[Suleiman] proposed developing the Taif Agreement [note: see here] to move Lebanon toward a civil state. The president did not talk about amending the Taif Agreement, but about developing it. The term “civil state” has become a slogan of historic proportions in light of the Arab revolutions that have been betrayed by religious movements. The latter failed miserably in Egypt, while in Syria they have become synonymous with war, fire and the other face of dictatorship.The civil state may constitute a safety net for Arab societies, which have entered a phase of turmoil that may end in a democratic pluralistic system that resembles Lebanon’s, as the president liked to remind.
This fall, the U.S. pledged $8.7 million in assistance to the Lebanese army during a meeting between President Barack Obama and Mr. Sleiman, said Lebanese officials present. Mr. Sleiman scoffed at the offer, said the officials, saying it wouldn’t be enough to help Lebanon secure its border with Syria against jihadists flocking to fight in the Syrian war.