LEBANON--March 14 Coalition

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The “March 14th Alliance” is the popular name for the anti-Syrian, minority coalition of Lebanon, that was in control of Lebanon from the time of the parliamentary elections in May 2005 (at the height of the Cedar Revolution, the mass movement that sprung from outrage over the assassination of Sunni politician Rafik Hariri in February 2005 and culminated with the total expulsion of Syria’s occupying army) until 2011 and again beginning in 2016. It is a coalition of parliamentary parties devoted to Lebanon’s independence from all outside forces, especially Syria, Israel and Iran. The largest constituent parties in this alliance are:

The Future Wave: A primarily Sunni pro-business party loyal to the memory of the late Rafik Hariri, led by his son, Sa’ad Hariri, now the leader of the majority in parliament. This party also produced former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

Lebanese Forces: A right-wing party (the second largest Christian party after Aoun’s FPM), born out of inter-sectarian conflict during the civil war, it is currently led by Samir Geagea.


Goals


--Maintain Lebanon’s internal sovereignty, repelling all attempts by foreign powers to influence Lebanese affairs. An important part of this mission is courting powerful western countries to help guarantee this sovereignty.

--Rebuild the Lebanese infrastructure, which was largely destroyed during the July 2006 Hezbollah-Israel conflict. This also requires foreign investment.

--Break the current alliance between Michel Aoun’s Maronite Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah. March 14 and Aoun share (at least historically) a strong anti-Syria position, and it bears remembering that the name of your coalition comes from the date in 1989 that Aoun himself declared a “War of Liberation” against the Syrian presence in Lebanon.

--Significantly reduce the influence and power of Hezbollah. This is the government’s most immediate problem. Hezbollah’s militia is more powerful than the Lebanese Army, so any direct confrontation will be unacceptably destructive. An attempt must be made to either lure Hezbollah’s Shiite followers away from the militia, or encourage Hezbollah’s forces to integrate into the current Lebanese Army; the movement’s current prestige severely threatens your overall ability to govern and rebuild your shattered nation.


Challenges


--Hezbollah has become a virtual independent country in south Lebanon. They are the most popular Islamic movement in the entire Middle East, and their leader, Hassan Nasrallah, accuses your government of siding with the Israelis during their 2006 invasion of Lebanon.

--Hezbollah has accused your government of being devoted solely to Druze and Sunni interests. They have lured many Maronite Christians to their side, including the Free Patriotic Movement of the legendary general Michel Aoun. Though your government now enjoys close to 70% approval, this opposing coalition represents more than 50% of the Lebanese people, and this rivalry is rapidly hardening along religious lines.

--In December 2006 all Shiites resigned from your government, and took to the streets in protest, along with Aoun’s Maronites. They demanded the creation of a national unity government that would give greater representation to Hezbollah and Aoun’s faction. Hezbollah has staged rallies with hundreds of thousands of protesters, and on December 10th Aoun threatened to march on the parliament himself.

You must find a way to solve this dispute, reintegrate your opponents into the framework of government, and avoid a new civil war, all while preserving your tiny country’s hard-won independence

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