Federalism: Pros and Cons

WiseCookie

Well-Known Member
Something was mentioned in another thread regarding federalism, so it got me thinking about the pros and cons of such a system in Lebanon. I've been reading more about Greece's situation in the EU, and some pundits have been saying that if Greece emerges from the crisis that the EU should come together closer as an economic union. In other words, if Keserwan becomes a rich state then it will have to help Baalbak if it's underperforming fiscally/economically.

So it'll be in such a situation:

NY Times said:
Link

But the American fiscal union is very expensive for rich states. According to calculations by The Economist, Connecticut paid out 5 percent of its gross domestic product in net fiscal transfers to other states between 1990 and 2009; that is, its tax payments exceeded its receipt of government services by that amount. This is typical for rich states: They pay a disproportionate share of income and payroll taxes, while government services are disproportionately collected in states where people are poor or old or infirm.

Here's a thread started in 2006 that didn't gain much traction but has a lot of useful information.

I personally used to be opposed to such a concept a few years back since I believed it would lead to irreversible partitioning, but it really does seem like the only way for Lebanon to emerge from a semi-failed state to a prosperous one.

Here's a preliminary list:

Pros
  • Every state will be allowed to run its internal affairs the way it likes.
  • Less tension amongst different communities.
  • Successful states will be able to capitalize on their semi-autonomous economy.
  • ???
Cons
  • May lead to partitioning if imposed incorrectly.
  • Would need a constitutional amendment, if not a new constitution.
  • ????
Let's have a constructive debate, and talk about the merits and negatives of such a system especially since it's been coming up in the news lately. Maybe try to analyze it a little more instead of going with the flow of the political leadership. Also, let's keep irrelevant historical topics out of this as well since I'm sure my avatar will tickle some people's instincts. Lets look forward not backward.
 

Impera

Active Member
What do you do with the Christians living outside Beirut and Mount Lebanon?

And Amjad Iskandar, who writes in in the LF's Massira magazine, wrote an article pushing for Federalism and admitting the obvious truth that the Lebanese pre-Taef and Post-Taef were never united.

I think that's one of the few things that all Lebanese Christians can agree on politically.
 

WiseCookie

Well-Known Member
What do you do with the Christians living outside Beirut and Mount Lebanon?

And Amjad Iskandar, who writes in in the LF's Massira magazine, wrote an article pushing for Federalism and admitting the obvious truth that the Lebanese pre-Taef and Post-Taef were never united.

I think that's one of the few things that all Lebanese Christians can agree on politically.

I don't think federalism should be confused with confederalism. There will be basic set of rights enshrined in the constitution, such as right of worship, freedom of speech, etc... States should not be able to enact laws that infringe on the rights of the citizens of the country as a whole.

The problem with this though is that the concept of a constitution and it being the highest legal authority is not completely understood in Lebanon, but that's mostly because of the feudalistic nature of the Lebanese people. You just have to look at the Kataeb. Even though (for argument's sake) they had a democratic election, Sami Gemayel still won.

Anyway, you're right. The Lebanese were never united. Even at their height of agreement in 2005, the Shiites were still left out of the equation because of Hizballah's loyalty to Iran and Syria. I can't help believing that federalism would ease the current tensions and create a stronger union.
 

JB81

Legendary Member
I don't think federalism should be confused with confederalism. There will be basic set of rights enshrined in the constitution, such as right of worship, freedom of speech, etc... States should not be able to enact laws that infringe on the rights of the citizens of the country as a whole.

The problem with this though is that the concept of a constitution and it being the highest legal authority is not completely understood in Lebanon, but that's mostly because of the feudalistic nature of the Lebanese people. You just have to look at the Kataeb. Even though (for argument's sake) they had a democratic election, Sami Gemayel still won.

Anyway, you're right. The Lebanese were never united. Even at their height of agreement in 2005, the Shiites were still left out of the equation because of Hizballah's loyalty to Iran and Syria. I can't help believing that federalism would ease the current tensions and create a stronger union.

You forgot Feb 14 loyalty to Al Saud.

Anyway, federalism will bring more trouble than solution. I'll expand on it when I have time.

The best solution is de-centralization.
 

Robin Hood

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Pros:
* Liberating the regions from Beurut's tyranny.
* Christians feel independent of and get rid of the evil Muslims.

Cons:
* Could lead to de jure or de facto partition.
 

JB81

Legendary Member
Pros:
* Liberating the regions from Beurut's tyranny.
* Christians feel independent of and get rid of the evil Muslims.

Cons:
* Could lead to de jure or de facto partition.

Lol

Pros: after banning alcohol ban in Wali Fakih and Dawla Islamiya , Evil Muslims are more than welcome to spend your money in kouffarland.

Our treasury can't be happier to have your Saudi-Iranian money
 

Robin Hood

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Lol

Pros: after banning alcohol ban in Wali Fakih and Dawla Islamiya , Evil Muslims are more than welcome to spend your money in kouffarland.

Our treasury can't be happier to have your Saudi-Iranian money

Something funny, some of Muslims who drink don't eat pork because it's haram. :rolleyes:
 

JB81

Legendary Member
Something funny, some of Muslims who drink don't eat pork because it's haram. :rolleyes:

So true. Always make fun at my friends when having a beer in one hand while having the other hand picking pepperoni out of a pizza slice because it is haram.

On a serious side, would federalism allow shari3a law in Muslim territories?
 

Robin Hood

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
So true. Always make fun at my friends when having a beer in one hand while having the other hand picking pepperoni out of a pizza slice because it is haram.

On a serious side, would federalism allow shari3a law in Muslim territories?

No unless people want a confederation maybe.
 

JB81

Legendary Member
No unless people want a confederation maybe.

I think before deciding the pros and cons... we first should know how this federalism or what kind of federalism we're looking for... I know there is a thread about Lebanon as a federal country, it is good to know the shape of the new federal state.

If federalism means shari3a law in Fakih and dawla Islamiya territories, this is very con for Christians even if living in their kuffarland.
 

Bandar

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
Geography takes precedence over any other discussion when it comes to federalism.

The main issue with federalism in Lebanon is that while it is easy to make functioning Christian and Shia cantons, there are a lot of kinks that need to be worked out in terms of the Sunni and Druze side of the equation. There is also the question of who will inherit Beirut, or whether Beirut will itself be an autonomous capital where the federal government has its seat of power.

This is one of the maps I made in the previous discussion about this here:

Bxqg3vb.jpg


Some notes:

1. Marjeyoun and Jezzine have referendums regarding the canton they wish to join (with the borders slightly adjusted according to the results).
2. Dahye residents likely will not be happy being a part of the Beirut-Saida canton.
3. The capital exists within a Sunni canton, and this is likely where the national government will have its seat of power (and where the only functioning commercial airport is), this probably will not be acceptable to the other sects.

The main issue with creating a federal system is creating a new constitution for the 4th republic which outlines local vs. national government jurisdiction, as well as guaranteeing the right of movement of all citizens, and the protection of property already owned by minorities in cantons of a different sect (no forceful removal of Shiites from southern Beirut for example).

There is way too much to discuss when it comes to this, but we really did hash out a lot of things in the earlier thread. I believe this system is possible in Lebanon if done peacefully and through consensus.
 

Hameed

Well-Known Member
@ all the Jahbiza of this forum ..... heed my voice ... you think your problem can be resolved with federalism ?

The solution of federalism ... work when a group of people want to be independent of another group of people. The problem ya Aounist that you're facing is not that at all !!! because if it were, the demo of 2 days ago wouldn't be 120 people only.

The problem is a totally different one ... it is of being Ahel Zemmeh or not being ahel zemmeh ... and that spans to more than just a group of Christians they call themselves FPM
 

Nonan

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Geography takes precedence over any other discussion when it comes to federalism.
.
Agreed. But there are a lot of kinks to be addressed with the Geography. You pointed to the Sunni community issue, but there are also sizeable Christian pockets in all the cantons you drew on the map (e.g., Kobeyate / Andaquet / Chadra / Menjez in akkar, Deir le Qamar and countless other villages in the Chouf, 3anjar, etc.), Shiite (e.g., Jbeil, B3abda), Druze (e.g. Hammana, Falougha, etc.)

I think someone mentioned above that Federalism doesn't mean you have the right to treat the citizens of your "state" as second class or forbid them from practicing their religion, etc. (we're not KSA here).

Re. Beirut, you would have to figure out an approach where it is shared (e.g. a la Washington DC), maybe by merging DaHiye to it so it has a sizeable component of each major community (Sunnite, Shiite, Armenian, Maronite, Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholics, Druze, etc.). It will also have shared "borders" with at least two "states" to make sure it is not too "surrounded" by one community.
 

JB81

Legendary Member
@ all the Jahbiza of this forum ..... heed my voice ... you think your problem can be resolved with federalism ?

The solution of federalism ... work when a group of people want to be independent of another group of people. The problem ya Aounist that you're facing is not that at all !!! because if it were, the demo of 2 days ago wouldn't be 120 people only.

The problem is a totally different one ... it is of being Ahel Zemmeh or not being ahel zemmeh ... and that spans to more than just a group of Christians they call themselves FPM

146 not 120 demonstrators min Ba3ed iznak! Gagaist byez3alo minnak!

The problem with Christians that some still live the Othmani tribal leaders aka Franjiyeh / gmayel and other frata feudal lords of Bon/ harb/ Saad and so on.

And than you have new leaders Aoun and to some extent Gaga who swiped off traditional zou3ama.

What is happening and always happened in the past that when a Christian evaluates to a significant leader within the community, the Othmani tribal leaders gangs up together to destroy the newly aspiring Christian leader... this is the case of Aoun today.

Every Christian za3im is trying to break him down so their tribe can continue doing politics.

It is the unfortunate fate of Christians that when having a leader such as Aoun to be destroyed by tribal leaders who pledge alligeance to any occupier Othmani / French/ Syrian to stay on their chair.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
How about naming the problems that federalism is supposed to fix, and analyse whether or not it actually fixes them. For example, and I bring this up in every topic about federalism...

If Christians have a demographic issue, and are worried about being sidelined by other sects, how does federalism fix this?

There are non Christians living in what would be the Christian canton of a federal Lebanon. Eventually, the demographic issue could come up again within the canton. For example, if Christians continue to emigrate, while non Christians choose to have big families. These non Christian families will surely want to be represented in the Christian cantonal government. So you are right back to square one on this issue, unless you implement strict and discriminatory measures to keep the canton Christian.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Geography takes precedence over any other discussion when it comes to federalism.

Not true. There are different types of federalism, and not all of them are based on geography.

Furthermore, your issue about what to do with Beirut is very easy to solve. Don't be greedy and ask for the parts of Beirut that aren't yours to claim in the first place. Beirut is already de facto divided, and it would be very easy for each sect to have their part of Beirut as a capital.
 

Bandar

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
Not true. There are different types of federalism, and not all of them are based on geography.

The federalism we are discussing in Lebanon is obviously the geographic kind.

Furthermore, your issue about what to do with Beirut is very easy to solve. Don't be greedy and ask for the parts of Beirut that aren't yours to claim in the first place. Beirut is already de facto divided, and it would be very easy for each sect to have their part of Beirut as a capital.

The capital would still be the same for everyone. It's a federation not a partition.

All the cantons would have minorities from other sects. This doesn't mean you break the country into dozens of tiny cantons, it means you create a constitution that guarantees their rights. Although it's funny that the focus of your "don't be greedy" statement is towards Beirut, why didn't you say "don't be greedy, create a Shia, Druze, and Sunni mini-state in Mt. Lebanon"?

When you are trying to design a system that would be acceptable to people, and thus be able to implement it peacefully, you have to let go of your dislike towards certain sects and think of what is fair and what can actually work.

It is logical to have a majority Sunni, Beirut-Saida canton with a Shia minority, because this reflects all the other cantons which also have minorities, but create contiguous territories for the majority sect.

It does not make sense to create three mini-states (Sunni Beirut, Shia Beirut, Sunni Saida) which cannot function properly.
 

JB81

Legendary Member
Eh include Ja3Ja3 kamen ma teste7eh min WiseCookie, Ja3ja3 is also looking to build his own family othmani tribe

Allah ata3lo naslo like he did to many families.

Gaga can only look for cash money w Al Saud are kourama...
 
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