Despite ongoing crises Lebanon carries on adapting and accommodating itself to new realities and challenges. As a result, international and national actors continue to praise Lebanon’s resilience. This resilience finds roots within state–society relations that have long undermined state institutions while empowering a “system” of patronage and clientelism often endorsed directly or indirectly by the international community. Extolling Lebanon’s resilience secures the resilience of the system and undermines public institutions of the state, rendering society dependent on the system rather than on the state. Lebanon’s lauded resilience is actually the resilience of its elites, whose purpose is to undermine state institutions. The stability of Lebanon is the resilience of its elites, which in turn hides the seeds of conflict and instability that might erupt at any point.
Paper produced in the framework of a project entitled “The EU’s New Resilience Agenda in the MENA Region”, October 2017.
1. Lebanon’s hailed resilience: How is it understood?
2. Background: State–society relations in Lebanon
3. Resilience of whom and to what?
3.1 The private-public collusion: The trash crisis
3.2 Syrian influx into Lebanon: The pinnacle of resilience?
4. Challenges to resilience: A grim situation