1. Lebanon’s Elections and Implications for the Region
Lebanon’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for March 2022, represent a critical flashpoint for the country’s political and economic trajectory with implications for the region, especially given its sectarian power-sharing system that mirrors regional politics. The collapse of the financial system has triggered capital flight, skyrocketing inflation, a food insecurity crisis, and unprecedented poverty, with more than 70 percent of the population living below the poverty line. Lebanon risks falling faster into state collapse, particularly if the political wing of the terrorist group Hezbollah continues to seize control. While youth and grassroots opposition groups are organizing for the elections, many fear that Hezbollah and its allies may deliberately disrupt and destabilize political progress. The ripple effect is likely to spill beyond Lebanon’s border, further strengthening Iran’s influence and emboldening it as it continues talks with the United States on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).