Can Lebanon Rebuild Not Just Beirut, but Its Broken Political System?

Graffiti written by Lebanese citizens in front of the scene of the explosion at Beirut’s port, Lebanon, Aug. 9, 2020 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).
Graffiti written by Lebanese citizens in front of the scene of the explosion at Beirut’s port, Lebanon, Aug. 9, 2020 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).
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The devastating explosion that tore through Beirut earlier this month exposed the elite corruption at the heart of Lebanese governance. The blast itself, which was almost certainly caused by a stockpile of highly explosive ammonium nitrate that had sat unguarded at Beirut’s port since 2013, may not have been deliberate. But it had everything to do with Lebanon’s history of conflict and the elderly politicians, many of them former warlords, who still hold power in its dysfunctional, sectarian and clientelist political system. With the public mobilizing against the country’s kleptocracy, the survival of the status quo is in question. But […]

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