10 March 2011

Protests have been led by Sunni Muslims, who have been angered at attempts by Hezbollah to form a government. In mid-December, Saad Hariri’s national unity government collapsed following a defection of a number of MPs to the Hezbollah-backed camp. Some commentators have described it as a Hezbollah coup. Although not directly linked to the protests in the rest of the region, the potential for unrest remains high as Prime Minister-elect Najib Mikati struggles to form a new government.

Government actions:

  • The Economy Ministry purchased a three-month supply of wheat costing $9.2m

Political Risk assessment

Sharing many of the drivers behind protests elsewhere in the region, such as the high level of unemployment, Lebanon could well face destabilising protests in the future. However, a greater threat to stability is likely to come from disagreements between the country’s political and religious blocs.

23 February 2011

Lebanon remains at risk of instability, although not directly linked to the unrest witnessed in North Africa, the Levant and parts of the Gulf.

After the collapse in mid-January of Saad Hariri’s national unity government and the subsequent defection of a number of MPs to the Hezbollah-backed March 14th camp, Prime Minister-elect Najib Mikati is struggling to form a new government.

Many of the issues that drew Egyptians, Yemenis and Bahrainis on to the street exist in Lebanon, including widespread unemployment – particularly acute with the Shia communities – and an elite that has been accused of hoarding political and financial power.

With Hezbollah prepared to bring its supporters on to the street if it feels its interests are being attacked and a highly-armed Israel to the south ever ready to take military action, Lebanon will remain a political risk hotspot in the short term.