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Policy Analysis

Congressional Testimony

What’s Next for Lebanon? Examining the Implications of Current Protests

Hanin Ghaddar

Also available in العربية

House Committee on Foreign Affairs

November 19, 2019

An expert testifies on the concrete steps Washington can take to ensure that a credible, technocratic government forms in Beirut, and that the Lebanese Armed Forces protect civilians from Hezbollah-led reprisals.

The following is an excerpt from prepared remarks submitted to the Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism. To read the full testimony, download the PDF.

For a month, nationwide protests have swept Lebanon due to deteriorating economic conditions and the persistent corruption of the ruling class. Two weeks into the protests, Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned. When asked to form a new government, he faced a deadlock because he sought one composed of independent technocrats. This type of government is what the protestors are demanding; it is also a requirement for outside financial assistance to Lebanon. No other outcome would generate confidence at home or internationally. Yet it is still unclear who will form the new government, and none of the names proposed so far are suitable given that current authorities are still influenced by Hezbollah...