Lebanon’s Political Bosses Are the Real Problem
August 17, 2020
In 2006, friends directed a cab driver to where we were staying: “Next to where Elie Hobeika was assassinated.” Suddenly, I understood how Lebanese people had come to treat their chaotic political scene as banal. Hobeika was accused of war crimes during Lebanon’s civil war, but he continued serving in Lebanese politics for a decade afterward, until a car bomb took his life.
Lebanon’s 15-year civil war ended with the Taif Agreement in 1989. The resultant national pact outlined the principle of mutual coexistence between Lebanon’s different religious sects but established no accountability or truth-and-reconciliation commissions. The agreement transferred some of the Maronite Christians’ political power to Sunni and Shi’a communities, but it simultaneously entrenched sectarian divisions and transformed warlords into mainstream politicians.