Elections, Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah, Lebanon, March 14, Reform

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

chess2There 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 spent five months forming his government in 2011 (which was about how long Saad Hariri took to put together a cabinet after the 2009 parliamentary elections.)

In view of these historical trends, I thought I’d tally up the total amount of time that Lebanon has spent since the 2009 election under a caretaker government. All told, in the 1702 days since June 7 2009, Lebanon has spent 625 days (or 37%) under a caretaker government.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Saad Hariri: Took office on November 9, 2009 after 155 days (since the June 7, 2009 election).
  • Najib Mikati: Took office on June 15, 2011 after 153 days (since the collapse of the Hariri cabinet on January 12, 2011)
  • Tammam Salam: Has been trying unsuccessfully to form a government for ten months (actually 317 days since Mikati’s resignation on March 23, 2013)

(Note that I have calculated the figures above from the end of one cabinet to the formation of a new one, which includes both the amount of time that a PM-designate spends putting together his cabinet as well as the previous period of appointing a PM-designate.)

In other words, Salam’s difficulties have precedents rooted in well-documented structural flaws of the Lebanese system, which has proven to be unworkable in the years since the departure of the Syrian army. For some context on this particular problem (cabinet formation), here are some links to my commentary from years past.

Hariri cabinet formation process (June-November 2009)

Mikati cabinet formation process (Jan-June 2011)

Salam cabinet formation process (March 2013 – today)

Update: If we push the start date of this experiment back to the day the Karami government fell following the Hariri assassination in February 2005, we end up with a similar quotient of around 37% of the last nine years without a functioning government, because we’d have to include the twenty months of no government during the Hizbullah sit-in from November 2006 until May 2008.


230 thoughts on “Lebanon Spent Nearly Two of Last Four and a Half Years Without a Government

  1. Hey Trinkets. Hang in here; you have already contributed much to this blog…..like helping to breath some life back into it. IMO, and I’ve been posting on contentious political forums since early 2001, the real troll here is cosseted and protected for some unknown reason that I assume involves charity, pity and loyalty.

    You have facts on your side and don’t need to insult people’s lack of knowledge regarding some things that should be obvious, but aren’t. One has to be of the skeptic mind to slash through the hasbara with a machete in order to pursue the sense of matters.

    For instance here’s a little gem of an insight into the mentality of the next Prime Minister of Israel:

    “Barbara Opall-Rome ‏@OpallRome Feb 7
    #Israel FM Lieberman: Population swaps – transfer- will be part of future. No reason (Tibi, Zuabi, et al) should be part of our society.

    A shining example of Zionist democratic thinking there…..

    Danny, in the real world, you have no aptitude for anything having to do with “security”. The LAF is deploying under the same general modus operandi as would any nation’s security personnel given the active threats. Don’t forget the CIA or someone is providing intelligence regarding terror threats to Hezbollah. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if the Israelis were the source?

    Funny that so few actually know bupkes about Israel’s security concerns yet freely parrot what Anglo Zionists tell them about such matters rather than take the Israeli word for how they view their own precarious situation.

    There is, after all, a division within the Israeli security professionals regarding the threat assessments. The thinktank brigades of retirees can afford to be more sanguine than those currently serving in their country’s defense. But don’t take my word when you have the warnings issued straight from the mouth of the man in charge ,Lt Gen Beni Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff:

    “Anyway I view it, it’s negative. If Assad survives, Iran will be in control. If he falls, it will be global jihad. … And even if [Assad] remains, Syria will be divided. His divisions won’t disappear.”

    More challenging, said Gantz, is instability borne from disintegrating nation states, blurred borders and new adversaries who are unaccountable to recognized governments and thus more difficult to deter and target.

    “Political boundaries are being replaced by tribal, ethnic and religious lines. … The system that used to be threatening, but predictable, is now more fluid. This disintegration is more difficult and complex,” said Israel’s top officer.

    Speaking Jan. 28 at the INSS event, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon offered an example of how new Sunni actors in Lebanon and Syria — some loosely linked to al-Qaida — have attempted to provoke Israeli involvement in ongoing Sunni-Shiite struggles.

    “Global Jihad elements have penetrated into Lebanon, and their main enemy is Hezbollah. One of these organizations fired at us in Western Galilee because they thought we would respond against Hezbollah, but we refused to fall into their trap.”


    Perhaps more attention should be paid when DM Moshe Ya’alon flatly describes the Sunni enemy as thinking to entrap the Zionist entity to fight their sectarian battles against Hezbollah. In fact, one can have a greater depth of understanding of the American position re Syria by understanding that Uncle Sam coordinates closely the Israelis. As per usual.

    Thus the mess.

    Posted by lally | February 10, 2014, 2:32 am
  2. AP

    As explained by QN, it is inaccurate and false to generalize from particular cases or to draw conclusions based on specific acts, actions or actors. It is inaccurate to claim that because a few, or even many, Muslims or Christians act in a particular fashion, that act is driven by Islam or Christianity. The interpretation of historically situated sets of beliefs is always singular no matter what. Most uninformed or uncritical individuals tend to draw conclusions based on false premisses: those people who think that certain ethnic or religious groups are essentially good, bad, or whatever, due to their culture, ideology, race, religion, etc., are not just uneducated or lacking in critical thought, they are also manifesting bigotry, racism, or ethnocentrism.

    Anyone claiming that all Muslims, Jews, or Americans, etc., are determined and bound to do certain actions due to their culture, religion or nationality, are not just making an inaccurate statement, they are also stripping individuals from their agency and cultures or beliefs of their complexity and historicity. This trend in thinking was popularized by colonial forces that considered all different colonized ethnic groups to be inferior and in need of “Civilization”.
    Orientalists as analyzed by Said are a particular example. So are Nazis and antisemites. So are people like Pipes or Sultan who lump millions of people together as a subhuman and inferior category that needs “fixing” or a “final solution.”

    Posted by Parrhesia | February 10, 2014, 2:56 am
  3. Lally;

    Thank you for the encouraging words, but I’ll live (and , without personally offending you, please don’t prescribe to me what I need to – or need not- to do. thank you)

    Its not likely that this will happen given that QN is resolute about banning me, rather than someone else. As is in the process of taking place.

    Here’s the thing. I find stupidity, successive logical fallacies, latent racism, derivations based on not logic or evidence, hypocrisy on many fronts including the hypocrisy of putting up a pretense of being open to arguments and difference in opinion (note Bad Vilbel’s disparaging and pointless “s/he has an answer for everything” remark, the hypocrisy of appearing open minded while being insidiously bigoted, appearing to be an expert while being a little-knowledgeable amateur (and a little knowledge makes for dangerous people), their hypocrisy in pretending to cry for Syria (partly because its a de rigeur very today thing to do and partly because its quite a politically de riguer thing to do) while nonchalantly throwing the Palestinian issue straight into the Israeli basket, in fact..using the Syria issue to …and the cherry on top, their ugly amorality in accepting to coddle up to zionism…

    I find all these much more insulting, intellectually and morally, than my pointing out that these individuals are full of BS and are severely lacking in as many ways as my adjectives. With all the retorts, the explanations, the criticisms….and in return, they give me beliefs, suspicions and prejudices based on very little knowledge. More than once, they were encouraged to oppose – but with substance. Neither substance, nor wit. Unfortunately, this is not an insult, this is factual.

    Qifa Nabki,

    You would have been banned on another forum a long time ago,

    Being self congratulatory (for not banning me), directly or indirectly(!), is an ugly thing. When we live in a democracy, we do not go around threatening, insidiously or otherwise, people that they could have \ been living elsewhere in a democracy and that they should be happy to live with the democracy or otherwise democracy will be revoked. It is clear what they taught you in the US in addition to necrophiliac theorizing on cultures.

    It doesn’t work this way. this is yet another evidence of intellectual sleaze. Either be a good old fashioned despot and lay the law as you wish without that trivial warning to me (and stop BS-ing about how bad Syrian despots are— you clearly cannot take real criticism) or be a truly democratic individual. I have the right, in a democracy to call you lacking in intelligence, in reason and so on. This is not libelous nor personal and I never brought up personal inflections into this.

    I can see through all that intellectual sleaze and there is not much more to see beyond.

    Posted by Trinkets | February 10, 2014, 4:17 am
  4. Un burro diciéndole al otro… Orejón!

    Posted by Vulcan | February 10, 2014, 8:10 am
  5. Just as the Baathist proxies were news to him, this must be news to QN.

    The federal reserves have uncovered the role of the Iranian theocracy in bankrolling al-Qaida.

    The theocracy is involved in bankrolling both ISIL and Nusra.

    How about that QN?

    Posted by Mustap | February 10, 2014, 8:12 am
  6. Trinkets has been suspended for a week. If and when he returns, he will be welcome to join the conversation again, provided he can keep his high-minded, mud-slinging pontifications under control. (Even splattered Lally, I see. My, my…)

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 10, 2014, 8:36 am
  7. Lally,

    ” Wouldn’t it be a hoot if the Israelis were the source? …”. Not a hoot. It serves Israel’s purpose. I have said it from day one that the managed chaos and civil war suits Israel the most. Also, the kissing cuz Assad n Bibi are setting up a family reunion. IMHO Syria along with Israel was instrumental is making a mess of Lebanon during the past 40 years…

    Posted by danny | February 10, 2014, 8:57 am
  8. In terms of Al Qaeda SUNNI extremists being funded by Iran; there is an ongoing trial under way in Toronto of two terrorists who were contemplating blowing up the raii/trains…

    Follow it with detail and we’ll see if allegations proven that Iran IS deeply involved with Al Qaeda and Daash and Nusra…
    …and lally so is Israel I am sure. 😀

    Posted by danny | February 10, 2014, 9:05 am
  9. Parrhesia,

    I appreciate your response and I agree with your assessnent that there is NO room for bigotry anywhere at any place.

    However, I am trying to make sense out of my disdain for bigotry, and at the same time, denounce the HUGE and DETRIMENTAL impact “militant” Islam is placing on the ME.

    IMHO, there are too many theocracies, too many governments employing sharia law, too many religious police to render the ME peaceful and equal for all human beings, not to mention the clerics who promote violent sectarianism. Is Wafa Sultan’s experiences a lie, and if not, should her words be ignored? What is she saying?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 10, 2014, 9:41 am
  10. AP,

    Sects and extremism is everywhere. Let’s not confuse “traditions” & “culture” with religion. See the Christian sects in USA…Or the people up in the “smokey’s”…

    Here’s another for you whereas arranged marriages and drugging of kids is the norm…


    Posted by danny | February 10, 2014, 10:09 am
  11. Lally

    Thank you for posting the Gantz/Ya’alon quotes. It is no surprise that Israel should be trying to game out the effect of the Syrian war on its own security, just as Turkey, KSA, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, and Hizbullah are doing. What I find difficult to understand is why this process of cynical gaming out is considered more nefarious and destructive than the direct and brutal involvement by those other players in the conflict. Let’s assume that Israel is also directly involved in the conflict. Why is that fact somehow more relevant than the reality that billions of dollars have been spent by Arab and Iranian governments to wage a war that has claimed over a hundred thousand lives?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 10, 2014, 11:15 am
  12. “Why is that fact somehow more relevant than the reality that billions of dollars have been spent by Arab and Iranian governments to wage a war that has claimed over a hundred thousand lives?”

    The relevant reality is the criminal nature of a most abhorrent Baathist regime, involved in the wanton and indiscriminate killing of the people. This is genocide Mr. Nabki!!

    Turkey and KSA and others who presumably are supporting the rebellion have a moral duty to support those who are fighting this despicable regime.

    Let’s not fudge the issue, please!!!

    Posted by Mustap | February 10, 2014, 12:12 pm
  13. Well, Mustap, now that’s taking the slightly idealistic view.
    Do you honestly believe that KSA and co. are helping the rebels out of a sense of morality?
    Mind you, I am not defending the Syrian regime here (two wrongs do not make a right). But let’s not kid ourselves, the KSA & co. saw an opening of a new battlefield to fight their own war with Iran and poured their resources into it (just as Iran poured its resources on the other side).
    Let’s not kid ourselves by thinking that either side did anything out of “moral obligation”.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 10, 2014, 1:21 pm
  14. Hello, been quite busy, haven;t had time to read or respond. Seems like the Nationalist/clientelist (mar8/mar14) debate continues more or less apace, no one seems to have changed their mind.

    Trinkets, I want to say that for the most part I admire your energy and your reference to source material. Perhaps you should consider starting your own blog? At the rate you comment, you could post rather frequently.

    I had a go debating with the anti-hezballah guys, it’s not worth it. The quality of their discussion is too low. They rarely post anything that makes me think or adds to my knowledge. So debating with them is kind of like hitting your head on a brick wall and then blaming the brick wall for hurting your head.

    But I have to say this: We are on the verge of an enormous victory.

    Posted by epok | February 10, 2014, 1:36 pm
  15. As for Akbar’s question about militant islam, et al…

    It is fact that the majority of people out there (be them muslim in the middle east or Americans or Israelis, I assume) are mostly concerned with living in peace, having good jobs, raising their kids, etc.
    Most people have some element of religiosity (for lack of a better word) ingrained in their daily lives in one form or another. Regular people who go to church on Sundays. Or muslims who fast on Ramadan or Jews who follow the Sabbath or attend an occasional synagogue. Some are more practicing than others, etc.

    That has very little to do with the regimes and political systems in place in these various countries.

    The political systems/regimes are where we should look more carefully for an explanation on the difference between the West, say, and the ME (and I’ll bring in Africa in a moment as well, bare with me).

    The West (and here I include both Europe, North America, and several other regions with a bit more “democracy” than the rest of the world) have evolved over history (throughout various phases that we won’t get into here for brevity’s sake) and have shaped their systems via their own experiences, to where they now have what we’ll qualify under the general umbrella of “Democracy”. One of the principle tenets of Democracy being (besides human rights and equality) a certain degree of separation between state affairs and religion.
    This was not always the case, mind you. Throughout history, most European countries did at various point in time succumb to the influence of various religious-minded and ethnic-minded trends and had their wars and massacres and whathaveyou that ensued.

    The ME has not followed the same evolutionary path. Remember that Islam is about 600 years behind Christianity from a historical viewpoint, for starters. So the ME has been shaped by a completely different set of events and has not yet reached the level of Democracy. The political regimes make use of what’s available to them, within their culture, to shape their followings and their narratives. Europe has nationalism in the 1930s. Europe had the Catholic/Protestant divide before that. And so on…In the ME, the “equivalent” narratives would be Islam vs. The West, Zionism, and nowadays the Shia/Sunni divide.

    Again, the distinction being made here, for me, is between the “regimes and political systems” on one hand (and the narratives they push on their peoples) and the average Joes themselves.

    Now you look at Africa. Again, as a whole, most of the countries in Africa (with some exceptions) have not reached the same evolutionary model as Europe. They are still recovering from their colonial past, to some degree. You look at Africa, and the narrative is not so much “militant Islam” (although there have been some elements of that), but rather a narrative of tribes and ethnicity, which has resulted in much the same level of atrocities we see in the ME (some may argue worse).
    Can you attribute that to Islam? I say no. There is no evidence of that. Yet the end result seems to be the same as the ME: Violence and a general mentality that does not appear ready for some of these concepts like Human Rights and Equality and so on.
    So again, the common denominator there, as I see it, between Africa and the ME, is not necessarily Islam. It’s an overall mentality that has not yet evolved to empower the individual – as it has in Europe – but rather a mentality that makes the individual subservient to tribal chiefs, religious leaders, or what I’ve called “regimes and political systems” here.

    I find that attributing violence to “extremist Islam” is an oversimplification (hence why haters like this Wafa Sultan and others like her seem silly and lack any kind of credibility in my opinion).
    People hacking each other up with machetes in Central Africa or Congo, or Sierra Leone has nothing to do with militant Islam.
    There are extremists in all countries, from all races and religions. The big differentiator, in my humble opinion, is whether the systems in place enable them or act as a buffer against them.
    In the West, I’d argue, the systems act as a buffer against extremism by promoting individuality. Are there some “crazies” in the USA? Or Europe? Of course. We hear about them quite frequently. Some of the crap I’ve heard from “Tea party” types in the US for example would not sound out of place in the Middle East.
    I’m guessing some of the more extreme settler types in Israel can come across the same way.
    In the ME and Africa, the systems, the “chiefs”, the regimes, enable these crazies, and even build their regimes around them, in some places, and therein lies the big difference.

    I hope that made some kind of sense.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 10, 2014, 1:44 pm
  16. Bad Vilbel,

    You got that wrong Mr. Vilbel. I believe the Saudis are genuinely helping the Syrians on humanitarian grounds.

    The Iranians on the other hand are engaged in geopolitical game, they got involved right from the start and that is why they are on the same side as the criminals, as are the Russians.

    There is NO WAY in hell you can equate, the Saudis, the Turks or the Qataris with the other two.

    The issue here is right vs, wrong and nothing else.

    The Saudis, Turks and Qataris are on the side of right.

    Ya’3ni kitr falsafee in this case is also bala ta’ameh..

    Posted by Mustap | February 10, 2014, 1:46 pm
  17. Bad Vilbel,

    Your comment regarding Akbar Palace makes sense.

    His fault was in making a blanket statement.

    I was disappointed that he had to be corrected by a ‘resistance’ supporter.

    I thought he should know better.

    Posted by Mustap | February 10, 2014, 1:49 pm
  18. Mustap, are you Trinkets’ evil twin? You’re starting to sound like him!

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | February 10, 2014, 1:54 pm
  19. “Mustap, are you Trinkets’ evil twin? You’re starting to sound like him!”

    Bad Vilbel,

    Why do you say that?

    I do not follow. You need to explain when you make such a trivial statement.

    The comparison is absolutely invalid.

    In fact, this could be an insult.

    FYI, the Saudis were the first to send 100’s of millions of humanitarian aid to the Syrians. That was way back in 2011/2012. In my opinion they are still not doing enough and they should, in addition to sending aid, send more weapons and even armed units from their army to train and fight alongside the Syrians. This is their duty.

    The Iranians have nothing to do in Syria. It is an invasion by a foreign and hostile entity.

    When it comes to Arab vs. Iranian, I am 100% Arab, and no excuses offered.

    Posted by Mustap | February 10, 2014, 2:06 pm
  20. Epok said: I had a go debating with the anti-hezballah guys, it’s not worth it. The quality of their discussion is too low. They rarely post anything that makes me think or adds to my knowledge. So debating with them is kind of like hitting your head on a brick wall and then blaming the brick wall for hurting your head.

    That’s what it feels like to debate most partisans, regardless of which side they support.

    But I have to say this: We are on the verge of an enormous victory.

    That anything resembling the horrific tragedy we’ve witnessed in the past few years could be called a victory — let alone an enormous one — is very puzzling. Who is the “we”? What is the contest? What are the stakes? What does victory mean?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 10, 2014, 2:15 pm
  21. It would be interesting to hear someone’s take on what exactly the Saudi beef is with Iran.

    As far as my knowledge goes, the Sunni Saudis/Kuwaitis and the US prompted Sunni Saddam/Iraq to wage a brutal war against the evil Shi’ite Iranians that resulted in over a million lives following the fall of the Shah. For some very strange reason the US decided to supply Iran through Israel with weapons during the Reagan era to counter it.

    Then Saddam’s oil coffers took a heavy beating with oil prices in the low 30’s with Kuwait oversupplying the market with cheap oil and refusing to help service the over $80Billion war debt Hussein spent waging a war on disputed territory on behalf of Iraqi/Sunnis against Iran in a brutal war folly.

    The United States, thereafter, spent 4 Trillion Dollars to liberate Kuwait and save Saudi Arabia from an apparent imminent invasion by that despot, invade and kill Saddam Hussein as well as invade Afghanistan, all of which had nothing to do with 9/11 while the apparent real culprit, lived on a compound in Pakistan.

    Go figure?

    Posted by Balesh | February 10, 2014, 3:02 pm
  22. Sadly this doesn’t surprise me, a Saudi Citizen as former Prime Minister of Lebanon… and now this


    Posted by tamer k | February 10, 2014, 3:25 pm
  23. ‘Resistance’ fake surprises selectively!!

    No surprises when Hassan declares allegiance to a foreign entity?

    Posted by Mustap | February 10, 2014, 3:49 pm
  24. BV…I think he has to be Iceman. No evil. Just Ice. Slowly the Salafists shades are becoming clear. 😀

    Posted by danny | February 10, 2014, 4:22 pm
  25. New post up, guys. This one’s for Vulcan.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 10, 2014, 4:35 pm
  26. QN ” (Even splattered Lally, I see. My, my…)”

    How gallant of you to be so sensitive on my account but I think you are projecting…Trinkets is acting in an entirely consistent manner and IMO, truly doesn’t understand why others are offended by his observations. It is at it’s core, a communications problem. Trinkets needs to learn to pick his battles in order to win the war. The scattershot approach is ineffective and diversionary.

    I’m sorry that your “silent readers” aka lurkers are so beside themselves that they are imploring you to ban Trinkets in order not to be forced to read something upsetting. How positively creepy.

    As far the informative article I posted goes….I don’t understand your extrapolation that there is something “nefarious” about the Israeli security concerns. Yes of course they are acting in Syria..who isn’t?

    What’s of interest to me are the implications to Israeli/American coordination on Syria being based on Israel’s very valid concerns that they are surrounded by new foes and that there are no clear answers to the security threats. The proliferation of “Global Jihad” threats has apparently resulted in the chances of a “conventional war” (Iran, Lebanon) this year withering away, presumably because of the potential for regional destabilization is seen as fraught with peril.

    How ironic that the contributions of the very foes of the latest evil axis could be forestalling the push by some elements of the Israeli gov, the neolib media whores and the US Congress to initiate military campaigns against Syria and/or Lebanon and/or Iran.

    LOL Danny. Remember when Senator Joe Lieberman had to correct Senator John McCain’s Sunni/Shia confusion? I’m eagerly awaiting the theory that it was the Hizzies slittiing throats on 9/11.

    But hey, you Canadians have that lunatic Xtian Zionist fool Stephen Harper as your “leader”….no doubt Conrad Black is his advisor on all things having to do with the light unto the nations of the universe now-and-forever-until the coming of the Nuevo Messiah and the Apocalypse; amen.

    Posted by lally | February 11, 2014, 1:24 pm
  27. Lally

    Gallantry was not my motive, but if the doeskin boot fits…

    Trinkets will be back in a few days. This blog has hosted over 31,000 comments by hundreds of unique commenters over the past 5.5 years. Only four or five have been banned or suspended (three of which, as I recall, were pro-M14), and Trinkets had several warnings to ease up on the mud-slinging before I asked him to take a chill pill. I look forward to debating him if/when he comes back.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 11, 2014, 2:13 pm
  28. Lally…

    You will be banned from the Great White North….We will “ice” you out in an igloo. 😛

    Posted by danny | February 11, 2014, 3:17 pm
  29. Lilly,

    You can cry your eyes out about “lunatic xtian Zionists”, but the fact of the matter is the “lunatic muslims” are the ones who have killed and displaced more arabs than in all the wars Israel has fought.

    We have the two baathist heroes to thank for that, and the numbers in each category are increasing daily. It is predicted there will be 5 million Syrian refugees by 2015.


    Posted by Akbar Palace | February 11, 2014, 3:22 pm


  1. Pingback: Libano, nuovo governo | Q CODE Magazine - February 16, 2014

Are you just gonna stand there and not respond?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Browse archives

wordpress stats plugin
%d bloggers like this: