|The Work of Lakhdar BrahimiLebanon|
The Work of Lakhdar Brahimi
In 1982, Lakhdar Brahimi accepted his first assignment of « political demining », given to him by Algerian President Chadli Bendjedid. The mission consists of reconciling Yasser Arafat and Syrian President Hafez El-Assad, the day after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
Mandated by the League of Arab Nations, he returned to Lebanon in 1989, as Under Secretary of a tripartite Arab committee, bringing together Algeria, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. The Lebanese members of parliament met in Taif (Saudi Arabia), to end the civil war with the help of a seven-point action plan. It notably focused on the end of the hostilities, a new power sharing formula, the retreat of the Syrian troupes to Beqaa, and the new presidential elections.
The Taif Accords are approved in 1989 and the Lebanese conflict ends when the Presidential Palace is stormed by supporters of Elias Hraoui, the newly elected President by the deputies, with the assistance of the Syrian military.
Lebanon is a complex country comprised of various religious communities. It is an Arab speaking country with a population divided into 40% Christian and 60% Muslim: Catholics and Maronites (23%), Greek Orthodox (13%), Shia (28%), Sunni (23%), and Druze (8%).
Following the First World War, the League of Nations mandated what would become modern Lebanon to France in 1920. In 1926, Lebanon officially became the Republic of Lebanon and adopted its first Constitution, which provides a multi-confessional system for the country. All Parliament seats are reserved on a confessional and regional basis, the President of the Republic is a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister is Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of Parliament is a Shia Muslim (the Troika System).
After the Second World War, independence was declared in 1943 and the Republic retained its power structure on the basis of a National Pact. Under this pact, Christians renounced French protection and recognized Lebanon’s Arab affiliation, while Muslims renounced the dream of a “Greater Syria”. Syria refused to recognize Lebanon’s independence, considering it a part of its territory. However, coexistence was harmonious and Lebanon experienced a boom that made it a magnet within the Arab world until the 1970s.
Over the years, the distribution of posts evolved more and more in favor of Maronite Christians, who occupied important positions: Chief of the armed forces, President of the Supreme Court, and governor of the Central Bank). At the dawn of the civil war in 1975, 40% of the highest positions were held by the Maronites, compared to 27% by the Sunni Muslims, and 3.3% by Shia Msulims.
The issue of naturalizing the many Palestinian refugees from the wars between Israël and the neighboring Arab states provoked tensions between communities and political parties, between Christians and Muslims, between Conservatives and Progressives. It also strained relations between Lebanon and its neighbors, Syria and Israel, resulting in the Civil War.
The Civil War, between 1975 and 1990, was fueled by Lebanon’s neighbors (Syrian Shiite influences, Israel, PLO), who led a war by proxy in this multi-confessional country. This was embodied by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the Lebanese Phalange (Christian and secular), the Progressive Socialist Party (Druze), and the Hezbollah (Shiite) as early as 1982.
The Taif accord, an inter-Lebanese treaty, was adopted in autumn 1989 at the initiative of Algerian President Chadli Ben Jadid, King Hussein of Jordan, and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. It was seen as an attempt to restore peace and national reconciliation. In November, it achieved a return to constitutional order and the elections of a new President of the Republic of Lebanon.
From 1990 to 2008, Lebanon’s human development index continuously rose from 0.677 to 0.803.