Faysal Itani is the senior director of Future Frontiers at the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy, and an adjunct professor of Middle East politics at Georgetown University and George Washington University. He grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, and lives in Washington, D.C. A part of the magazine’s launch team, he formerly served as a deputy editor.
Latest from Faysal Itani
The Hariri Assassination and the Revolution That Never Was
Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution was not a revolution. In the end, the ingredients just weren’t there. But it did change Lebanon forever — and taught those of us who took part a few important lessons about the promise, and the tragedy, of politics.
How Close Did Israel Come to Peace with Syria?
"Diplomatic objectives must fully reflect the desires and priorities of the president. I took for granted Obama’s commitment to comprehensive peace without the benefit of due diligence — a major error on my part."
Even in a Single Family, a Beirut Christmas Can Be Complicated
While some foreigners find it interesting when I mention that I’m from a Sunni Muslim and Orthodox Christian family, the Lebanese almost always react with pity. Most believe that I must be “confused” or that my extended families are mutually hostile — or at least more mutually hostile than they would have otherwise been as Lebanese families. It doesn’t help that I am an “Itani” — bearing the name of a family synonymous with Sunni Islam in Beirut.
The Lebanese had managed to destroy their country in 1975 without Syrian help. Still, the Syrian occupation in Lebanon, a prolonged obscenity in itself, helped to thoroughly corrupt Lebanon’s institutions, public life, public servants, and ultimately all Lebanese, even as it shaped the fate of the country’s politics and factions.