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Free Patriotic Movement

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Of FreeCell and Phone Chargers: A Lebanese Parable

Lebanese politics often resembles a game of FreeCell to me. Or, for the millennials among us: 2048, which I often catch my students playing on their phones before class begins. For long stretches, the board is locked down. There is an occasional opening, a small shift in the grid, but it comes to nothing. Hardly anything moves for several rounds … Continue reading

Lebanon’s New Government (Feb 15, 2014)

After nearly eleven months (329 days to be exact), Lebanon has a new government. Some thoughts are forthcoming about why the process took so long, what happened to facilitate it, and what this suggests about a shifting regional picture on the situation in Syria, but in the meantime, here are some quick observations: There are … Continue reading

Lebanon Spent Nearly Two of Last Four and a Half Years Without a Government

There has been some movement in recent days on the cabinet formation stalemate. Saad Hariri agreed to join a national unity government with Hizbullah, a welcome development after months of deadlock. How many months precisely? Nearly ten. Tammam Salam was appointed PM-designate on April 6, 2013. As you will recall, Lebanon’s previous premier Najib Mikati … Continue reading

Abbas on Syria

I’m in Beirut for a few weeks this month, seeing family and attending weddings. The mood is eerily pleasant, though now that the Eid has passed everyone seems to be bracing themselves for the return to arms. I caught up with my friend Abbas yesterday. Some of you may remember him from his appearances in … Continue reading

Our Oily Future

Lebanon’s Ministry of Energy and Water has launched a new campaign promoting the benefits of off-shore oil exploration for the average citizen. The ads contain shots of smiling people aside captions like: “My children and I are staying in Lebanon“… or “My future is in Lebanon“… or… “I’m going back to work in Lebanon!“ Another … Continue reading

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