The fate of the border town Arsal mirrors Lebanon’s many policy failures. The government applies heavy-handed security at the expense of basic services and fair economic opportunities. It should change its policies to become more flexible, accountable and supportive of Syrian refugees – and receive more international help in return.
02 May 2016
Heightened fears of major escalation of fighting in largest Palestinian refugee camp Aïn el-Helweh following assassination of senior Fatah security official in car bomb attack in Saida 12 April. ...
Lebanon is surviving internal and regional strains remarkably well, but this resilience has become an excuse for tolerating political dysfunction. If the Lebanese political class does not take immediate steps like holding long-overdue elections, fighting corruption and promoting the rule of law, its complacency will only make an eventual fall harder and costlier.
As the Syrian conflict increasingly implicates and spills over into Lebanon, a priority for its government and international partners must be to tackle the refugee crisis, lest it ignite domestic conflict that a weak state and volatile region can ill afford.
Syria’s civil war is spilling beyond its borders and threatening Lebanon’s stability. More than ever, it is crucial that Lebanon’s leaders address the fundamental shortfalls of their governing structure, which exacerbate factionalism and leave the country vulnerable to the chaos next door.
Although attention naturally is focused on possible ripple effects on Lebanon from Syria’s conflict, it would be wrong to ignore the unresolved legacy of the battle that shook the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp five years ago. The risk of renewed flare-up, already significant, is now compounded by the regional crisis.
An intra-Lebanese deal on how to respond to forthcoming indictments by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is necessary to avoid a breakdown of the country’s precarious balance of power, even as the STL pursues its work.
The crisis that has gripped Lebanon since the murder of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri five years ago has taken a new and dangerous turn.
The Israeli-Lebanese border is exceptionally calm and uniquely dangerous, both for the same reason: fear that a new round of hostilities would be far more violent and could spill over regionally.
To succeed, Prime Minister Saad Hariri faces the challenge of moving Lebanon from the logic of sectarian mobilisation and confrontation in which it has been embroiled. Much will depend on others but his role as head of a national unity government makes him central.
International Crisis Group © 2016 |