Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lebanese Prime Minister Resigns

Lebanese Parliament (Wikipedia)

Uncertain times have arrived in Lebanon, as the government dissolved in late March following the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Miqati. Lebanon had already been experiencing some troubles, with the civil war in Syria not only next door, but occasionally spilling across the border as well. Due to the multitude of ethnicities and religious groups in Lebanon, alliances in parliament can be difficult to attain, and the government previously collapsed just two years ago. That was just before the Arab Spring broke out, however, and the situation is very different this time, especially with the Syrian situation.

The main reasons behind Miqati’s resignation include the inability of the cabinet to agree to extend the term of the Internal Security Forces chief. This is extremely important in times when the security situation is tenuous at best, not to mention the chief was opposed to Assad’s regime in Syria and there were fears someone loyal to Assad would be installed in his place. Additionally, the cabinet was unable to on the makeup of a commission to oversee elections, which were due to happen in June. Due to deep divisions in Lebanon, Miqati has twice threatened to resign in the past, leading UK Prime Minister David Cameron to personally intervene and convince Miqati to remain in power.

Next is choosing who the next Lebanese prime minister will be, and it is expected to be a close decision. In the past, Syria has wanted assurances that its priorities will be honored before elections have commenced, but it is unknown how they will factor into this race given their civil war. Besides concerns about Syria, there is the presence of Hezbollah, which is doing all it can to remain a part of Lebanese politics. However, this has been difficult due to its alliance with Iran, which alienates many other Islamic countries. In the past it has taken multiple groups in Lebanon to align in order to agree on a prime minister, and that is likely going to have to happen again, with the possibility that Miqati is returned to his former position. This is an important time in Lebanon’s sectarian democracy with threats from outside in addition to the usual internal struggles. The next few months will prove vital in assuring the democracy will continue.


Chulov, Martin. "Lebanon's Government Collapses as Miqati Cabinet Resigns." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 22 Mar. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/22/lebanon-government-collapses-miqati-cabinet>.

Ghattas Saab, Antoine. "Close Race Likely in Deliberations on New Prime Minister | News , Politics | THE DAILY STAR." The Daily Star Newspaper. The Daily Star, 02 Apr. 2013. Web. 02 Apr. 2013. <http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2013/Apr-02/212235-close-race-likely-in-deliberations-on-new-prime-minister.ashx>.

Kenner, David. "Lebanon's Government Comes Toppling down." Foreign Policy. The FP Group, 22 Mar. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. <http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/03/22/lebanons_government_comes_toppling_down>.




  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is an interesting article because it leads to the question of whether Lebanon might become a Theocracy like Iran or can continue to make the government function. With groups like Hezbollah within the country Islamic extremism is present. Having an unstable government could lead to a collapse and then the possibility of an Islamic State increases significantly.

  3. With players like the Syrian government, Prime Minister David Cameron, and Hezbollah all trying to gain influence in Lebanese politics; could it be possible that the Muslim Brotherhood fills the power vacuum?

  4. When looking at Lebanon I think it can be helpful to learn from problems that Iraq has been faced with throughout the last 20 years. Iraq and Lebanese relations have been close throughout history, and we have seen how the prevalence of extremist groups have made functioning government in Iraq very difficult. Hezbollah is known to have ties with the religious hierarchy in the Iraq city of Najaf. Even if Hezbollah does not gain power, social uprisings or terrorist attacks following the next elections could make stable government impossible for Lebanon.

  5. The main issue I see here is that Lebanon has too many outside parties that have stakes in the affairs of the state. These foreign actors are impeding Lebanon's ability to govern its people. It leads to the question, which ties are the most important for Lebanon to keep in the future?