The Cartoon Picayune

Notes and Bibliography for The Man Who Built Beirut

Andy Warner's The Man Who Built Beirut is a long, complicated story. Here are the companion notes and book/article sources to provide some additional context and information.


Page 4, Panel 4: A vital aspect of the Taif Accord not mentioned here is the disarmament of all militias, save one. Hezbollah was allowed to retain its arms to continue to fight Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon. They were widely expected to disarm following Israeli withdrawal in 2000, but refused to do so.

Page 5, Panel 5: While Solidere is technically a private company, it was granted the power of eminent domain by the Lebanese government, making it an odd hybrid of public-private.

Page 5, Panel 6: In some cases property compensation was worth as little as 15% of market value. The “Stop Solidere” image is from the St. Georges Hotel campaign, which began in 2004.

Page 6, Panels 3-5 (above): The main bone of contention was a plan, backed by Syria, to extend Lahoud’s constitutionally mandated single six-year term. Although the previous president, Elias Hrawi had done the same thing, Lahoud was Hariri’s political enemy, and Hariri objected. His opposition to Syrian rule in Lebanon has been vastly overblown in many media accounts.

Page 7: Panels 4-7: These bombings, all in Christian neighborhoods were generally taken to be attempts to stoke sectarian tensions in a time of crisis. Their perpetrators remain unknown.

Page 9, Panel 1: Saad Hariri’s ascension to Prime Minister took place in 2009. Fouad Siniora had held the position from 2005 to 2009, heading the first government after the Syrian withdrawal.

Page 9, Panel 3: The shift from suspicion of Syria to accusation of Hezbollah was sudden and based on Captain Wissam Eid’s analysis of the cell phone networks active at the time of Hariri’s assassination. Captain Eid (as detailed on page 10, panel 12) was himself killed on January 25th, 2008.

Page 10, Panels 1-12: Many of these politicians and journalists were vocally anti-Syrian, but by no means all of them. George Hawi had a complex and changing relationship with Damascus, Elias Murr was staunchly pro-Assad, and Francois Elias Hajj was a supporter of Michel Aoun’s currently pro-Syrian Free Patriotic Movement.

Page 10: Panel 7: Bound by narrative considerations, I gave the July War much less space in this story than it deserved. It is as much responsible for the political and social climate of Lebanon today as Hariri’s assassination was.

Page 11: Panel 3 (above): The crisis was brought about by the government attempt to shut down Hezbollah’s communications network. The ensuing fighting was heavy, resulting in 66 deaths. The Doha agreement guaranteed Hezbollah veto-wielding power, and cemented their dominance in the Lebanese political sphere.

Page 11: Panel 5: I was back in Beirut to work as a guest editor on the excellent Lebanese comics magazine, Samandal. They’re well worth a look.

Page 13, Panels 1-6: This dialogue is a combination of a reconstructed conversation and an email exchange with Fadi. It is not verbatim.

Page 15, Panel 4 (below, right): (L to R) Walid Jumblatt, Samir Geagea, Amin Gemayel, Nabih Berri, Michel Aoun


Blanford, Nicholas. Killing Mr. Lebanon. I.B. Taurus, 2006.
Blanford, Nicholas. “Behind Lebanon’s New Political Crisis.” Time Magazine. 13 January, 2011.
Fisk, Robert. “Who killed Mr Lebanon?: The hunt for Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri's assassins.” The Independent. 11 January, 2011.
Fisk, Robert. “Lebanon in limbo: a nation haunted by the murder of Rafiq Hariri.” The Independent. 14 January, 2011.
Fisk, Robert. "How Lebanon can't escape the shadow of Hariri's murder.” The Independent. 12 November, 2010.
Fisk, Robert. “The Arab awakening began not in Tunisia this year, but in Lebanon in 2005.” The Independent. 15 April, 2011.
Gambill, Gary C. "Lebanon’s Constitution and the Current Political Crisis." Mideast Monitor. 11 January, 2011
Hirst, David. Beware of Small States: Lebanon, Battleground of the Middle East. Nation Books, 2010.