Is a new Cold War sweeping Lebanon?

The proverb “the more the cooks the worse the pottage” applies to the presidential elections in Lebanon. Many countries have dispatched envoys on the matter but no results have been achieved and so far and these seems to be little hope that there will ever be any results. These envoys have been dispatched to solicit opinions and actually there is a Lebanese consensus on the importance of electing a president, knowing that no one seems to be in a rush to elect one. It’s as if they have gotten used to the vacuum and to the institution working without a head. If the situation continues as such for a long time, it will mean that the presidency is no longer an important requirement and that the president is a mere figurehead, good for little more than official reception dinners. If this is the actual reality, it’s become necessary to think of reconsidering the Taif Agreement in order for the presidency to restore its role.

Since Damascus’ role has regressed and since Tehran overtook it as a regional player, Russia intervened

Nayla Tueni

So far, the international activity towards Lebanon appears lacking as none of the envoys have announced launching a serious initiative regarding the presidency issue. However, perhaps what’s more dangerous than all of this is the overlap in powers or contradiction of initiatives and the return of the Cold War. The Russian activity regarding the Lebanese presidential issue is relatively new as Moscow has not been a direct major player in such affairs and has left these issues to its allies in the region - particularly to Damascus which has been the major player for years. Since Damascus’ role has regressed and since Tehran overtook it as a regional player, Russia directly intervened in order to exert influence.

This Russian activity may clash with the French activity which is mostly supported by the United States and the process of electing a president would thus be further obstructed. Therefore the optimism in all this activity towards Lebanon may be totally wrong! All we have to do is wait for serious foreign communication that may help us exit this dilemma by communicating with active parties in international decision making circles.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on December 18, 2014.


Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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