Lebanon

For much of the last several decades, Lebanon has been wracked by instability and tangled up in the affairs of larger or more powerful neighbours. Its confessional political system, based on power sharing among its eighteen officially recognised ethno-religious groups, is arguably both the cause and the effect of recurrent strife, notably the 1975-1990 civil war. Today the elites who run the system are also implicated in ever-deepening state dysfunction and economic recession. Meanwhile, Lebanon is at risk of spillover from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian war and regional turmoil, due partly to the rise of Hizbollah, the Shiite Islamist movement opposed to Israel and allied with Iran and the Syrian regime, as a political force. The country hosts hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees as well as nearly 1.5 million Syrians. Pending changes that would allow resolution of the outside conflicts, Crisis Group works to keep Lebanon insulated from their flare-ups, to seek durable solutions for refugees and to encourage structural reform that might alleviate the country's internal problems.

CrisisWatch Lebanon

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

Hizbollah and Israel traded heavy cross-border blows that escalated in scope and severity, underscoring risk of expanded conflict; mob violence flared against Syrian refugees. 

Hostilities between Hizbollah and Israel expanded in scope and severity. Lebanon continued to face spectre of all-out war against backdrop of direct confrontation between Israel and Iran, and Israel’s war in Gaza (see Iran, Israel-Palestine and Conflict in Focus). In parallel with Iran’s unprecedented direct attack on Israeli territory 13-14 April, Hizbollah launched rockets against Israeli military in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, citing earlier Israeli attacks on Lebanon rather than solidarity with Iran. In response, Israel struck Hizbollah targets in Baalbek in eastern Lebanon. Hizbollah 15 April claimed explosion that wounded several Israeli soldiers. Israel next day killed Hizbollah’s Ismail Yusaf Baz, allegedly group’s coastal region commander. Hizbollah drone strike 17 April wounded fourteen Israeli military personnel and four civilians – marking largest reported injury toll from single Hizbollah attack since Oct. Israeli drone strike 17 April killed at least three Hizbollah members. Further expanding scope of hostilities, Hizbollah 23 April launched drones at Israeli military base north of Acre city, marking deepest attack in Israel since Oct. Israel next day struck some 40 sites linked to Hizbollah, as Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant claimed military had killed around half of Hizbollah’s brigade-level commanders. Hizbollah 25 April struck Israeli military convoy with anti-tank missiles and artillery, killing civilian. French mediation efforts continued; clashes could escalate further, particularly if Israeli govt responds to public pressure to confront Hizbollah more forcefully or opts to target Hizbollah in full or partial retaliation for Iranian attacks on its territory.

Intimidation and violence flared against Syrian refugees. Syrian men 8 April reportedly abducted and later killed Pascal Sleiman, official of Christian party Lebanese Forces, which called incident “a political assassination” in thinly-veiled allusion to Hizbollah’s potential involvement; in response, Hizbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah accused Lebanese Forces of instigating civil war. After various political leaders linked Sleiman’s murder with presence of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, vigilante groups in parts of capital Beirut, Byblos city and elsewhere reportedly targeted Syrians with intimidation and mob violence. 

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In The News

3 Ян. 2024
Israel and Hezbollah have pursued a new dynamic of tit-for-tat retaliation – launching strikes against each other below the threshold of triggering an all-out war. The New Arab

David Wood

Senior Analyst, Lebanon
30 Авг. 2023
This year's [UNIFIL] mandate renewal discussion comes at an especially tense moment for the peacekeeping force [in Lebanon]. The New Arab

David Wood

Senior Analyst, Lebanon
11 Апр. 2023
Nothing happens in southern Lebanon without Hezbollah’s knowledge. Al Jazeera

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
14 Окт. 2022
Israel and one of its neighbors [Lebanon] - a neighbor that doesn't officially recognize Israel - have come to a constructive solution for a conflict. And that's histor... DW

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon

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Heiko Wimmen

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Senior Analyst, Lebanon
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