Reviving the Left in Postwar Lebanon:

A Political History of Al-Nahar’s Cultural Supplement Al-Mulhaq

On March 14, 1992, the Lebanese newspaper al-Nahar resumed the publication of its cultural supplement al-Mulhaq after an eighteen-year hiatus. The Civil War had ended when Lebanese deputies approved the agreement negotiated in the Saudi city of Taif in 1989, and following an operation launched by the Syrian military on October 13, 1990 to topple General Michel Aoun, the last political figure to reject the newly-formed government.

The two events marked the beginning of the nineties, a period of reconstruction and relative security in Lebanon, punctuated by a few security breaches and Israeli attacks, particularly in 1993 and 1996. The relative quiet on the security came along the placement of Lebanon under Syrian tutelage. The Syrian army retained its presence throughout Lebanese territories until 2005, when it withdrew following the demonstrations that erupted upon the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

This study charts the political history of al-Mulhaq, the cultural supplement of al-Nahar newspaper. As it revisits al-Mulhaq’s transformations from 1992 to 2008, when writer and novelist Elias Khoury was editor-in-chief, the study examines a history that goes beyond al-Mulhaq itself and chronicles the obstacles and contradictions that accompanied the attempts to revive the Lebanese Left in the aftermath of the Civil War.