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I generally refrain from writing about domestic politics in Lebanon, except when events here reflect wider regional patters. We are passing through such a situation today, when several things are happening at once: decision-making systems have become totally blocked, the citizenry is deeply polarized, angry, and alienated, and foreign lifesavers appear nowhere on the horizon, as life for most citizens becomes increasingly expensive and difficult. The Lebanese governance system has just registered another troubling milestone with the failure of the three-day "national dialogue" gathering that brought together representatives of all major political and sectarian groups. In the political shorthand of contemporary Lebanon, if Iran and Saudi Arabia disagree on a domestic Lebanese issue, that issue is not resolved, and remains hanging.This is a most serious development for Lebanon because in the past decade the country has caught up with many other Arab countries that suffer a combination of derelict and corrupt governance and deteriorating life conditions for millions of increasingly desperate citizens.
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