Decentralization in Lebanon

Topics: Lebanon, Syria, Lebanese Forces Pages: 6 (2173 words) Published: May 4, 2013
Decentralization is the Key
The indictment, international tribunal and formation of government have dominated the Lebanese’s concern lately. This played an important role in forgetting about other crucial issues that need to be discussed in order to ensure the stable growth of Lebanon. Many people blame the Doha agreement for the civil war and for all the chaos in Lebanon. Given the Lebanese situation today, shouldn’t the Lebanese government adopt a different political system, such as federalism, to go back to stable growth? An important article in the Lebanese constitution states that there must be an even development between regions on the educational, social and economic level to ensure stability and unity. ('The Lebanese Constitution: A Reference Edition in English Translation' ).According to the CIA world Fact book, 4,143,101 people are all controlled under the same central authority. How will all regions be treated equally if the main power comes from the center as in the capital only? Are the other far regions such as Akar responsible for this disharmony? A good solution to avoid dissonance between Lebanese regions is decentralization since it scatters the powers and duties of the government among several local authorities and ensures equality. The first time Lebanon came across the concept of decentralization was in the civil war period (1975-1990) (ICL-Lebanon). Founder of the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb leader, Bachir Gemayel suggested adopting the idea of decentralization. However, after he was elected he forgot about it since he felt no threat to the Christian society now that the presidency was in his hands. Instead, he went for a central government in all the 10452km2. After his assassination by the Syrian intelligence, his brother Amine Gemayel opted to represent his legacy although he was against federalism. Ever since, several Lebanese Forces leaders such as Elie Hobeika wanted to adopt an anti-federalist position due to Syrian manipulation and pressure. In 1985, Hobeika left the LF and joined the pro-Syrian camp where he signed the Tripartite Agreement[i]. This made room for Samir Geagea to become the new leader of the LF. Hence, he made federalism his main goal. In the late 1990’s he said, “When we propose federalism, it is to move from partition to a more unifying step. I think other internal sides are now convinced that no one can dominate Lebanon.” The subject of adopting a federal system has become a matter of discussion. However, signing the Taif Accord[ii] which ended the civil war kind of complicated his position. The Accord stated, “The states of Lebanon shall be a single and united state with a strong central authority”. This would seem like what Geagea wanted. However the Taif agreement wanted to weaken the president by decentralization. Geagea on the other hand wanted clear division of region to ensure the growth of Lebanon. In addition to the Taif, his imprisonment by the Syrian government is what ended his “federal Lebanon” dream. Even though he abandoned federalism, the LF still supported decentralization. The matter did not end here. In 2005, after the Syrian departure from the Lebanese territory, Sami Gemayel got on board with his own political activity with a group called Loubnannona[iii] which was a pro-federalist union. Moreover, Nadim, Bachir Gemayel’s son was completely with the idea if it were the solution for Lebanon. Although the idea of federalism (extreme decentralization) was discussed, Lebanon is a centralized form of government. Every country is subjected to a certain political system such as capitalism, socialism, communism, federalism etc. Our main concern, however, is the centralized and decentralized systems. From their names one can notice that these two forms of governments are contrary. In Lebanon, the government is centralized which means that all the decisions are made by one center hand from the capital. According to the Merriam-Webster...

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