1994 has been attributed to

his lukewarm involvement in the political process and, more importantly, to

his antagonism to Syria during the war years. (21)




Political parties in postwar Lebanon face several problems emanating from

three overlapping sources: first, problems generated by the political order

since the end of the war in 1990; second, problems emanating from society,

that is, the way in which the public relates to political parties and to their

role in and outside government; third, internal rivalries and problems of

organizational and political nature. Although these problems spring from

different sources and have different dynamics, they are mutually reinforcing

in terms of their overall impact on parties and the political process.


In prewar Lebanon, what enabled political parties to perform functions similar

to those performed in democratic regimes–namely, political representation,

elite recruitment, mobilization of the electorate, policy formulation–and

influence the decision-making process as parties in power or in the opposition

was the absence of an authoritarian state. Had Lebanon been ruled by one party

or by a regime that tolerated only those parties that were subservient to

government authorities, political parties would have fared no better than

parties in authoritarian regimes as in Lebanon’s regional order.


In postwar Lebanon, the margin for freedom and tolerance is no doubt narrower

than that of the prewar period and, over the last decade, that margin has been

shrinking and the political system has gradually acquired features of an

authoritarian state. This is particularly reflected in parliamentary elections

which have been held every four years since 1992 but have had little bearing

on government policy. (22) The problem is compounded by the fact that final

decisions in domestic and foreign policy are made in Damascus and implemented

in Beirut. (23) For instance, foreign policy–an important component of the

political agenda of any political party–is governed by the notion of

“privileged relations” between Lebanon and Syria, which means that Lebanon’s

foreign policy should always concur with that of Syria–the so-called

“concurrent path” (talazum al-masarayn).


More constraining to political parties is the threshold of tolerance of party

activism determined by the state. Parties can be divided into three

categories: “loyal” parties, that is, parties having permanent representation

in cabinet and parliament, such as the SSNP, Amal, the Ba’th Party, the PSP,

and Al-Wa’d Party led by the late Elie Hobeiqa; parties that are allowed to

operate but have no representation in cabinet or parliament, such as the

Lebanese Communist Party and the National Bloc Party; and parties that are

banned, such as the Lebanese Forces Party and the Pro-Iraqi Ba’th Party, or

are systematically targeted by government authorities either directly or

indirectly, such as the National Liberal Party, the Kata’ib Party (until 2002)

and the Independent National Current led by General Michel Aoun [‘Awn].


The common denominator shared by the parties of the latter category in

addition to the National Bloc Party is their vocal opposition to Syrian

hegemony over Lebanon and their call to redress the imbalance in

Syrian-Lebanese relations. (see Table 1)


While problems emanating from the political system are a function of internal

and external circumstances, the gap separating political parties from society

is more difficult to bridge. Parties have maintained a political discourse

that is little different from that of the war, and that has not helped to

improve their credibility beyond the small circle of partisans. Moreover,

parties involved in the war have not been able to recover from the negative

militia image they acquired in fifteen years of violence. Although some

parties sought to improve their image, others, particularly parties that have

access to power and privileges in the postwar period, have had no incentive to

do so. (24) In fact, militia leaders of the 1970s and 1980s are now leading

government officials reaping the fruits of their deeds in the war years. For

example, Nabih Berri, the leader of the Amal militia since 1980, has been

Speaker of parliament since 1992. Similarly, Walid Jumblatt, the leader of the

PSP since 1977 and other members of his party have been permanent members of

cabinet since 1990. As for the SSNP, which shunned political office since its

founding in the early 1930s, party leaders and members have been represented

in all cabinets and parliaments since 1990.


The third type of problems faced by political parties is internal. Here the

distinction between banned or targeted parties and “loyal” parties is

necessary. Needless to say, the freedom to organize, campaign, and recruit new

members for parties in power is obviously much larger than that allowed for

the other parties. While in the first half of the 1970s parties reached a peak

in terms of their ability to expand and attract new members, especially among

the youth and across Lebanon’s communities and regions, in the 1990s the trend

has been reversed. With the exception of a few parties, notably Hizballah

(discussed below), parties have not been able to attract new recruits in large

numbers as in previous periods. And those parties that did better than others

in this regard, the majority of the new recruits have family ties to party

members, a phenomenon called by Shawqat Shtai “biological reproduction.” (25)


Internal divisions are another problem facing political parties. While several

parties witnessed fragmention, especially following the disappearance of the

party founder (the SSNP following the execution of Antoun Saadeh in 1949; the

National Liberal Party after the death of Camille Chamoun in 1985; Amal after

the disappearance of Imam Musa al-Sadr in 1978), the party that has been beset

by internal divisions in recent years is the Kata’ib Party. It was deeply

factionalized during the war prior to the death of the party founder Pierre

Gemayel in 1984, but the divide between the Kata’ib and the Lebanese Forces

led by Gemayel’s son, Bashir, became irreversible after the elder Gemayel’s



In the 1990s, the Kata’ib underwent further divisions as party leader George

Saade opted for accommodation with government and maintained ties with

Damascus, while two other factions, one led by former party head Elie Karame

and another by Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea, opposed Saade’s policy and

objectives. The power struggle within the Kata’ib Party continued after

Saade’s death in 1998 and was intensified following the return of former

president Amin Gemayel to Lebanon in mid-2000 from a twelve-year exile in

Paris. The election of Karim Pakradouni as head of the party in 2002 widened

the internal rift. As Pakradouni drew the party closer to President Emile

Lahoud and to Damascus, he clashed with Amin Gemayel and his supporters, and

that led to the de facto emergence of two Kata’ib Parties: the “official”

party loyal to Lahoud and hoping to benefit politically for its stand, and the

other supported by the party’s traditional base in the opposition.


The Kata’ib Party’s dilemma in postwar Lebanon is rather unique: it was one of

the few Christian-backed parties that supported the Ta’if Agreement at the

height of General Aoun’s popularity and influence in “East Beirut,” but was

not rewarded for its deed by government authorities and/or by Syria; (26) it

also supported government policies and established ties with Damascus but

alienated a large segment of its supporters who do not share the views and the

policies of the present party leadership.


Another party marginalized by the postwar political order is the Lebanese

Communist Party. Unlike the Kata’ib Party, the LCP was Syria’s ally during the

war, especially after the departure of the PLO from Beirut and Tripoli in

1982-1983, and it supported the 1985 Syrian-sponsored, militia-based

Tripartite Agreement. But despite its impeccable record, the LCP was the only

party of the former coalition of leftist and nationalist parties, the Lebanese

National Movement, that found itself empty-handed in the Syrian-dominated

political order since 1990. Of the leading figures of the Lebanese National

Movement who are still politically active, George Hawi, the LCP head from 1972

to 1992 and the leading figure of the left since the late 1960s, was the only

one who was neither appointed in parliament to fill one of the 40 vacant seats

in 1991 nor in the cabinet. Nor have other party members gained seats in the

three parliamentary elections since 1992.


The LCP and the Kata’ib were the two parties that seriously sought to assess

their performance in the last two or three decades and to introduce change in

the organization, the political orientation, and discourse of their respective

parties. (27) Instigated by the political setback since the end of the war and

by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the failure of the Communist model,

the LCP launched a movement of reform in the sixth party congress in 1992. The

reformist group, known as the “Democratic Leftist Current,” sought to steer

the party away form the rigid Marxist model and from the notion of “democratic

centralism” that generally characterized Communist parties. The reformists

called for internal democracy in the party’s decision-making process and

advocated the revival of party ties to its traditional base, notably labor

unions and students, but were opposed by the old guard who considered that

internal cohesion was far more important than political pluralism in the

party. This attempt reached a deadlock in the eighth party congress in 1999

when the old guard regained the upper-hand and, as a result, several

reformists left the party or are no longer active. In fact, the number of

participants dropped from about 8500 in the LCP sixth congress to about 3500

in the eighth congress. (28)


The reformist attempt initiated by the Kata’ib Party fared no better than that

of the LCP. The Kata’ib predicament is greater than that of the LCP since, for

many years, the Kata’ib was the “ruling party” in wartime “East Beirut.” Under

the leadership of George Saade, the Kata’ib launched a reformist program in

its nineteenth party congress in 1993. The aim was to open up to political

parties and leaders with whom the Kata’ib was at odds during the war, to

revive ties with its base, and to draw the line with the Lebanese Forces, one

year after Samir Geagea’s failure to reach party leadership. The congress’

slogan, “democratic renewal,” found its way to implementation with the

adoption of direct elections of the party leadership from party members. But

as the new electoral law led to internal fragmentation in the 1994 elections,

it was amended in the 1995 twentieth party congress and governed party

elections in 1997 and 1999. These measures, however, did not help to end

divisions in the party, which aggravated following Saade’s death in 1998 and

Amin Gemayel’s attempt to regain control over the party. The election of Amin

Gemayel’s son, Pierre, to Parliament in summer 2000, and the loss of Saade’s

successor as party head in 1998-2000, Mounir al-Hajj, who ran in the same

electoral district as Pierre Gemayel, deepened the divide.


Another reformist attempt was that of the SSNP, initiated by Yusuf al-Ashqar

who headed the party in 1974 and, more recently, in 1992. A1-Ashqar’s central

idea revolved around the concept of civil society/the civil state and

emphasized the differentiation between political forces seeking to create a

non-confessional democratic civil society and those opposed to it. (29) He

also called for the reform of the sources of authority in the party thus

advocating democratic practice to reform the party and achieve its objectives.

A1-Ashqar’s endeavor to renew the party and to break the rigidity that has

characterized it for many years faced a strong opposition, particularly from

former militia leaders and party officials holding government office, and that

led him to resign from the party leadership in 1994.


One notable exception in party-based politics since 1990 is Hizballah. Founded

in the mid-1980s, Hizballah is a relative newcomer to the party scene in

Lebanon. A “young” and dynamic party, Hizballah belongs to the “third

generation” of Lebanese parties that emerged during the war. A rival of Amal,

Hizballah quickly asserted itself as the largest party in the Shi’i community.

On all party indicators mentioned above, Hizballah has done better than other

parties since the end of the war: it has expanded rapidly in all Shi’i regions

of the country, was able to attract a large following, especially among the

youth, gained credibility as the party of the armed resistance against Israeli

occupation in the south, and has access to large financial resources largely

from Iran, which enabled the party to establish welfare institutions and to

run an influential television station (al-Manar)–the only Arabic-language

satellite television station controlled by an Islamist party in the Middle

East. In a way, Hizballah is the only party in Lebanon whose success is

measured more by the large measure of autonomy it has from government

authorities in political and security affairs rather than from the power it

exercises in government.


But Hizballah’s uniqueness as a political party or, more accurately, as a

nonstate actor lies in its dual status as a political party and militia

operating with the backing of three states: Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. No other

party in Lebanon or in any other country, democratic or authoritarian, Islamic

or secular in the present international system enjoys the kind of status and

privileges that Hizballah has had since the end of the war. While non-state

actors, be they armed groups espousing a political cause or rebel groups

involved in illegal activities, have acted in defiance of the state, Hizballah

provides the opposite example of an armed group operating with the full and

open backing of the state. And contrary to the case of another non-state

actor, the PLO in Lebanon from the late 1960s to 1982-83, which turned the

south into a war zone against Israel and established its “Fatah Land” against

the will of the Lebanese state, Hizballah has been “delegated” by the

Syrian-controlled Lebanese state to engage in war against Israel to liberate

south Lebanon and to continue warfare in Shebaa (Shab’a) farms (a territory

that Lebanon and Syria claim to be Lebanese while the United Nations confirms

that it is Israeli-occupied Syrian territory) even after the withdrawal of

Israeli troops from the south in May 2000 in accordance with UN Security

Council Resolution 425. It is an anomalous situation, unique in the annals of

contemporary state-party relations.


In reality, Hizballah has three overlapping faces. One is that of a

Shi’i-based Islamist party actively involved in the political process: it

participates in elections, engages in clientelist politics, and makes

pragmatic alliances and political calculations like any other party seeking to

enhance its power and rewards. A second face is that of an ideological party

and guerrilla movement engaged in a holy war (jihad) to liberate not only

Lebanese territory but also occupied Palestine and to establish an Islamic

state in Lebanon inspired by the Iranian model whenever conditions are ripe

for that endeavor. The third face is that of a clandestine organization with

an international network of resources and agents operating closely with other

Islamist groups, both Sunni and Shi’i. This third “face” has given Hizballah

an international posture and the label of a “terrorist” party by the United

States and other Western countries, especially so in the aftermath of the

September 11 attacks in the United States.




In the 1960s and 1970s Lebanon’s parties were modern parties in terms of the

functions they performed in and outside parliament and in the policy issues

they pursued. (30) Political parties in the 1990s, by contrast, are

“pre-modern” and differ from their counterparts in democratic countries. As

the latter increasingly operate as interest groups as much as they seek power

and are involved in policy pursuit covering broad non-ideological issues,

Lebanon’s parties are hostage to ideological rigidity and are generally

detached from concerns that preoccupy the general public. Issues like

governance, freedom of expression, human rights, and foreign policy do not

figure on the agenda of political parties and, when they do, they are given

low priority.


Unable to relate to the “working classes” and to defend their interests in a

divided and inactive labor union movement,31 and unable to compete with

Hizballah’s maximalist platform on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Lebanese

Communist Party has run out of causes. Likewise, the Progressive Socialist

Party has become a Druzebased party, criticized by Jumblatt himself for its

rigid and archaic structure.32 The SSNP, for its part, has maintained its

discourse on Syrian nationalism, though colored with Arabism, while focusing

on “the continous struggle against the Jews in occupied Palestine.” And as the

Ba’th Party clings to Arab unity “to achieve the common aspirations of the

Arab people,” Hizballah seeks to create a “Muslim society” of its own and to

liberate occupied territories in Lebanon and Palestine. Ironically, the

parties that challenged the status quo and called for political and economic

change prior to the outbreak of war, notably leftist and nationalist parties,

are today the gatekeepers of the status quo. Ironically, the parties of the

prewar right are today the leading advocates of political and economic reform.


As for the role of parties in parliamentary elections and, by extension, in

the preservation of competitive politics, they have performed roles similar to

those performed by parties in authoritarian regimes. Since parties are more

organized and disciplined political actors than individual politicians, and

since elections are largely controlled by government, parties have become an

effective instrument in influencing the outcome of elections. This is due to

the following reasons. First, the parties that are able to operate freely in

elections are those that have close ties with government authorities and

Damascus: Hizballah, Amal, SSNP, Ba’th, PSP, A1-Ahbash (the Society of Islamic

Philanthropic Projects), Al-Jama’a Al-Islamiyya, and Al-Wa’d. Second, since

the formation of electoral lists in large constituencies (ranging from 10 to

28 in the three postwar elections) largely determines the outcome of elections

in a simple plurality system, the presence of “loyal” parties in several

constituencies shapes electoral alliances between these parties and a large

number of candidates, including established politicians. Third, in some

constituencies, “loyal” parties form the nucleus of electoral lists,

particularly in the South and the Biqa’, the two constituencies with Shi’i

majority, where Syrian-brokered alliances between Amal and Hizballah have

determined the outcome of elections prior to election day. (33) Although

“loyal” parties have gained an average of (32) seats in each of the last three

elections, they influence the election of over 75 seats through electoral

alliances out of parliament’s 128 seats. It is important to underlnie the

changing sectarian composition of parties in parliament. In prewar

Parliaments, party representation was mainly Christian and predominantly

Maronite. By contrast, in the postwar period, party representation in

Parliament is mainly Shi’i, divided almost equally between Hizballah and Amal.

(See Tables 2 and 3)


Another role played by parties in favor of strengthening the status quo

relates to the role of parties in the deadlocked competition between

government and opposition. Present-day opposition in Lebanon is neither

similar to opposition in the prewar period nor to opposition in democratic or

non-democratic regimes. Four patterns of opposition have emerged since 1990:

(1) Opposition exercised by the three “presidents” (president, prime minister,

speaker), the so-called Troika, whereby “presidents” veto each other’s

decisions informally and thus cripple the decision-making process; (2)

Opposition within cabinet, that is, between cabinet members loyal to the three

“presidents” and/or to Damascus; (3) Opposition outside government by parties

and politicians “loyal” to the system; (4) Opposition outside the system

targeting not only government policy but also Syria’s control over the

political process.


Since “loyal” parties are not competing in elections on the basis of policy

differences between government and opposition as in democratic regimes,

competition in practice aims at preserving the parties’ share in office. Party

platforms are then a function of their interests as proteges of the political

order to get access to power and to various clientelist privileges. And since

“loyal” parties are neither able nor willing to influence government policy

beyond a predetermined ceiling, they would be content to maintain the existing

status quo which serves their interests. For Hizballah the aim is to maintain

autonomy in areas under its control; for Nabih Berri preserving the

speakership along with an extensive network of employment in the public sector

is a priority; for the SSNP the aim is to maintain its privileged status in

cabinet and parliament, while for Walid Jumblatt his Druze leadership and

control over a large parliamentary bloc are a necessity for political

survival; as for the two rival Sunni Islamist parties, their political

fortunes are largely dependent on their relationship with Damascus. In this

way, parties have a stake in maintaining the status quo along with the

built-in limitations that obstruct competitive politics and, by extension, the

democratic process.




In this largely predetermined power equation, real opposition politics takes

place outside political parties operating under the imposed rules of the game.

Other parties and groupings are active within their own political space, and

they have generated new forms of political organization and protest. In

addition to the Forum for National Action led by former Premier Salim al-Hoss

established in the early 1990s, other groupings were formed over the last two

years: the Democratic Forum led by former deputy Habib Sadiq, the National

Gathering for Salvation and Change formed in 2001 and led by former Nasirite

deputy Najah Wakim, the Democratic Renewal Movement led by deputy Nassib

Lahoud, the Qornet Shehwan Gathering, and the Gathering of the Constitution

and the Pact made up of former deputies involved in the making of the Ta’if



Moreover, three “loyal” parties were established in 2000-2001: The Lebanese

Democratic Party led by Druze deputy and minister Talal Arslan, the Lebanese

Democratic Front led by former head of the Maronite League Ernest Karam, and

the Lebanese Forces Party led by Fouad Malek. Arslan’s Druze-based party is a

rival to Jumblatt’s PSP, and Karam’s party is a gathering of notables. Of the

three parties, the legalization of the Lebanese Forces Party, eight years

after its banning, has a well-defined agenda: to provide a “loyal” substitute

to the Geagea-led Lebanese Forces. Geagea denounced Malek’s party in a

statement issued from prison and he retains the support of the majority of

activists and sympathizers of the Lebanese Forces.


The most effective and thus the most targeted opposition group has been the

Qornet Shehwan Gathering (QSG). Established in April 2001, the QSG includes

four political parties (the National Liberal Party led by Dory Chamoun, the

“unofficial” Kata’ib Party loyal to Amin Gemayel and Elie Karame, the Lebanese

Forces loyal to Samir Geagea, and the National Bloc led by Carlos Edde) as

well as several independent politicians, including eight members of

parliament. (34) The QSG was the first major attempt since the end of the war

to bring together parties and politicians representing a large spectrum of

views in the Christian community.


Although initially viewed as a temporary coalition of oddities, the QSG

emerged as the major opposition force in the country in the last two years.

Three features have characterized the QSG as an opposition coalition: (1) it

adopted the political discourse of the Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir on

the need to implement the Ta’if Agreement and to establish balanced relations

between Lebanon and Syria; (2) it drew its legitimacy from the support of a

large segment of the Christian community, which felt targeted politically

since the end of the war; (3) it called for national dialogue and sought to

build bridges with Muslim leaders on the Ta’if platform and was initially

backed by Walid Jumblatt and by other Muslim leaders.


As the QSG gained momentum, particularly following the historic reconciliation

between Christians and Druze during Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir’s visit

to the Shuf Mountain and meeting with Walid Jumblatt in early August 2001,

government authorities responded by a massive crackdown on three member

parties of the QSG leading to the detention of over 200 student activists and

the arrest of Toufic Hindi, the Lebanese Forces representative in the QSG.

Charged of a plot to divide up the army and of establishing ties with Israel,

Hindi received a fifteen-month prison sentence. Hindi’s detention and

subsequent release were politically motivated. Arm-twisting between government

and the QSG continued and reached a peak following the election of the

candidate backed by QSG in the by-election in the Matn district in June 2002.

The election of Gabriel al-Murr (the uncle of the current Interior Minister,

Elias Murr, and the brother of the former Interior Minister, Michel Murr) was

annulled four months later by the Constitutional Court which ruled the

election of another candidate receiving less than 2 percent of the vote.

Murr’s television station (MTV) and radio station, which employed over four

hundred people, were shut down in September 2002 by a court order for alleged

violations of the 2000 electoral law. These rulings, which clearly indicated

the politicization of the judiciary, were criticized by the Bar Association,

human rights groups, and the European Union.


The two taboo issues raised by the QSG–the phased withdrawal of Syrian troops

and national reconciliation on the basis of the Ta’if Agreement–led the

government to mobilize all its resources, both legal and illegal, to

neutralize the QSG and to divide it from within. The government’s aim has been

to bring back the debate to its pre-2000 ceiling by removing the question of

Syrian hegemony from media attention and by preventing any rapprochement

between representative Christian and Muslim leaders. In so doing, political

debate would be confined to domestic issues of a non-political nature and to

the frequent squabbling among the presidential “Troika” over political and

financial deals.




In over eighty years of uninterrupted activism by political parties, Lebanon’s

parties have had a unique experience in comparison with political parties in

Arab countries. In prewar Lebanon, parties of all political and ideological

persuasions were able to broaden their base and influence policy, while during

the war militias were de facto ruling parties in the areas they controlled.

Over a decade since the end of the war, parties have yet to recover from

internalized war-time practices. Those parties that attempted to make the

transition from militias to parties were not always successful, while others

were neither able nor willing to make the transition. With the exception of

Hizballah, the deepest crisis faced by parties lies in their failure to

provide an alternative for political activism, particularly for the youth,

better than that offered by non-partisan politicians. In short, parties have

lost their prewar moral claim that they presented a form of political

organization superior to that of traditional” politicians and that they were

the vehicle for reform and democratic change. They are, in other words,

parties in search of partisans.


The political order that emerged since 1990 has not helped parties to perform

these functions. In a political system that restricts foreign policy to a few

slogans and domestic policy to constant feuding between politicians competing

for privileged access to Damascus, political pluralism has a predetermined

margin, and competition between government and opposition is confined to that

margin. Under the present rules of the game, political parties seek to

maintain the status quo irrespective of its damaging impact on political

pluralism and the democratic process. In this way, parties in postwar Lebanon

are performing functions similar to those performed by parties in

authoritarian regimes. (35)


Major Parties in Postwar Lebanon *



Founding Date





Lebanese Communist Party



Syrian Social Nationalist Party        


Antoun Saade

Lebanese Kata’ib Party      


Pierre Gemayel

National Bloc Party         


Emile Edde

Ba’th Party Progressive                


M. Aflaq/S.Bitar

Socialist Party


Kamal Jumblatt

National Liberal Party      


Camille Chamoun

Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya       


Fathi Yakan

Society of Islamic Philanthropic Projects   (Al-Ahbash)    


‘Abdallah al-Habashi



Musa al-Sadr

Hizballah **                


Sobhi Toufaili

Lebanese Forces Party (banned)


Samir Geagea



Current Leader



Lebanese Communist Party

Farouq Dahrouj

Syrian Social Nationalist Party        

Gibran Araiji

Lebanese Kata’ib Party      

Karim Pakradouni

National Bloc Party         

Carlos Edde

Ba’th Party Progressive                

Asim Qanso

Socialist Party

Walid Jumblatt

National Liberal Party      

Dory Chamoun

Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya      

Faysal Mawlawi

Society of Islamic Philanthropic Projects   (Al-Ahbash)    

Husam al-Din Qaraqira


Nabih Berri

Hizballah **                

Hassan Nasrallah

Lebanese Forces Party (banned)

Samir Geagea


* Other smaller parties are active, including three Armenian parties.


** Hizballah was unofficially founded in 1982.



Political Parties in Parliament, 1972-2000










National Liberal Party      





Lebanese Kata’ib Party             





Progressive Socialist Party        





National Bloc Party                















Syrian Social Nationalist Party    





Bath Party                         





Al Jama’a al-Islamiyya             





Society of Islamic Philanthropic Projects   (Al-Ahbash)    





Al Wa’d                            






























(Total Seats in Parlt.)                                         












Parties in Parliament by Sect (1972-2000)



1972 Total Seat

Party Members

1992-2000 Total Seats









Greek Orthodox




Greek Catholic            




Armenian Orthodox     




Armenian Catholics     






































1992 Party members

1996 Party Members

2000 Party Members









Greek Orthodox




Greek Catholic            




Armenian Orthodox     




Armenian Catholics     





































(1.) For a comprehensive work on political parties in prewar Lebanon, see

Michael W. Suleiman, Political Parties in Lebanon, The Challenge of a

Fragmented Political Culture (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967).


(2.) See Shawqat Salim Shtai, Al-Shuyu ‘iyun wa al-Kata ‘ib: Tajribat

al-Tarbiya al-Hizbiyya fi Lubnan [The Communists and the Kata ‘ib: The

Experience of Party Education in Lebanon] (Beirut: Mu’assassat al-Intishar

al-‘Arabi, 1997), pp. 475-498.


(3.) See, for example, Giovanni Sartori, Parties and Party Systems: A

Framework for Analysis, Vol. I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976);

Alan Ware, Political Parties and Party Systems (Oxford: Oxford University

Press, 1996).


(4.) On the Kata’ib Party, see John P. Entelis, Pluralism and Party

Transformation in Lebanon: AlKata’ib 1936-1970 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1974);

Frank Stoakes, “The Supervigilantes: The Lebanese Kataeb Party as Builder,

Surrogate and Defender of the State” Middle Eastern Studies, 11 (October

1975): pp. 215-236. On the Progressive Socialist Party, see Nazih Richani,

Dilemmas of Democracy and Political Change in Sectarian Societies: The Case of

the Progressive Socialist Party 1949-1996 (New York: St. Martin’s Press,

1998); on the SSNP, see Labib Zuwiyya Yamak, The Syrian Social Nationalist

party, An Ideological Analysis (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966).


(5.) See Fares Shtai, Al-Hizb al- Taqaaddumi al-Ishtiraki 1949-1975 [The

Progressive Socialist Party 1949-1975], 2 vols. (Al-Mukhtara: Al-Dar al-

Taqaddumiyya, 1989).


(6.) See Augustus Richard Norton, Amal and The Shia: Struggle for the Soul of

Lebanon (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987); Fouad Ajami, The Vanished

Imam: Musa al-Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,



(7.) Maurice Duverger, Les Partis Politiques [Political Parties] (Paris:

Librairie Armand Colin, 1961): 322-332.


(8.) On the concepts of Greater Syria, see Daniel Pipes, Greater Syria: The

History of an Ambition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).


(9.) See Eyal Zisser, Lebanon: The Challenge of Independence (London: I.B.

Tauris, 2000), pp. 1-40.


(10.) See Farid el Khazen, The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon 1967-1976

(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000): pp. 73-86.


(11.) See Walid Nuwayhid, “Naqd al-Hizb al-Suri al-Qawmi al-Ijtima ‘i”

[“Critique of the SSNP”], Dirasat ‘Arabiyya No. 7 (May 1973): 32-54, and

‘Abdullah Sa’adeh, Awraq Qawmiyya, Mudhakarat al-Duktur ‘Abdullah Sa’ada

[Nationalist Papers: The Memoirs of Dr. ‘Abdullah Sa’adeh].


(12.) See John Donohue, “Conflit a l’Universite Americaine de Beyrouth”,

[“Conflict at AUB”] Travaux et Jours (April-June 1971): pp. 101-113.


(13.) On the war years, see Theodor Hanf, Coexistence in Wartime Lebanon,

Decline of a State and Rise of a Nation (London: The Centre For Lebanese

Studies and I.B. Tauris, 1993).


(14.) See As’ad Abu Khalil, “Druze, Sunni and Shiite Political Leadership in

Present-Day Lebanon,” Arab Studies Quarterly Vol. 7, (Fall 1985), pp. 28-58;

Lewis Snider, “The Lebanese Forces: Their Origins and Role in Lebanon’s

Politics”, Middle East Journal, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Winter 1984), pp. 1-33.


(15.) Joseph Abu Khalil, Qissat al-Mawarina fi al-Harb, Sira Dhatiyya [The

Story of the Maronites in the War: A Personal Account] (Beirut: Sharikat

al-Matbu’at li’l-Tawzi’ wa al-Nashr, 1990): 365-404.


(16.) See Waddah Sharara, Dawlat Hizballah, Ladman Mujtama’an Islamiyyan

[Hizballah’s State: Lebanon an Islamic Society] (Beirut: Dar al-Nahar, 1996);

Amal Saad-Gorayeb, Hizbollah: Politics and Religion (London: Pluto Press,

2002). Augustus Richard Norton, Hizballah of Lebanon: Extremist Ideals vs

Mundane Politics (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1999).


(17.) Interview with Lakhdar Ibrahimi, Arab Tripartite Committee

representative, Al-Mustaqbal, June 16,1999.


(18.) On the Ta’if Agreement, see Joseph Maila, The Document of National

Understanding: A Commentary (Oxford: Center for Lebanese Studies, 1992).


(19.) On that period, see Williams Harris, Faces of Lebanon, Sects, Wars, and

Global Extensions (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1997), pp. 243-278.


(20.) Elizabeth Picard, The Demobilization of the Lebanese Militias (Oxford:

Centre for Lebanese Studies, 1999).


(21.) See the account of former President Elias Hrawi on Geagea’s detention in

Elias Hrawi, ‘Awdat al-Jumhuriyya, min el-Duwaylat ila al- Dawla [Return of

the Republic: From the Enclaves to the State], (Beirut: Dar al-Nahar, 2002),

pp. 362-364.


(22.) See Farid el Khazen, Intikhabat Lubnan Ma ba’d Al-Harb, 1992,1996, 2000:

Dimuqratiyya Bila Khayar [Postwar Lebanese Elections, 1992, 1996, 2000:

Democracy without Choice], (Beirut: Dar al-Nahar, 2000).


(23.) See Habib C. Malik, Between Damascus and Jerusalem. Lebanon And Middle

East Peace, Policy Paper No. 45 (Washington: The Washington Institute for Near

East Policy, 2000), pp. 25-45.


(24.) See Nuhad Hashishu, Al-Ahzab fi Lubnan [The Parties in Lebanon] (Beirut:

Markaz al-Dirasat al-Istratijiyya wa al-Buhuth wa al-Tawthiq, 1998).


(25.) Shawqat Shtai, “Al-Iltizam al-Hizbi wa al-Wad’ al-Multabis: Hizb

al-Kata’ib wa al-Hizb al-Shuyu’i” [Party Commitment and the Ambiguous

Position: the Kata’ib and Communist Parties”], in Joseph Bahut and Shawqi

Duwaihi (eds.) Al-Hayat al-‘Amma fi Lubnan: Taghayyurat al-Siyassi wa

Tashkilatuhu [Public Life in Lebanon: Political Change and its Manifestation]

(Beirut: CERMOC, 1997), p.77.


(26.) The belated “reward” came recently with the appointment of Karim

Pakradouni in 2003 as Minister of State for Administrative Development.


(27.) For more details, see Farid el Khazen, Al-Ahzab al-Siyasiyya fi Lubnan,

Hudud al-Tajriba al-Dimuqratiya [Political Parties in Lebanon: The Limits of

the Democratic Experiment],(Beirut: Al Markaz al-Lubnani Lidirasat, 2002):,

pp. 67-143.


(28.) El Khazen, Al-Ahzab al-Siyasiyya, p. 109.


(29.) Al-Hizb al-Suri al-Qawmi al-Ijtima’i, ‘Umdat al-Idha’a wa al-I’lam,

Bayan Ra’is al-Hizb al-Amin Yusuf al-Ashqar,[Announcement of Party President

Amin Yusuf al-Ashqar], October 15, 1992.


(30.) See Russell J.Dalton and Martin P. Wattenberg (eds), Parties Without

Partisans. Political Change In Advanced Industrial Democracies (Oxford: Oxford

Uviversity Press, 2000): 261-285.


(31.) Lebanon’s Labor Union, which continued to be effective and united during

the war years, split along political and sectarian lines and is now dominated

by parties loyal to government and has, as a result, lost its autonomy and



(32.) Al-Nahar, April 10, 2001


(33.) See Nqula Nassif and Rosanna Bu Monsif, Al-Masrah wa al-Kawalees:

Intikhabat 1996fi Fusuliha (Beirut: Dar al-Nahar, (1996): 18-196.


(34.) See Liqa’ Qornet Shehwan fi Sanatihi al-Ula: Mawaqif wa Bayanat [The

Qornet Shehwan Meeting in its First Year: Positions and Announcements (April

2001-April 2002) (Qornet Shehwan Group: No Place, No Date [2002]). The

National Bloc Party withdrew from QSG in November 2002 and its three

representatives resigned from the party and stayed in QSG.


(35.) See Paul Brooker, Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and

Politics (London: Macmillan Press LTD, 2000): 226-255.


Farid el Khazen is professor and chair of the Department of Political Studies

and Public Adminstration at the American University of Beirut. He is the

author of numerous publications, including most recently The Breakdown of the

State in Lebanon 1967-1976 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000),

Intikhabat Lubnan Ma ba’d Al-Harb, 1992, 1996, 2000: Dimuqratiyya Bila Khayar

[Postwar Lebanese Elections, 1992, 1996, 2000: Democracy without Choice],

(Beirut: Dar al-Nahar, 2000), and Al-Ahzab al-Siyasiyya fi Lubnan, Hudud

al-Tajriba al-Dimuqratiya [The Political Parties in Lebanon, Limits of the

Democratic Experiment](Beirut: Al-Markaz al-Lubnani li-Dirasat, 2002).


                                — End —


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Pa. Republicans See Moore Movie for Free

LEWISBURG, Pa. – Maurice Brubaker probably wouldn’t have gone to see “Fahrenheit 9/11″ on his own, but free admission helped change the Republican’s mind. Brubaker, chairman of the Bush/Cheney campaign team in Union County, was among at least 40 people who went to the Campus Theatre on Saturday to take advantage of a free showing for card-carrying GOP members. I don’t think you can consider it a documentary, because I don’t think both sides were represented,” Brubaker said of the Michael Moore film that criticizes the Bush administration’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks.

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U.S. Addiction to Foreign Oil Deepens

By Timothy Gardner, NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. domestic oil production has dropped five percent since this year’s peak in February and near-record oil prices are unlikely to inspire drillers to slow the country’s deepening dependence on foreign oil, experts say. “Why on earth would you drill here when we’ve been drilling here for 120 years and when there’s vast untapped regions across the globe?” said Kyle Cooper, analyst at Citigroup Global Markets in Houston.

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Kerry sets conditions for troop withdrawal from Iraq

Middle east Online, Conditions are: To measure level of stability in Iraq; outlook for stability to hold; Iraqi security forces’ ability to defend Iraq. WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said he would set three conditions for withdrawing US troops from Iraq if he were elected, and warned that President George W. Bush might cut troop numbers ahead of the November 2 vote. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Kerry said the conditions were “to measure the level of stability” in Iraq, “to measure the outlook for the stability to hold” and “to measure the ability … of their security forces” to defend Iraq.

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Ron Reagan Wrong on Stem Cells

By Steven Milloy, Fox News, Ron Reagan, the younger son of the late Republican president, announced this week that he would give a prime-time address in support of stem cell research (search) at the Democratic National Convention in Boston later this month. “Ron Reagan’s courageous pleas for stem cell research add a powerful voice to the millions of Americans hoping for cures for their children, for their parents and for their grandparents,” said a spokesman for John Kerry to the Associated Press.

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