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The Evolving Patterns of Lebanese Politics in Post-Syria Lebanon

Fouad Ilias

Annexe 1

Texte intégral

The Memorandum of Understanding

Full Text of Memorandum of Understanding between Hizbullah and Free Patriotic Movement declared on February 6th, 2006

1Available at​


2The first meeting ever between the head of the Change and Reform Bloc, MP Michel Aoun, and the Secretary General of Hizbullah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, took place today afternoon at St. Michael Church in Shiah in the presence of Mahmoud Comati and Ghaleb Abu-Zeinab from Hizbullah, and Gebran Bassil, Ziad Abs and Fuad Al-Ashkar from the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). The meeting was held under high security measures around the periphery of the church. The meeting lasted 3 hours, at the end of which a joint memorandum of understanding between the FPM and Hizbullah was made public and read by Abu-Zeinab and Bassil. Signed by Lebanon’s most powerful Shia Muslim and Christian political movements on February 6. Some points in the memorandum (e.g. anti-corruption reforms) merely re-state positions that Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement have held for many years, while others were hammered out over weeks of negotiations.

3The following is the text the memorandum:

I. Dialogue

4National dialogue is the only avenue to find solutions for Lebanon’s crises on stable and firm bases that are a reflection of a unifying consensual will. The following conditions are necessary to ensure its success:

  • A. The participation of the parties that have a political, popular and national standing with a round table as a venue.

  • B. Transparency, openness, and placing national interests above all other interests, through the reliance on self-driven will, and a free and committed Lebanese decision-making.

  • C. The inclusion of all issues that have a national character and require general consensus.

II. Consensual Democracy

5Consensual democracy remains the fundamental basis for governance in Lebanon, embodying the spirit of its constitution and the essence of the pact of coexistence. Therefore, any approach to national issues on the basis of a majority/minority formula will remain contingent on the realization of historical and social conditions necessary for real democracy, in which the citizen becomes a value in and of himself.

III. The Electoral Law

6Reforming and organizing Lebanese political life require the adoption of a modern electoral law (in which proportional representation may be one of its effective variations) that guarantees the accuracy and fairness of popular representation and contributes in accomplishing the following:

  • A. Activate the role of political parties, with the aim of bolstering civil society.

  • B. Limit the influence of money and sectarian extremism in politics.

  • C. Providing equal access to the media.

  • D. Secure the required means that enable expatriate Lebanese to exercise their voting rights.

7We call on the government and parliament to enact the required electoral law at the shortest possible deadline.

IV. Building the State

8Building a modern State that enjoys the trust of its citizens and is able to meet their needs and aspirations, and provide them with the sense of security and safety as to their present and future, requires that the State be erected on strong and solid foundations that make it impervious to destabilization and periodic crises whenever it is threatened by difficult circumstances or changes. This requires adhering to the following:

  • A. Adopting the standards of justice, equality, parity, merit and integrity.

  • B. A fair and impartial judiciary is the essential condition for creating a State of rights, law, and institutions, which is based on:
    1. The complete independence of the judiciary as an institution and the selection of judges with recognized competence in order to activate the work of all courts.
    2. Respect for the functioning of constitutional institutions; shelter them from political influences, ensure the continuity of their work; and prevent their paralysis (the Judicial Council and the Constitutional Council). What happened in the Constitutional Council is an example of such paralysis, particularly with respect to the parliamentary challenges submitted to it that have not yet been decided.
    C. Address corruption at its roots, because temporary and pacifying treatments are no longer sufficient and have become an exercise in circumvention by the beneficiaries of corruption at all levels, who sap the resources of the State and the citizen. This requires:
    1. Activate the financial and administrative control and inspection institutions and boards, with the mandate to separate them from the executive power in order to guarantee that their work is not politicized.
    2. Conduct a comprehensive survey of the pockets of corruption, in preparation for opening judicial investigations that ensure the prosecution of those responsible for corruption, and return the embezzled public funds.
    3. Enact the required laws that contribute to combating corruption in all its forms and demand that the government of Lebanon signs the United Nations Treaty for Combating Corruption.
    4. Work for comprehensive administrative reform that ensures that the right person is assigned to the right position, particularly those whose merit, competence and integrity are recognized. This can be accomplished by enabling the Civil Service Council to fully exercise its prerogatives.
    5. Setting deadlines to treat these problems, because the factor of time is critical. The matter requires just and rapid solutions that use the time factor to their advantage instead of the corrupt using it to theirs.

V. The Missing During the War

9Turning the page on the past and enacting comprehensive national reconciliation requires that all outstanding files of the war be closed. The file of those who disappeared during the war requires a responsible stand to end this abnormal situation and give closure to families who cannot be asked to forgive and forget without respect for their right to know the fate of their missing relatives. Therefore, we ask all the forces and parties that participated in the war to cooperate fully in uncovering the fate of the missing and the locations of mass graves.

VI. Lebanese Citizens in Israel

10Whereas both sides are convinced that the presence of Lebanese citizens in their homeland is better than their presence in enemy territory, a resolution of the question of the Lebanese residing in Israel requires urgent action to enable their return to their country, while taking into consideration all the political, security and living conditions surrounding this issue. On this basis, we issue a call to them to promptly return to their country at the basis of the call by His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah following the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon and the speech delivered by Gen. Michel Aoun during the first session of parliament [last year].

VII. The Security Question

  • A. Political Assassinations
    Any form of political assassination is condemned and rejected because of its violation of basic human rights, the most important foundations of the existence of Lebanon represented by difference and diversity, and the essence of democracy and its practice.
    Hereby, in as much as we condemn the assassination of the martyr prime minister Rafiq Hariri and all other assassinations and assassination attempts that preceded and followed it, it leading to the assassination of MP Gibran Tueni, we emphasize the importance of proceeding forward with the investigation in accordance with officially approved mechanisms to uncover the truth. This is an issue that cannot be subjected to any compromise because it is a prerequisite for achieving justice, punishing criminals, and ending the continuing cycle of murders and bombings. Therefore, it is important that these issues be insulated from attempts at political exploitation, which would undermine them and the essence of justice, which must remain above any political conflicts and disputes.

  • B. Security Reforms
    Reform of the Security Services is an integral part of the broader process of reforming basic State institutions and rebuilding them on sound and firm bases. In view of the sensitive role of the Security Services in maintaining stability and security in the country against any breaches or threats, the process of building these services must be given special attention. Therefore, the government is urged to assume its full responsibilities as follows:
    1. Put in place a comprehensive security plan based on centralized decision-making, clear distinctions between enemy and friend, and specification of security threats, such as terrorism and security loopholes that must be addressed.
    2. Place the Security Services above all political considerations and patronage, so that their full loyalty is to the nation alone.
    3. Assign responsibility of the Security Services to people with recognized competence and integrity.
    4. Ensure that security measures do not conflict with basic liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, at the top of which is freedom of expression and political action, provided they do not threaten security and public order.
    5. Establish a joint Parliamentary-Security Services committee that would oversee and control the reform and building processes of the Security Services.

VIII. Lebanese-Syrian Relations

11The establishment of sound and normal Lebanese-Syrian relations requires a review of past experience to learn necessary lessons and draw conclusions, so as to avoid the same mistakes, flaws, and loopholes. This will pave the way for improving relations on the basis of equality, full and mutual respect for the sovereignty and independence of both states, based on the rejection of a return to any form of foreign tutelage. Therefore, it is required:

  • A. The government must take all necessary and legal measures pertaining to the assertion of the Lebanese identity of the Shibaa Farms enclave and present these to the United Nations, now that the Syrian state has declared it to be fully Lebanese territory.

  • B. Delineate the borders between Lebanon and Syria, while easing tensions that might impede this process, which both Lebanon and Syria have a long-standing need to complete as part of an agreement by the two countries.

  • C. Demand the Syrian State to fully cooperate with the Lebanese State in order to uncover the fate of the Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons, in an atmosphere devoid of provocation, tension and negativity that would hinder a positive resolution of this file.

  • D. Establish diplomatic relations between the two countries and provide an appropriate climate for these relations, transforming them from relations between individuals and groups to relations between institutions in order to secure their permanence and constancy.

IX. Lebanese-Palestinian Relations

12Addressing the Palestinian file requires a comprehensive approach, on the one hand stressing the Palestinians’ respect for the authority of the Lebanese state and compliance with its laws and, on the other hand, reaffirming of solidarity with their cause and the restoration of their rights, in accordance with the following rules:

  • A. The social condition of the Palestinians requires serious efforts to improve their standard of living and provide the basis for dignified human life, in accordance with the requirements of bilateral cooperation and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition, efforts must be made to facilitate their movement inside and outside of Lebanese territory.

  • B. The right of return of the Palestinians is a fundamental and fixed right. The Lebanese people unanimously reject settlement of the Palestinians in Lebanon, which cannot be conceded under any circumstance.

  • C. The relationship between the Lebanese State and the Palestinians must be defined within the framework of one Palestinian institution that is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in Lebanon, in a manner conducive to proper coordination and cooperation.

  • D. The issue of ending the carrying of weapons outside the camps and organizing the security situation inside the camps must be addressed within a framework of serious, responsible and urgent dialogue between the Lebanese government and the Palestinians, leading to the establishment of the State’s authority and laws over all Lebanese territory.

X. Protecting Lebanon and Preserving its Independence and Sovereignty

13The protection of Lebanon and the preservation of its independence and sovereignty are a national public responsibility and duty, guaranteed by international treaties and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly in confronting any threats or dangers that could harm them, irrespective of where these dangers might come from. Therefore, carrying arms is not an objective in itself, but a noble and sacred means that is exercised by any group whose land is occupied, in a manner identical to the methods of political resistance.

14In this context, Hizbullah’s arms must be addressed as part of a comprehensive approach that falls within two parameters:

15The first parameter is reliance on justifications that reflect national consensus and constitute the sources of strength for Lebanon and the Lebanese in terms of preserving these arms.

16The second parameter is to objectively define conditions that would eliminate the reasons and justifications for keeping these weapons. Since Israel occupies the Shibaa Farms, imprisons Lebanese resistance fighters, and threatens Lebanon, the Lebanese people must assume their responsibilities and share the burden of protecting Lebanon, safeguarding its existence and security, and preserving its independence and sovereignty by:

  • A. Liberating the Shibaa Farms from the Israeli occupation.

  • B. Liberating Lebanese prisoners from Israeli jails.

  • C. Protecting Lebanon from Israeli threats through a national dialogue leading to the formulation of a national defense strategy, which the Lebanese agree to and are involved in by assuming its burdens and benefiting from its outcomes.


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