Donnerstag, 3. Januar 2008

Memorandum of Understanding between Mustaqbal and Hizbollah

The following fictional memorandum is based on the assumption that both movements have the intention to de-escalate current tensions and contribute to a stable Lebanon. This assumption is based on their actions on the ground after the worrying events of January 2007 when the political escalation turned into a sectarian and violent one.

Ever since Hizbollah has taken measures to moderate the on-going tensions by calling of the general-strike, by rejecting Michel Aoun and Sleiman Frangie´s idea of a march on the government´s headquarters inspired by the Ukrainian model and by Hassan Nasrallah personally asking the relatives of Shiites who were killed in the January clashes to refrain from seeking revenge.

Similarly Saad Al-Hariri, as the Head of Mustaqbal, has in contrast to his allies Samir Geagea and Walid Jumblat moderated his rethorics towards Hizbollah and its ally Syria. Furthermore he called on his supporters not to resort to violence.

Both movements have included members of the respective other religious community in their rallies and prayers in order to diffuse the sectarian character of the crisis. The compromise in principal about the successor of Emil Lahoud as Lebanese President can also be seen as a renunciation of all-out demands.

Memorandum of Understanding between Hizbollah and Mustaqbal Movement as the dominant forces in the „March 14“ and „March 8“ alliances

1) On the military level

Mustaqbal accepts and values the principal of resistance in a transition phase during which the resistance plays a crucial role to defend the country against foreign aggression in the south of the country,

provided that Hizbollah accepts and actively contributes to working out a national defence strategy with the aim to establish the Lebanese Army as the sole armed group and protector of Lebanon in all its territories

provided that Hizbollah acts in a strictly defensive manner and does not obstruct a diplomatic solution of the conflict about the Shebaa-Farms.

As soon as a solution about the Shebaa-Farms in favour of Lebanon is reached (most likely and desirably in Israeli-Syrian-Lebanese package deal concerning the Golan Heights) Hizbollah´s armed elements are obliged to decommission their weapons respectively have the opportunity to integrate into the Lebanese Army.

Hizbollah accepts the stated demands,

provided that Mustaqbal immediately pursues to disarm affiliated militias and exercises pressure on other sunni (extremist) militias that re-emerged in the course of the growing sectarian tensions to disarm

provided that Mustaqbal immediately ceases to finance sunni extremist groups as a counter-weight to the military presence of Hizbollah

provided that Mustaqbal stops appeasing sunni extremists e.g. by pardoning criminals in order to snatch votes for its movement

2) The “War of Words”

Both sides commit themselves to de-escalate the so-called War of Words in a highly biased media landscape. This involves:

  1. The affiliated media organs of Hizbollah and Mustaqbal, al-Manar and Future TV, commit themselves to give the “other side” a platform to explain theirs stance for a certain amount of time every day.
  2. Both movements exert pressure on their allies to refrain from populist accusations towards the respective counter-part (e.g. Gagea, Jumblat)
  3. Both movements commit themselves to refrain from denouncing “the other side” as a tool of external actors but to recognize the counterpart as an independent actor

3) Political Level

Both sides commit themselves to the necessity of a change of the political system which currently does not reflect the demographic situation. An unjust system bears the risk of violence.

Mustaqbal is commited to reform of the political system provided that Hizbollah accepts the system as a means of representation and therefore refrains from street politics as well as refrains from its objective of the establishment of an Islamic state in its Charta.

The reform involves ideas which have been elaborated in former efforts of reformation by the National Commission to … or contents of the Taif agreement

  1. Short term: Expression of accountablility to the Opposition
    Reform of decision-making in the current cabinet as expression of accountability to
    19 Government Coalition + 10 Opposition + 1 Person without decision making competence
    Long term perspective: Gradual renunciation of Confessionalism

i. through establishment of a two chamber system consisting of one chamber elected on a majoritarian-vote basis and another chamber elected on a proportional

ii. providing mechanism to end clientilism --> Counting votes at the qada level, not a village or neighbourhood level

  1. Democratization as alternative to unconventional means of politics

i. Reducing voting age

ii. The enabling of in-country Lebanese to vote near their place of residence

iii. Women’s quota at Muhafza level

5 Kommentare:

Anonym hat gesagt…

Assuming that Hizbollah will be willing to give up their weapons in return for Shebaa farms is absolutely delusional. It is clear that they will only consider submitting their weapons in return for more representation. What you suggested about reform of the political system might have been sufficient had it actually consisted of a binding statement, not just a "commitment" to reform.

This creates another problem; if Mustaqbal commits itself to reform of the system, on who's expense will this reform occur? Is Mustaqbal willing to acknowledge that its Christian and Druze allies are over-represented?

Besides, your MOU has no mention of the international tribunal. I don't think Mustaqbal will give Hizbollah a blocking third if the latter does not make peace with the idea of the tribunal. What about the agreements made during the dialog sessions, with regards to the demarcation of the Syrian borders, diplomatic exchange, etc.?

Overall, there are way too many gaps. Good try nevertheless.

Anonym hat gesagt…


vas quickly reading this paper

to the comment of Sa2ed i would add that nor hezbollah or Moustakbal would be ready to move to a less confessionalized state as it would harm their representation and their "ideological" standart based on confessionalism.

will try to go deeper another time...

Joshua Landis hat gesagt…

An interesting proposal, but why give the opposition a blocking third in the cabinet if you are going to reform the constitution and re-apportion the confessional balance in parliament? This would seem to be a recipe for gridlock and immobilism.

I would do one or the other.

Anonym hat gesagt…

Thanks a lot for your comments!!!

I am going to take them into consideration and update the Memorandum...

I agree that the Hariri-Tribunal has to be emphasized (rather than the Shebaa-Issue) in the package deal.

Concerning confessionalism and changes in the political system I think we have to differentiate between short term measures to "appease" the opposition that are not structural and long-term measures actually changing the political system...

Best Wishes from Berlin,


Sophia hat gesagt…

Hi Christoph,

I think you underestimate the role of the Christian coalition in the opposition (Aoun). Your paper presents the actual deadlock as happening between a sunni led coalition and a shia led coalition. In my opinion, agreement, any kind of agreement, will be hard to reach if we don't tackle the fracture in the Christian camp. I think Hariri should give some weight to Aoun's movement and negociate with them directly. Aoun is hugely popular among Christians, contrary to what March 14th would like us to believe. This is where I see the main difficulty. Christians are misprepresented in the new political scene.
Consequently, free elections must be held nationwide with a new electoral law. This is the key to political and social justice in Lebanon.

You may also want to read the memorandum of understanding between hezbollah and Aoun's movement. It is on Al-Tayyar's website.

One has also to take a larger perspective, noth geographical and historical when planning such agreements and this paper may help (it is in French but I am sure you can find someone to translate the essential of the paper to you):
Le Liban dans l'ordre juridique international:

Corm should be a constant source on Lebanon.