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The Political Economy of Lebanon Under Rafiq Hariri: An Interpretation

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International consensus supported Lebanon's effort to rebuild its shattered economy after the civil war and Rafiq Hariri, with Saudi and Western backing, took over as Prime Minister in 1992 to oversee the reconstruction program. Yet persistent Syrian efforts through Lebanese allies, including President Emile Lahoud, to undermine Hariri by blaming him for the country's economic woes raised suspicions that Damascus sought unrivalled influence in Lebanon. Hariri's efforts to privatize the corrupt state sector and attract direct foreign investment proved incompatible with Syrian hegemony. Complex factors were behind Syria's stance, relating to its insecurity in Lebanon, heightened by perceptions of Hariri's association with the West and the personal financial interests of leaders of the Syrian Ba'th regime in Lebanon's economy. The crisis crossed the point of no return with the extension of Lahoud's presidential term in September 2004.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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