Effective Corrupt Leadership: Assessing Rafiq al-Hariri’s Legacy

Yesterday, Saad al-Hariri pulled his sponsorship of a conference held at Antonine University, in which a speaker quoted an “offensive” statement about Rafiq al-Hariri from a recently-published academic study. What was this offensive remark, you ask? That Rafiq al-Hariri was an efficient and productive leader who also happened to be corrupt, though not as corrupt as most other Lebanese prime ministers. Shocking, I know.

The media is having a field day with this issue. Here’s the news report in Naharnet, and here’s an article in al-Akhbar (thanks KT). In the meantime, why don’t we take a look at the academic study that was the source of the offensive statement (“The dynamics of effective corrupt leadership: Lessons from Rafik Hariri’s political career in Lebanon,” by Mark W. Neal and Richard Tansey.)

The article is thought-provoking, worth reading, and sure to generate controversy. Hariri-haters will dismiss it as a bunch of social-scientific claptrap meant to vindicate one of the most corrupt politicians in the history of the country, while Hariri-lovers (except, of course, for Saad himself, Fouad Saniora, Tarek Mitri, and all of the other Mustaqbal officians who stormed out of the conference) will find themselves nodding along in agreement with the basic argument, which is this:

“This article introduces the notion of “effective corrupt leadership” to distinguish those in public office who engage in corrupt practice, who are more effective, and better for their people, than alternatives. The paper examines a case of such leadership by discussing the career of the late Rafik Hariri, the Lebanese Prime Minister who initiated and achieved the rebuilding of Beirut after the Lebanese civil war between 1975 and 1990. Using the historical case-study method, an examination of Hariri’s activities allows us to appreciate the difficulties of achieving tangible welfare benefits in corrupt circumstances. Notably, the moralizing attacks by Hariri’s rivals show that while achieving and sustaining political powermay require corrupt practice, such practice can ultimately undermine the leader authority and power. This “blifil paradox” demonstrates how difficult it is to lead effectively in corrupt circumstances. Through a discussion of these difficulties and challenges, the article attempts to demonstrate the significance of “effective corrupt leadership”, both in terms of its impact upon people, and its importance for the refinement of our understanding of leadership.”

I’ve written to Leadership Quarterly to get permission to post this article here at QifaNabki.com, so you can feel free to download the entire text guilt-free.

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33 thoughts on “Effective Corrupt Leadership: Assessing Rafiq al-Hariri’s Legacy

  1. QN,

    You can actually access the article free on the journal’s website.

    Posted by Blackstar | February 12, 2010, 11:26 am
  2. Thanks Blackstar.

    I’ve notified the authors that I’ve posted it, and maybe they’ll drop in on the discussion.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 12, 2010, 11:33 am
  3. I hope that the discussion generated by this thread will not be limited to the article in question. There is no doubt that , as in all articles, some will disagree with the conclusions of the authors and some will support them. I think that what is of much greater significance , in this case, is the reaction of Sa’ad Hariri, “his” ministers and followers when a quote from the study was used by an official, Pascal Lahoud, of the Antonine University during a Conference entitled “The Powers of the Lebanese Prime Ministers: The Difficulties and the Future”.
    The quote was used to illustrate the point that the image of the Lebanese Prime Ministers by serious academic researchers abroad is not a positive one to say the least.
    As soon as Ms. Lahoud finished her remarks Minister Metri delivered his own after chiding Pacal Lahoud for the quote. That is to be expected . But then Sa’ad Hariri and all his entourage pull out of the conference and demand appologies from the University.Freedom of speech be damned when someone would dare question the efforts to sanctify Rafic Hariri.
    This was a sad day for Lebanon not because someone dared use a quote in an effort to start a constructive dialogue but because the Lebanese government went into overdrive to silence criticism. Well bravo Mr. Prime Minister you have done your father and all the Lebanese a disservice by managing to force the university to cancel a serious academic conference simply because you did not like a quote. So what is next?
    I have been raising this issue for over two years ( Interested parties can look into archives) but the process of transforming Rafic Hariri into a heroic figure through cult of personality must stop. Doesn’t Sa’ad Hariri realize that cult of personality is cultivated by dictatorships and Stalinists regimes and never by democracies and republics? I thought that March 14 is supposed to be built on republican pretenses.

    Posted by ghassan karam | February 12, 2010, 11:43 am
  4. Thanks, Ghassan, for pointing out that it was actually THIS article that was the source of the controversy at the conference.

    Here’s an article in al-Akhbar that discusses it.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 12, 2010, 12:01 pm
  5. Hariri & Co’s reaction isn’t so surprising. The whole political establishment attempts to silence any form of criticism.

    What’s really sad is how some medias reacted to this deliberate attack on free speech. The most repulsive news article I found is in L’Orient Le Jour:

    The article was tagged under the category “Scandale”, and opened with the following paragraph:
    ” C’est plus qu’un impair ; c’est de l’indélicatesse poussée jusqu’à ses derniers retranchements, un comportement sans doute délibéré et prémédité, reflétant une absence totale d’éthique universitaire et académique, voire même une certaine malhonnêteté intellectuelle. ”


    Posted by mas | February 12, 2010, 1:13 pm
  6. Mushtaq Khan debunks the ‘corrupt hence inefficient’ argument which is attached to the whole ‘good governance’ malarkey. He argues that corruption describes unofficial/implicit institutions and that these may or may not be efficient. Very interesting reading in the Lebanese context:
    (1998)Patron-Client Networks and the Economic Effects of Corruption in Asia , European Journal of Development Research , 10 (1): 15-39 June
    (1996) The Efficiency Implications of Corruption, Journal of International Development 8 (5): 683-696

    Posted by Karin | February 12, 2010, 1:50 pm
  7. Karin,
    I hesitate to respond to your above post since I do not want to take the argument about this thread in a different direction but I can’t help myself:-)
    I am familiar with the work of Mr. Khan. I do not think that he would characterize “good governance” as a “malarkey” . He never says that corruption is good but he does present evidence that it is endemic in developing coutries and that its effects on growth are not always devastating. That is not a ringing endorsement of the idea is it? He merely repeats what Kuznets was able to demonstrate a long time ago that in the early stages of economic growth income inequality increases and after a certain point it starts to decrease again; an inverted U. Mr. Khan argues that in the early stages of capitalist development all countries seem to pass through the phase of endemic corruption but that in some countries it prevents growth while in others it does not. You conclude on the basis of the above that corruption is to be accepted especially if it does not hinder economic growth. That is such a weak argument for at least two reasons: (1) It says nothing about rule of the law and ignores moral values and (2) it assumes that the only worthwhile goal in economics is growth irrespective of the distributional effect of that growth. As you well know, not many economists, political scientists, philosophers. sociologists etc… will buy into the idea that making the trains run on time justifies fascism.

    Posted by ghassan karam | February 12, 2010, 3:39 pm
  8. استهلّت باسكال لحود، أمس، كلمتها الافتتاحية بالإشارة إلى وجود «خبر سيّئ عن سمعة مجتمعنا عموماً وسمعة رئاسة الحكومة عندنا خصوصاً، وأسوأ ما فيه أنه ليس عارياً تماماً من الصحة»

    The above quote is from the Al-Akhbar article that you referenced. Clearly, Miss Lahoud was not only quoting the study but, as a University official, adopting and agreeing/espousing its findings rather than debating them. That is obviously her right and not so unusual, as we read these findings/accusations on all FPM/Hizb media outlets and hear the same from their officials. However, hearing this from a University official in a conference sponsored by the Prime Minister at that University does not mean that he or his representatives need to agree with it or take these insults with a broad smile.
    Typically, one can give a counter argument (which is perhaps my preference), one can leave peacefully in protest, (which is what those people did), or one can go into surrounding neighborhoods and start riots (which was done in the past when someone else (Hassan Nasrallah) was not even closely insulted).
    So given the above choices and given that Miss Lahoud has every right to say what she wants, I think we can allow those who left the same freedom of speech/expression in doing what they did.

    QN – Given your extensive sources within the FPM, I am sure, and I hope, you can write another post as to who is exactly Miss Lahoud.

    Posted by MM | February 12, 2010, 8:11 pm
  9. The woman should be free to say what she wants, but I think it is mighty ridiculous of you to suggest that Hariri should have continued sponsoring the event after she insulted his father.
    She’s free to talk, he’s free to leave. Would you sponsor an event that insulted your father? Come on be realistic!

    Posted by nona | February 13, 2010, 2:54 am
  10. Check out the tone of this article about the Antonine affair.

    Posted by sean | February 13, 2010, 5:03 am
  11. Sean, this is on l’O le J as well : “Commentant l’incident, le ministre de l’Information, Tarek Mitri, a indiqué hier que « ce qui s’est passé n’a rien à voir avec la liberté d’expression », précisant qu’il y a des normes à respecter pour les cérémonies d’ouverture de colloques et de congrès, à savoir que l’hôte qui organise l’événement a « pour mission d’expliquer l’objectif de la conférence et de présenter le programme et les sujets qui seront discutés, et non pas de commencer son allocution par une prise de position, même s’il s’agit de citer des extraits d’un article », a-t-il dit.
    « Si les propos tenus s’inscrivaient dans le cadre d’une intervention, celle-ci aurait fait l’objet d’une discussion, a déclaré M. Mitri. Or ce qui s’est passé est clairement une atteinte aux règles de la bienséance, adoptées dans le cadre de l’organisation des conférences internationales », a insisté M. Mitri. Et d’ajouter que la question « des mesures disciplinaires à prendre concerne l’université »”.
    I’m too lazy to do the research, but I remember some occasion when controversial guys like, say, Ahmadinejad, where received in American university institutions with certain “welcome” speeches. One difference being that the guest was not actually paying for the gathering…
    As for the matter of the real role of corruption in the economy, well, let me quote a farmer, my father, who knows little about theories of economy, but knows a bit about life. He says “I know many people who got rich; but I know nobody who got rich by just working. “

    Posted by mj | February 13, 2010, 6:34 am
  12. MM,

    The least you can say about an article describing the Lebanese society and government as corrupt is that it is not totally off the mark. I don’t see why she should have a biased agenda in order to make such remarks. You failed to point out that her main argument is that it is sad that Lebanon displays such an image of corruption to the outside, and that we should look into the reasons behind having such an image (Check L’Orient Le Jour article put forth by sean and I).
    The whole conference was dedicated to studying the premiership in Lebanon. In an academic context, citing a recent relevant article in an international journal is totally normal, and even necessary for the scientific accuracy and integrity of the debate. The only faux pas that Ms Lahoud might have committed is not realizing that she is not addressing a group of fellow academics. The premiership sponsored this conference thinking that it was going to be just another PR stunt. But when it turned out that some serious and sometimes controversial issues were going to be put forth, all Future Movement-related guests withdrew even though they had given prior engagement, and therefore sabotaged the whole conference. Far from being an expression of free speech, the forced cancellation of such a conference is more an act of censorship committed by a part of the political establishment against an academic institution.

    I don’t know much about Ms Lahoud, except that she carries an uncanny resemblance to Sarah Palin!

    Posted by mas | February 13, 2010, 6:48 am
  13. I’m still not sure the comparison is in anyway legitimate, but here’s one account of the Ahmadinejad’s Columbia story:
    Bollinger then gave his opening address, turning to Ahmadinejad and stating:
    Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator, and so I ask you, why have women, members of the Bahá’í Faith, homosexuals and so many of our academic colleagues become targets of persecution in your country?”
    “Why do you support well-documented terrorist organizations that continue to strike at peace and democracy in the Middle East, destroying lives and the civil society of the region? Frankly, and in all candor Mr. President, I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions, but your avoiding them will in itself be meaningful to us. I do expect you to exhibit the fanatical mind-set that characterizes what you say and do.
    After reciting the Bismillah and asking for guidance from God, Ahmadinejad countered that “In Iran, tradition requires that when we invite a person to be a speaker, we actually respect our students and the professors by allowing them to make their own judgment and we don’t think it’s necessary before the speech is even given to come in with a series of claims…”

    Posted by mj | February 13, 2010, 7:15 am
  14. mj said:
    “One difference being that the guest was not actually paying for the gathering…”

    Sponsorship of a Conference is different than buying a Falfel. You help support the research process and you do not specify the outcome in advance. The point you bring out , if true, makes the behaviour by Mr. Hariri et al doubly nefarious.
    BTW, were these Lebanese government funds or were they personal or does it make a difference in the land of everything goes?

    Posted by ghassan karam | February 13, 2010, 7:25 am
  15. GK said: “Sponsorship of a Conference is different than buying a Falfel. You help support the research process and you do not specify the outcome in advance”. You- do –not- specify –the- outcome- in -advance, isn’t that exactly the point that Mitri was trying to make?
    GK, I’m not in a position to judge the events…I’m just assuming that Mrs. Lahoud knew who was sponsoring the event, and that they happened to be physically in front of her as she was talking. It seems that the paper in question was actually rather flattering for Hariri. At the condition that it’s people accepted to be labeled as corrupt…Now let me ask something: was the article cited in the presentation the only one or even the essential one around which the conference was organized? If the answer is yes, I don’t see how the Hariri’s money went to pay for it…If the answer is not, I don’t see why Mrs. Lahoud choose to bring it up precisely in her presentation speech…Neither ways, I still find Ahmadinejad’s response to Columbia’s Lee Bollinger pertinent, ..”we don’t think it’s necessary before the speech is even given to come in with a series of claims…”

    Posted by mj | February 13, 2010, 8:15 am
  16. MJ and Nona

    One point that no one has made thus far is that the conference was not held under the auspices of Saad al-Hariri. It was held under the auspices of the Prime Minister of Lebanon. This means that while he may have personally been insulted by her remarks, it is not fitting that he withdrew the sponsorship of the office.

    After all, what she said was nothing close to what Bollinger said about Ahmadinejad or whatever else people have suggested as parallel examples. Her point (which is the point of the article) is that Hariri was a strong and effective leader operating in a corrupt environment, which necessitated that he be corrupt as well, even if not as corrupt as other PMs. This was an academic conference about the premiership. To pretend like people have not been corrupt in the past is ridiculous.

    And I don’t think that Hariri himself was there, so he didn’t have to sit there with a big smile on this face. One of his people could have protested, if they wanted to, but withdrawing sponsorship was a petty mistake.

    Now they have to live with all the bad press.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 13, 2010, 8:46 am
  17. MJ,
    We might have to agree to disagree on this one. Sa’ad Hariri and anyone else for that matter has the right to reject the conclusions of a research paper but no one, especially a PM has the right to pull out of a conference with all his entourage on the flimsy grounds that he does not like the way his father was characterized. There is nothing in the academy that is more valuable than free speech.
    I am scheduled to chair a panel and to present at a different panel next month. D you suggest that I should tailor my remarks as a chair to suit the interests of a potential sponsor or that I should rewrite my paper in order not to offend a co sponsor of the event?

    Posted by ghassan karam | February 13, 2010, 9:18 am
  18. I read all of the comments so far, and I would like to add my two cents, since I think some of them are lacking accuracy.

    – Tarek Mitri is not a Future Official
    – Saad Al Hariri was not present at the discussions, so he couldn’t have along with “all his entourage pull out of the conference”.
    – Pulling out of a conference is a legitimate practice and does not negate freedom of speech
    – If it happened in America, it does not make it right.

    That said, I would like very much to point that it is within my right as a Lebanese citizen, as well as any Lebanese citizen, to question any of our so called leaders, whether their corrupt practices, their criminal past, their mental sanity, just name just a few ailments!

    However, in academic discussions there are rules that govern such discussions, while the study at hand is “loosely” connected to the subject of the conference, by stating these “facts” Ms. Lahoud practically ended the conference by alienating the three main speakers Fouad Siniora, Selim Hoss et Tammam Salam.

    Posted by Caustic | February 13, 2010, 9:37 am
  19. There are some things I need to know before continuing: One: was Ms Lahoud presenting a conference in its opening, like Mitri’s declaration seems to suggest, or did this debate happen inside the conference, once the subject was being discussed?
    Two, is it true that El Hoss joined the complaining crowd or is that just another media spin?
    PS: Dear Qifa, I accept the blame for the Bollinger story. I did say I was not sure about the legitimacy of the parallelism. It is Ahmadinejad’s answer that interested me: it is inelegant to go to conclusions before things are discussed. The word “corruption” was not in the title of the conference, was it? I am not saying the Lebanese Prime Ministership was not or is not corrupted. I am just wondering why the speaker had to bring the matter in that fashion. I am just stating my sentiment that the person presenting the conference made a major PR mistake, or else a blunt act of provocation. And by the bye it prevented a very necessary debate from taking place. Maybe Hariri Inc. was not the main sponsor of the conference, but the conference has been cancelled, hasn’t it?

    Posted by mj | February 13, 2010, 9:57 am
  20. QN,
    I understand what you’re saying, but what you’re describing is simply not human nature, that’s why I said “be realistic”, he’s PM but he’s also the murdered man’s son, that’s just asking too much of anybody.

    Posted by nona | February 13, 2010, 10:53 am
  21. For the benefit of those who do not read Arabic, I will translate the arabic quote from Al-Akhbar that I pasted above in #8.

    “Pascal Lahoud began her opening remarks by pointing out that there are bad news about our society’s reputation in general, and about the PREMEIRSHIP in particular. The worst part is that IT’s NOT TOTALLY UNTRUE”
    Caps added by me for emphasis.

    So to mas in #12 I would again say, these sorts of statements are not headline-grabing in Lebanon and if Miss Lahoud made them in an FPM conference no one would have really cared much. It is the fact that they were made by her as an official of the University in a conference sponsored by Hariri or the Premiership (it does not really make a lot of difference). The venue should at least give the impression of impartiality which was not the case here as Miss Lahoud presented a conclusion in her opening remarks and made corruption of the Premiership the defacto topic of the conference and subsequent discussions.

    To QN #16, the insult was not at the person of Hariri only, it was more aimed at the Premiership in general as the translation above shows.

    The most important point I think that no one has touched on so far is really who is Miss Lahoud. I have read conflicting reports that mostly paint her as an administrator of the University rather than an academic or a professor. If she is not an academic, then were her remarks intended to advance the scholarly discourse about the Premiership or was it a blatant political attack given her alleged political leanings?
    Your input is welcome.

    Posted by MM | February 13, 2010, 10:57 am
  22. You might by now have read The Daily Star article, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=111708
    It explains, it seems, what was said. Mrs. Lahoud spoke to one of the media today to explain her point, which could have been an interesting subject. She said that her point was in defense of the prime minister’s positions and the culture in general, because whoever wrote the article she quoted said some things that seemed to refer to all Lebanese as a corrupt culture and that Hariri was not any more corrupt than former Prime Minister Salim Al-Hoss, who is one of the cleanest men to hold that position. She was defending him, too. All her points were very simple and I do not think they were out of place. Now if the Prime Minister and his group expected praise for sponsoring a conference that from its title seems it might shed light on coruption, they should have watched the timing. We all know that there is a lot written about the Hariri’s positives and negatives, so they should have either stood up there and debated the matter or not get involved in the first place. I think Mitri and Siniora acted in a way that makes the general public say, “If you have something under your arm, it pokes you.” (translation from Arabic)

    Posted by kt | February 13, 2010, 2:11 pm
  23. @MM#21

    I think that the recent press reports Ms. Lahoud’s position. She’s some kind of administrator at the university, a vice-president or something.

    I was talking to my dad this morning, and he said that he found her comments out of line, not because they were inappropriate for an academic conference per se, but because they were out of place in an opening address. They should have been saved for a panel or something, not for the welcome speech.

    Anyway, I’m sure this will all blow over soon enough.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 13, 2010, 6:04 pm
  24. To whom it may concern,

    ‘Sponsoring’ a conference is not the same thing as ‘buying’ a conference. If you are willing to provide funds as a public service to encourage debate and inquiry, that should should be praised and commended. If you are simply paying for a group of people to gather and praise you, it should be derided and ridiculed.

    Please note that the Hariri delegation (and there was one, Sa’ad was not there but plenty of his entourage was) did not simply argue against the allegations, nor did they present counter-arguments. They withdrew in protest of the debate itself. They were not interested in the truth, but offended that people where not towing they company line.

    The most disturbing item to me was the demand, present in the Future Movement press release on the event, that the University take disciplinary action against Ms. Lahoud for her remarks. It is a direct attack on the freedom of expression from the highest executive authority in the land. Did we fight against Syrian oppression simply to submit to the home-grown variety?

    Posted by RedLeb | February 13, 2010, 7:03 pm
  25. Oh Qifa, your dad agrees with me? Tres honoree…
    You are right that it will blow over before tomorrow. (Unless the “offended” continue digging in the mud and force retaliation measures on the University).
    But I disagree that “now they have to live with all the bad press” –“they” being, I suppose, the ex-co-sponsors. I’m afraid the one with the “bad press” will be the Antonine University, which, in addition to find itself entangled unwillingly in a PR mess , will take the beating of the academics and students for not standing up to one of theirs. Retrieving sponsorship is a gesture dramatic and ugly enough to provoke widespread academic blame -why do you guys believe I don’t agree on all your moralistic and principle based opinions on the case? Of course the answer was disproportionate, out of place, and that is what provoked the “field day” the press was having-.
    Well, now that I have –however rapidly- read the damned source of this vaudeville, it looks like the “offended” party had actually just read the Leadership Quarterly article, and followed its instructions on how to keep an image of strength in front of rival attacks. In a battle of wills that takes place in a field of corruption, with plenty of attacks under the bell, they choose to react in the same way: they marked what in Lebanon is known as a “red line”: Don’t touch to the premiership, much less in its official presence, two days before a major remembrance for which the main problem is an image of weakness… I don’t have to give you examples of how many times this has happened –parties drawing red lines here and there-, in diverse circumstances and with different protagonists.

    As for the Leadership Quarterly article, I’ll need some help with it, for it left me perplexed, frankly speaking. Is this the western pre-conception breaking study about the REAL political environment of not-so developed countries, or is it a hocus-pocus, rhetorical nonsense that tries to cynically justify corruption and it even gives advice to navigate successfully in its murky waters? Can anyone tell me?

    Posted by mj | February 14, 2010, 4:42 am
  26. What is funny in most of the comment, is that almost everybody is putting an Academic “aura” around Mrs. Lahoud, portraying the officials that withdrew themselves as the ugly duckling. After reading the paper, I am now convinced that Mrs Lahoud at best engaged in a “stupid” act, and at worst was using her position, and her university’s to propagate her own political agenda. The summary that she gave to the paper was not actually the correct summary if she understood what she read.

    And on another note, everybody keep forgetting, or avoiding, the fact that Salim Al Hoss, and Tamam Salam also withdrew their participations. This is of great importance, as this will make this whole charade directed to more then Just the person of Rafik Hariri.

    Posted by Caustic | February 14, 2010, 8:24 am
  27. Question from the peanut gallery: has anyone ever been to an academic conference in beirut where they did not want the political sponsors to just leave?

    Churlish behavior on all sides?!? I am shocked, shocked …

    Posted by david | February 14, 2010, 9:38 am
  28. Caustic said:

    “The summary that she gave to the paper was not actually the correct summary if she understood what she read.”

    Pray tell what is the correct summary of the study? The article had nothing to do with “effective corrupt leadership” with the fact that the authors think that Rafic Hariri fits the description to a T or the fact that Hoss was more corrupt not to mention that “Lebanese PM ‘s are locked into a matrix of corrupt practices”.

    Posted by ghassan karam | February 14, 2010, 12:22 pm
  29. #3 Ghassan Karam,

    It is not often that I say that, but I agree with you with no reservation, especially on issues of freedom of expression and the hindering of transparent and open academic debate.


    Outside the above, I fail to detect the real reason behind the debate! Do any of us Lebanese actually doubt that our political environment has been for decades operating hand-in-hand with corruption of various types at quite high levels. Examples abound for those interested.

    Very few Lebanese politicians, past and present, could, indeed will be implicated in corruption if a transparent investigation is to be launched. This tag applies to all public offices and not only the premiership.

    Were the late Hariri and/or his closest aides and members of his entourage immune to corruption? No, he wasn’t and isn’t, just ask some of the old Beirut merchants and land/property owners who lost out big time while the Solidere coffers grew and grew. If we are true in our desperate call for genuine reform and a move towards real accountable governance, those politicians should be earmarked for further disclosure.

    Should the fact that the majority of our statesmen have been and are corrupt become unspoken rather than a loud outcry because Hariri senior was cowardly assassinated?


    Posted by Questionmarks | February 14, 2010, 1:15 pm
  30. I read the report, and actually found it very charitable to Rafiq Hariri. The point of it was that he actually DID something for the country as prime minister, even if he did enrich himself. Which is more than we can say about most of these guys. I am less interested in the politics behind the conference cancellation. Call me sick of Lebanese politics.

    Quote from the report:

    ‘Hariri was indeed effective. He was also corrupt, but no more than other leaders throughout Lebanese society, and certainly no more than his rival, Selim Hoss. It is thus accurate to characterize Hariri’s premiership as “effective corrupt leadership”, a type of leadership that engages with prevailing corrupt systems (as it has to), but which does so not merely for self-interest, but also for the sake of public welfare. As we have seen, such leadership requires enormous personal drive and political acumen. It is also not for the fainthearted, as it is far from sustainable, as the corrupt systems and practices that leaders use to attain and sustain power can be leveraged by others to discredit and topple them. A consideration of Rafik Hariri’s premiership thus provides us with insights into the harsh realities of leading in the majority world. These insights may not lead us to “sympathy for the devil”, but they should encourage us (a) to address the realities of leading in developing world contexts, and (b) to ask how we can encourage more effective leadership in corrupt countries. “Effective corrupt leadership” may not be perfect, but among most of the world’s population, it is as good as it gets.’

    Posted by Amalia | February 16, 2010, 2:12 pm
  31. Ghassan Karam #28

    Did I say that the article had nothing to do with “effective corrupt leadership”? and that the Authors did not label Rafic Hariri as such? What I said is that the Ms. Lahoud gave an erroneous summary to the study, possibly with bad intentions. The study explicitly mention the president, Lahoud as it happens, and his role at wrongly painting Hariri and his team with baseless corruption accusation, for the benefit of Syria, and his own. Did that in an attempt to strengthen his position as opposed to Hariri’s, knowing that legally they are of equal power.

    how come that sounded irrelevant to her to mention if she was discussing the Prime minister jurisdictions?

    Posted by Caustic | February 18, 2010, 12:18 pm
  32. No one was forced to cancel the meeting, the meeting organizers simply wanted to please the prime minister.
    The comment aimed at Hariri (the father) was off topic and Saad Hariri was insulted by the comment. Simply because the comment was aimed at his deceased father. (if the comment was aimed at him it would have been a different story)
    I disagree with what the Quote invoked in Hariri, he should not get offended, its not personal nor a family matter its politics.
    He simply is not in a position to reply to that comment nor is there a need in this time in history to reconstruct Hariri’s (the father’s) image.

    Posted by fred | February 25, 2010, 8:50 pm
  33. The Lebanese political and governmental institution are corrupt, Rafik Hariri did not attempt to change that nor did he instigate all this corruption, he did not believe it was even possible to eradicate corruption, especially for a nation that spent 15 years in civil war.

    Its a miracle that Hariri himself operated and was able to deliver on some of his promises in such a corrupt system. Was he corrupt himself that is were we need evidence. He is innocent until proven guilty.

    Posted by fred | February 25, 2010, 8:58 pm

Are you just gonna stand there and not respond?

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