Taif Peace Agreement

The agreement established the principle of “mutual coexistence” (العيش المشترك) between the different sects of Lebanon and their “appropriate political representation” (صحة التمثيل السياسي) as the main objective of parliamentary electoral laws after the civil war. [6] He also restructured the political system of the National Pact in Lebanon by diverting some of the power of the Maronite Christian community, which had received privileged status in Lebanon during the period of French rule. Before the agreement, the Sunni Muslim prime minister was appointed by the Maronite president and held accountable to him. After the Taif Agreement, the Prime Minister was accountable to the legislature, as in a traditional parliamentary system. Therefore, the agreement changed the power-sharing formula that had favored Christians to a 50:50 ratio and expanded the powers of the Sunni prime minister over those of the Christian president. [8] Before the Taif negotiations, a Maronite Christian, General Michel Aoun, was appointed Prime Minister by President Amine Gemayel on September 22, 1988. This had caused a serious political crisis of a divided prime minister, as the post was reserved for a Sunni Muslim due to the 1943 National Pact and Omar Karami held the post. The Taif Agreement made it possible to overcome this crisis by preparing for the election of a new president. In July 2006, Israel invaded Lebanon again after Hezbollah took two Israeli soldiers hostage to exchange them with Israeli prisoners. As the conflict escalated, the Lebanese cabinet agreed in an extraordinary meeting that Israel must withdraw and agree to a ceasefire in accordance with the Taif Agreement and UN resolutions. However, Energy Minister Mohammad Fneish, a member of Hezbollah, argued that the ongoing military crisis had overtaken the Taif Agreement and UN Security Council Resolution 1559, so the agreement was no longer a document of the national agreement. Iran`s important role in the region should not be ignored, he added.

[3] These competing approaches have gradually become opposing projects for Lebanese society. Their imposed coexistence has caused cracks in the political system thanks to their mutual exclusivity. The Hariri project was economically and politically liberal in the sense that it was linked to globalization and the ties with the West that Hariri gladly cultivated through his relations in France and elsewhere. In contrast, Hezbollah`s project was increasingly seen as an endless country and society at war and mobilized against Israel and the West. This was implicitly confirmed in the party`s inclination towards the idea of a war-oriented economy. For Hezbollah, such an economy contrasted with an economy whose emphasis was on regional interdependence and integration, which has always been suspected of being a facet of a possible Arab-Israeli peace process. Not to mention Hezbollah`s palpable support for a parallel society in the areas it controls. That was exactly 30 years ago, on the 22nd. In October 1988, Christian and Muslim members of the Lebanese parliament in Taif, Saudi Arabia, signed a pact promising to abolish sectarianism. The deal, known as the Taif Agreement, aimed at a political solution to a bloody war – fueled in part by sectarianism – that killed more than 100,000 people. The agreement included political reforms, the end of the Lebanese civil war, the establishment of special relations between Lebanon and Syria, and a framework to begin Syria`s complete withdrawal from Lebanon. As Rafik Hariri was a former Saudi diplomatic representative, he played an important role in building the Taif Agreement.

[3] It is also argued that the Taif Agreement aligned Lebanon with the Arab world, particularly Syria. [5] In other words, the Taif Agreement positioned Lebanon as a country with “an Arab identity and affiliation.” [6] The agreement was only concluded and confirmed after the development of an international alliance against Saddam Hussein. [7] The alliance included Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, France, Iran and the United States. [7] As Lebanon approached the 15th anniversary of the start of its brutal civil war, a regional effort emerged to restore political normality, end widespread bloodshed, and help the authorities regain control of the country`s territory. A committee chaired by Hussein El-Husseini, then speaker of the House of Representatives, composed of surviving members of Lebanon`s 1972 parliament, met in Taif, Saudi Arabia, to negotiate the terms of the peace agreement. What became known as the Taif Agreement, the result of determined diplomacy by Saudi Arabia and the Arab League, paved the way for peace. As one East Beirut lawmaker told Arab News on the day of the deal: “We released the tumor from the Arab body and stopped the bleeding, which was painful and endless.” This pact was the unwritten agreement between then-President Bechara El-Khoury and Prime Minister Riyad Al-Solh, which established independent Lebanon as a multi-faith state. It was a power-sharing between Christians and Muslims, in which the president always had to be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of parliament a Shiite. Traditional powers have been particularly beneficial for Christians in Lebanon.

The civil war required an adjustment of this balance. It also required an adjustment of Lebanon`s relations with the Arab world at a time when Assad was becoming increasingly powerful, with the aim of being more influential and hegemonic in Lebanon. .