Lebanon’s Place in the Middle East

The government in Beirut is entirely unable to manage its country’s problems.

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This year is modern Lebanon’s 100th anniversary. What should be an auspicious occasion is instead marked by the most severe economic crisis in the country’s history. Poverty grows every day as the middle class disappears, and citizens have publicly vented their frustrations over what they see as an out of touch ruling class. Arab Gulf countries have yet to come to their aid as they have in the past, arguing that helping Lebanon helps Hezbollah, Iran’s most reliable regional proxy group. The government’s failure to deal with deteriorating social conditions has revived demands for disarming Hezbollah and reestablishing Lebanon’s neutrality. The Maronite Church is leading the drive to extricate Lebanon from the conflicts of the region, strengthen the machinery of the state, and empower the national army. Supported by the Vatican, the local representative of its Caritas humanitarian charity has warned the international community that Lebanon is rapidly disintegrating. Sectarian Problems Solutions to these kinds of problems are often elusive for a country as complex as Lebanon. Its founding fathers understood the complexity of the country’s sectarian divisions, and how those divisions were made worse by centuries of isolation in mountain sanctuaries that separated most Christians, Shiites and Druze from […]

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Hilal Khashan
Hilal Khashan is a Professor of political science at the American University of Beirut. He is a respected author and analyst of Middle Eastern affairs. He is the author of six books, including Hizbullah: A Mission to Nowhere. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019.) He is currently writing a book titled Saudi Arabia: The Dilemma of Political Reform and the Illusion of Economic Development. He is also the author of more than 110 articles that appeared in journals such as Orbis, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Middle East Quarterly, Third World Quarterly, Israel Affairs, Journal of Religion and Society, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, and The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.