The Lebanese Impasse

by Fawwaz Traboulsi , Elias Khoury
published in MER242

On November 11, 2006, the six Shi‘i ministers in the Lebanese government, affiliates of Hizballah and the Amal movement, left the cabinet in protest of their colleagues’ rejection of their demand for a government of “national unity.” Such a government would give the Shi‘i parties and their Christian ally, the Free Patriotic Movement of Gen. Michel Aoun, greater representation in the cabinet. The majority in the cabinet argued that Lebanese had elected their government, in the May–June 2005 parliamentary contests that came on the heels of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri and the departure of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

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Deconstructing Hizballah and Its Suburb

by Mona Harb
published in MER242

During the Israeli war against Hizballah in the summer of 2006, the innocuous Arabic word dahiya, meaning simply “suburb,” achieved an unprecedented notoriety. For several days, Israeli warplanes pounded one particular dahiya, the southern suburb of Beirut, whose neighborhood of Harat Hurayk contains Hizballah’s “security quarter” (al-murabba‘ al-amni). Various media presented Harat Hurayk as a fortress, a place whose destruction was justified because it sheltered terrorists who threatened the security of Israel. About 265 residential buildings, housing more than 3,000 housing units and 1,600 stores and workshops, were razed to the ground or heavily damaged.

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