The Taef Agreement: The Curse of Lebanon]

By: Etienne Sacre “Abu Arz”

October 9, 2006


The state of paralysis and complete incoherence of the ruling regime in Lebanon is not only due to the abysmal quality of the political class, but also to the poor quality of the Lebanese political system based on the Taef Agreement which converted the Presidential system into a polycephalic system.


Since 1989, we have been warning against the dangers of this agreement and its negative repercussions on Lebanese political life, but everyone rushed to support it from the standpoint of their own selfish interests until the country finds itself today in this huge impasse from which it is virtually impossible to get out.


They claim that there was a consensus by the Lebanese people over Taef, and they continue to repeat this claim at every occasion, when the facts are that the Lebanese people had no opinion whatsoever on this agreement and the consensus was by a handful of former parliamentarians who had lost their representative quality after they renewed their own term five times and could not at that point truly represent the people.


They also claim that the Taef Agreement had ended the “civil” war in Lebanon and they still repeat this asinine idea to this day, when the truth is completely otherwise. First, the war was not a civil war, and second, the war ended because of the Syrian invasion of the Eastern regions on October 13, 1990 and the elimination of the Lebanese Resistance, allowing for a complete control of Lebanon by Syria.


They also claim that this agreement had returned a balance to the constitutional institutions, when the fact is that it caused a deep rift in those institutions, particularly at the level of the three presidencies, it further inflamed – rather than reduced – sectarian and confessional conflicts as we see today, and it created an oligarchic system, later labeled as the ruling troika, not to mention the fact that it formally established the Syrian interference in Lebanese affairs. And speaking of Syria, it must be noted that Syria was the godfather of that agreement in the person of its vice-president then, who oversaw every word in the drafting of its provisions. This confirms that the Taef Agreement lacks credibility at its foundation since the inimical and hostile nature of the Syrian regime towards Lebanon prevents it from agreeing to any proposition that seeks the highest interests of the Lebanese people.


Today, after the Taef Agreement has failed in all respects some voices have begun calling for what we called for 17 years ago. This is a positive step and we hope it will grow with an increasing number of voices opposing the Taef Agreement so that they become with time an effective majority that is capable of making the required amendments to it and laying the foundations for sound governance.


We reiterate our position that the ideal solution is a return to the Basic Constitution after enacting amendments separating church from state and establishing a secular state in Lebanon.