On 22 October, the Taif Agreement celebrated its quarter-of-a-century birthday.
Negotiated in the Saudi Arabian city of Taif in 1989, the agreement served as the basis for ending the 15 year-long Lebanese civil war. While there’s no doubt the accord deserves credit for putting a stop to mass bloodshed, it was in many ways an exercise in wishful thinking, starting with its introductory assertion that “Lebanon is a sovereign, free, and independent country.”
It’s a bit tricky, of course, to claim sovereignty for a country condemned to play perennial battleground for foreign powers, not merely during the civil war - a reality underscored by the fact that both Israel and Syria continued to occupy the place for over a decade after Taif.
Syria was even tasked in the agreement itself with “thankfully assist[ing] the forces of the legitimate Lebanese government to spread the authority of the State of Lebanon” over all Lebanese territories. This arrangement came equipped with the blessing of the United States, as well as – obviously - the kingdom that played host to the negotiations. READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.