Lebanon

  • Lebanon’s Elections: Hezbollah in the Driver’s Seat?

    Hezbollah’s emergence as the strongest political faction during the Lebanese May elections confirms Iran’s sway over Lebanon, with the party now capable of securing an unchallenged veto at the parliamentary level and an absolute majority if its secures the right alliances. The recent electoral results also underline Hezbollah’s continued grip over its community despite ongoing governance challenges, and could herald instability for the Land of the Cedar amid escalating regional tensions.

    The May 6 Lebanese elections granted Hezbollah a comfortable majority. “Hezbollah’s block is unwavering since 2009, with thirteen seats for the organization. The main difference is that now, with allies such as the Syrian Nationalist Progressive Party, Amal, the Baathist movement, and the Marada’s advances in parliament (included in the hard March 8 core), the coalition...

    Read More
  • Lebanese Elections: This is Not a Political Earthquake

    In 1989, back in the day when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia mediated regional conflicts, the fifteen-year Lebanese civil war ended with the Taif Accord, a reference to the Saudi town where the accord was signed. That agreement changed the Christian/Muslim representation in parliament from a 6:5 ratio in favor of Christians to an equal split.  The powers of the presidency, always allotted to the Maronite Christians according to the 1943 Lebanese National Pact (NP), were watered down—the president, for example, was no longer the commander in-chief.  The leadership of the armed forces went instead to a supreme military council.

    Read More
  • The United States-Lebanese Armed Forces Partnership: Challenges, Risks, and Rewards

    pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

    Over the past year, many have questioned the extent to which the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) are an arm of the Lebanese state or beholden to Hezbollah. Pointing to the LAF’s complicated relationship with Hezbollah, congressional and other voices in the United States have criticized US security assistance to Lebanon and threatened to withhold assistance. Yet, over the past decade, the military capabilities of the LAF have improved significantly, and the group has effectively defended Lebanon’s borders, including against ISIS. In “The...

    Read More
  • Alfoneh Quoted in The Wall Street Journal on Hezbollah Facing Discontent Before Lebanon Election


    Read More
  • The Smoke and Mirrors Effect of Lebanese Banks Exiting Syria

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime appears encouraged by the modest growth that the economy has finally begun to display. Those tasked with resuscitating the decimated economy have had to contend with an annual GDP drop of whopping 16 percent each year since the beginning of conflict in 2011. Compare this figure to the academic literature on the impact of civil wars on national economies, which posits that annual GDP growth typically slows by 2 percent.

    Read More
  • Alami in The Arab Weekly: Incoherent Views Hamper Clear US Policy on Hezbollah


    Read More
  • The Role of Hezbollah Among its Shia Constituents

    Hezbollah’s power and resilience at the Lebanese level is not only derived from its military might and Tehran’s constant backing, but more importantly, from the tireless support of its Lebanese Shia Muslim community base. The allegiance of Lebanese Shia to Hezbollah is widely known to be rooted in the party’s capability to win hearts and minds through its social program and the organization’s nearly forty year struggle against Israel and more recently its “war on terror.” Yet ultimately, what makes the bond between Hezbollah and its base so strong is the feeling among many Shia, within the more popular classes, that Hezbollah’s arsenal guarantees political ascendancy and social mobility within the Lebanese system.

    Read More
  • Itani Quoted in ABC on Saudi Arabia's Dangerous Gambit with Lebanon


    Read More
  • Hellyer Quoted in CBS News on Saudi Arabia and Lebanon


    Read More
  • Itani Quoted in Vox on the Sudden Resignation of Lebanon's Prime Minister


    Read More