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Should Lebanon Amend The Taif Accords?

Mohammad Harfoush analyzes the history of the Taif Accords and asks whether they should be amended given the current political climate.
Lebanese army soldiers inspect a car at a checkpoint in the port city of Tripoli, northern Lebanon, during clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites December 6, 2012. Two men were killed by sniper fire in Tripoli on Thursday during sectarian clashes between gunmen loyal to opposing sides in neighbouring Syria's civil war, residents said. REUTERS/Stringer    (LEBANON - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY TRANSPORT)
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Every so often, some suggest reconsidering the Taif Accords, the constitution that the Lebanese state is supposed to observe. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, for instance, has advocated establishing a constituent assembly. Similarly, Christian leaders — notably the Maronite Patriarch — have proposed enacting a new national pact or amending the Taif Accords.

The Taif Accords, signed on Nov. 10, 1989, were an inevitable necessity. The Lebanese people desperately needed to put an end to the long and bloody civil war, which had taken a huge toll on everyone involved. Moreover, the Lebanese lacked a national reconciliation plan or a group capable of saving the country. Once the war had run its course in Lebanon, there was an international and regional desire to change the region's political course. This was later known as the “New World Order,” which was catalyzed by a series of radical political changes: the break-up of the Soviet Union and the first Gulf war. In the midst of global turmoil, the necessary internal reconciliation coincided with favorable regional and international developments.

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