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On 15 May, amid a continuing economic meltdown, Lebanese voters chose a new parliament. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert David Wood parses the results and assesses the implications for efforts to resolve the country’s deepening crisis.
Originally published in New Lines Institute
Aleppo was devastated by bombing and shelling during the Syrian war. It remains unsafe, with residents subject to shakedowns by the regime’s security forces and various militias. Damascus and its outside backers should curb this predation as a crucial first step toward the city’s recovery.
Little has changed in the calculations of the main actors in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite the dramatic upsurge in violence almost a year ago. To prevent a reprise, outside powers should push for interim steps as they revisit the core assumptions of their diplomacy.
After suffering grievously under ISIS, and during the battles to defeat it, Raqqa is being rebuilt. The calm is tenuous, however. The U.S. and partners should work toward long-term stability in Syria’s north east, through investment and talks about sustainable governance and security arrangements.
Lebanon is suffering economic meltdown while its politicians dither. Reform – and fiscal relief – is unlikely before 2022 elections. While pushing for timely polls, international partners should send humanitarian assistance to ease the public’s pain, keep key infrastructure running and avert security breakdowns.
The latest escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict brought important shifts in the status quo, underscoring the necessity of a political settlement. A peace based on equal respect for both peoples’ rights will take time, however. Steps to lower the temperature are urgent in the interim.
As it tries to pull out of its economic tailspin, Lebanon badly needs a functional cabinet able to make reforms. Such a government must have broad support, including from Hizbollah. The party’s domestic and external foes should accordingly stop attempting to curtail its role.
Israel recycles the same heavy-handed response to what it sees as Palestinian provocation.
There is total despair and lack of any political horizon on the Palestinian front. Israelis have become accustomed to continuing the status quo with no price to pay.
We’ve seen significant tension in Jerusalem, which hasn’t died down since the last line of conflict. It only makes sense for Jordan to try and intervene in some way to quell tensions.
It is in Hezbollah’s interest to have at least the outward appearance of a functioning political system [in Lebanon] where everyone is involved, including the Sunnis.
Jailbreaks and prison riots were a central component of IS resurgence in Iraq and are a serious threat in Syria today.
The CrisisWatch Digest Lebanon offers a monthly one-page snapshot of conflict-related country trends in a clear, accessible format, using a map of the region to pinpoint developments.
Turkey is increasingly relying on airpower in its fight against the PKK. New parties have been drawn into the conflict as it spreads to new theatres in Iraq and Syria, which, for now at least, complicates potential efforts to settle things down.
On 3 February, U.S. commandos raided a house in Syria’s Idlib province, killing Abdullah Qardash, head of the Islamic State’s core group in the Levant. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Jerome Drevon and Dareen Khalifa explore the implications of the ISIS leader’s demise.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood talks to Crisis Group’s Turkey expert, Nigar Göksel, about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent trip to Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Turkey’s involvement in conflicts in Syria, Libya and the Caucasus, and its wider foreign relations.