On October 7, a major coordinated military operation by Hamas resulted in terrorist attacks in Israel marking a significant escalation in the Israeli-Arab conflict, with a higher casualty count than previous conflicts. The Israeli establishment was caught off guard due to internal divisions and a lack of military readiness. Hamas’s objectives included challenging the IDF’s invincibility, garnering international support for the Palestinian cause, and disrupting normalization efforts between Saudi Arabia and Israel. The conflict is now on the verge of a land incursion by Israel to eliminate Hamas in Gaza, potentially drawing regional players into the fray.
- Democracy is not doing well in the MENA region and political parties are the main casualties, surviving through life-support mechanisms but failing to make inroads in their respective national political contexts.
- The enormity of Beirut’s port blast and of the extortion of the Lebanese population of their deposits and life savings account for the default of the rule of law in this former enclave of liberty and democracy in the Middle East. Insidiously, Lebanon is becoming a police state, where freedom of expression and basic human rights such as access to education and health are being denied.
- “Art is before anything, the confrontation with one’s destiny”, wrote the Lebanese poet, Nadia Tuéni. And the Lebanese have had indeed no choice but to confront their destiny. Against all odds, the last years of repression and depression, marked by the October 2019 revolution, the port’s blast, and the financial crisis, have given rise to a buoyant creativity in all forms.
- Lebanon’s unique power-sharing system used to be celebrated as a model of effective democracy in a highly diverse context. That is no longer the case. Prof. Mona Harb (AUB) explains why in the second part of this video-interview shot on the margins of Reset DOC’s 2022 Venice Seminars, “Between State and Civil Society: Who Protects Individual Liberties and Human Dignity?”
- In Lebanon, the pandemic was used by sectarian political groups as a pretext to reassert their dominance over the country – says prof. Mona Harb (AUB)
- A recent parliamentary election opened a way for civil society to get into Lebanon’s institutions. But that seems too little to allow for the country to be shaked and saved.
- Palestinian and Syrian refugees, but also other migrant workers, are suffering the dire consequences of Lebanon’s social and economic free fall. Poverty, racism and harassment are the daily menu. Here’s what a few NGOs are doing to try and help them.
- Saving a country from its collapse. An interview with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Raï after his visit to the Vatican
- Lebanese people seem condemned to the same destiny as the mythical Sisyphus: rebuild their lives all over again. The response: exile, rebellion or lethargy?