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About Helen Mackreath

Helen Mackreath is a Political Science Masters student at the American University of Beirut. She also works as a researcher on Syrian refugees, based in Beirut, and blogs from

Articles by Helen Mackreath

This week’s front page editor

Adam Ramsay is the Co-Editor of openDemocracyUK

Constitutional conventions: best practice

On Lebanese sovereignty

The issue of what sovereignty means, and how it can be enforced, should not be confined to the defensive sphere alone. Increasing resentment against Syrians in the domestic sphere, and offhand statements about the army versus the law, do not augur well.

Lebanon: a year which promises little but foreboding?

The feeling of being hamstrung by international events both out of their control but with direct consequences, combined with domestic political stalemate and factionalism, is all too familiar. 

Lebanon in turmoil

The environment in Lebanon continues to be highly fractured, with geographical enclaves hosting increasingly entrenched conflicts which are spewing out more private groups threatening to create greater national disunity.

Lebanese pluralism in a limbo of unknowns

Today a large proportion of individuals within Lebanon feel that the instabilities playing out are neither their responsibility nor fight. In contrast to the civil war, there is no incentive to stay.

Lebanon’s worsening strife

Politically, the country is a melting pot of regional and highly localised concerns, playing out along axes of political opportunism, religion and economic necessity, with various religious groups operating as local militias.

Non-state actors in Lebanon

Combined with the warnings of the collapse of state institutions and proliferation of corruption as a result of the absence of the state, the vacuum of sovereign responsibilities is increasing. A crippled economy does not help as more people turn to 'hybrid' state support.

What is happening to civil society in a disunited Lebanon?

Most popular frustration is aimed at the nexus of corruption between political elites, party militias, and the legal system in Lebanon. A lack of confidence in the judicial system is attracting much activism online onto facebook pages and twitter. 

Lebanon: the changing role of sectarianism

Clashes in Sidon demonstrate fragmentation within sects, as Sunni Sheikh Assir’s isolated battle against the Lebanese army has been roundly condemned by the majority of the Sunni population. 

Constraints on the internet in Lebanon

Freedom of speech stakes are far higher in Lebanon than other countries, owing to the tightrope walk along the delicate sectarian balance.

What does the increasing power of Hezbollah mean to the Lebanese state?

Their actions in Al-Qusayr hurl them far closer to the category of regional militant force, as the architects of a new framework of Middle Eastern skirmishes, in which Sunnis and Shiites become the crucial axis of antagonism, rather than nation states.

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