The Daily Star (Beirut) notes that the latest report on religious freedom from the US State Department says Lebanon's political system – which distributes power according to religious affiliation – "may be viewed as inherently discriminatory". In fact, there's no "may" about it; the system is discriminatory though it does help to keep the various factions from each other's throats.
Reading the Daily Star's story, you might imagine this is a new position adopted by the Obama administration, but actually it is not. Previous State Department reports have made exactly the same point every year since 2006, but at least it's good to see the issue discussed.
The Daily Star quotes Paul Salem, of the Carnegie Middle East Institute in Beirut: “It’s a common opinion in Lebanon that the confessional system has inherent problems and that by compartmentalising people there is no way of having proper representation. At the same time this is a system that is trying to balance a delicate situation.”
Posted by Brian Whitaker, 28 October 2009.