Lebanon a difficult but certainly not a failed state?

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Lebanon LebanonFebruary 14 that each year marks anniversary of assassination of former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafik Hariri in a bomb blast in 2005, this year had a rather somber tone. This year his son Saad Hariri, who is also leader of the country’s Future Movement, announced his withdrawal from politics. After his father’s assassination, Saad had subsequently taken up his role as leader of parts of Sunni community in Lebanon.

Addressing his supporters, Hariri had a pessimistic tone in his resignation announcement. He said, “I am convinced that there is no room for any positive opportunity for Lebanon in light of Iranian influence, national division and the withering of the state.” He further added that he is expecting further deterioration of the situation in Lebanon. He also advised the Future Movement not to contest this year’s elections.

Lebanon has been gasping to stay afloat an economic turmoil and political chaos. Country is witnessing an absolute economic meltdown as Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 per cent of its value. Majority of Lebanese people are living under poverty – savings are vanished, bank accounts are frozen and jobs are in scarcity. But is Lebanon really a “failed state”?

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Whether a country is a ‘failed state’ is decided by four factors – Borders, utilities, guns and government. Can the country protect its international borders; is it capable of providing basic utilities and services; is governance capable to have authority across its territory, and does it have a monopoly on the application of force? Keeping the last factor into consideration, one can easily describe Lebanon as a “failed state” – it does not have monopoly on power with presence of Hezbollah militia which is outside the control of state. But that is true for many other countries as well, citing recent examples of Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen.

But the labelling of Lebanon as a ‘failed state’ is essentially an act of politics, of which the country is a victim of in the first place. Even though the life of people in Lebanon is on a cliff, calling the country a failed state is far-reaching, for the state has failed its people, not the country.

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