This page links only to Crisis Group publications on Syria, Lebanon and Israel/Palestine, as researched and written by our Middle East and North Africa Program. For publications about Eastern Mediterranean energy, maritime boundaries, Turkey-Greece tensions and the Cyprus problem, please see our Eastern Mediterranean Rivalries page.
Clashes on 14 October over a judicial investigation into the 2020 Beirut port blast evoked the sectarian divisions of Lebanon’s civil war and threatened what's left of the rule of law. Hizbollah must allow the investigation to proceed or risk further weakening of the state.
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.
Lebanon’s reeling economy badly needs outside aid. Yet the political class, which largely created the problems, is resisting necessary change. The European Union should keep limiting its assistance to humanitarian relief until Lebanese politicians make reforms that benefit all citizens, not just the privileged few.
A cluster of coronavirus cases indicates that community transmission is occurring in the Gaza Strip. Israel should relax its blockade to permit entry of medical equipment and exit of seriously ill patients. Donors should respond quickly to requests for aid.
An uprising of unprecedented scope has rocked Lebanon as the country’s economy tumbles deeper into recession. Poverty and unemployment could lead to violent unrest. Donors should put together an emergency package but condition further aid upon reforms to tackle corruption, a major grievance driving protest.
With the Syrian regime’s offensive in Idlib paused, the time is now for a deal sparing the rebellion’s last stronghold the full wrath of reconquest. The parties should pursue an improved ceasefire including the regime, Russia, Turkey and the Islamist militants entrenched in the province.
For a large part of the population [in Lebanon], electricity will become a luxury. Driving your car will become a luxury, too. Transportation will become a luxury.
Conceptually, Hamas put the Palestinians back on the radar and Jerusalem at the center of their issues. The [Israeli] government has realized that Palestinians are uniting; that the fragmentation isn’t as effective as they would like it to be; that they empathize with each other’s struggles, regardless of whether they are in the West Bank, Jerusalem or Gaza
Putting the lifeline of three million Syrians up for negotiations every six to 12 months, is an unsustainable situation. And Syrian civilians end up paying the price.
Dispossession is central to the Palestinian struggle, and Jerusalem is a microcosm of that.
Any pursuit toward the [Israel-Palestine] peace process will not be accepted by the majority of Palestinians if it’s being done on behalf of a small cluster of people that they do not see as being representative.
Netanyahu was very eloquent. He didn’t actively seek war, he was cautious. As for Bennett, we don’t yet know. Could he drag Israel into new wars?
Read the full alert here: Violence Threatens Fraying Rule of Law in Lebanon.
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.
Could the seizure of Afghanistan by the Taliban just before the twentieth anniversary of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks be a turning point for jihadist militancy worldwide? (Online Event, 28th September 2021)
Originally published in The New York Times
A new Israeli government is set to replace long-serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As Crisis Group expert Mairav Zonszein explains, however, not much but antipathy for the ex-premier holds the prospective cabinet together. It may well struggle to survive.