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Lebanon

CrisisWatch Lebanon

Deteriorated Situation

Anti-govt protests grew and clashes with security forces intensified as dire economic conditions continued to deteriorate and PM Diab’s announcement of new cabinet failed to appease protesters. Protests swelled mid-Jan as value of Lebanese Lira 13 Jan fell to 2,500 to the dollar in parallel market, 40% drop since Aug 2019, further eroding citizens’ purchasing power and leading private sector to cut salaries and central bank to limit cash withdrawals and transfers outside country. In Beirut, riot police 14 Jan clashed with protesters near central bank HQ, police arrested 57. Protesters next day gathered outside police station demanding demonstrators’ release and clashed with police, who arrested at least 55 more. Protests 18 and 19 Jan escalated in downtown Beirut as security forces attempted to disperse protesters with water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets, leaving several hundred people injured. Diab 21 Jan announced new cabinet backed by Hizbollah and allied parties; parliament still has to give cabinet vote of confidence. Protesters rejected cabinet as part of elite they seek to oust. Lawmakers 27 Jan passed 2020 budget aimed at tackling economic crisis as protesters outside parliament clashed with security forces, at least 27 injured. UK, which classified Hizbollah in its entirety as terrorist organisation in March 2019, 17 Jan expanded asset-freezing measures, previously targeting military wing, to include Hizbollah’s political wing.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

21 Feb 2018
[The Trump administration] is content allowing Israel to take the lead in pushing back against Iranian and Hezbollah influence in Syria. The Washington Times

Robert Malley

President & CEO
9 Feb 2018
The real risk [for Israel and Lebanon] is that of a miscommunication or accident being a trigger of a conflict across their border. The Daily Star

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
2 Jan 2018
[The return of Assad’s forces to the border] has the potential of creating a more united front of resistance between Lebanon and Syria against Israel. Jewish Week

Ofer Zalzberg

Senior Analyst, Arab-Israeli Conflict
26 Nov 2017
Hezbollah thrives on its position of being a state within a state, an alternative provider for all kinds of things [when Lebanon's political institutions are weakened]. The Washington Post

Heiko Wimmen

Project Director, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
13 Nov 2017
Hariri as [Lebanon's] Prime Minister created the impression that coexistence with Hezbollah and by extension with Iran was possible; his departure is designed to erase any doubt. New Zealand Herald

Robert Malley

President & CEO
11 Nov 2017
For months now, [Israel] has been sounding alarm bells about Hezbollah’s and Iran’s growing footprint in Syria, and about the Lebanese capacity to produce precision-guided missiles. Business Insider

Robert Malley

President & CEO

Latest Updates

Keep the Calm in Lebanon

The Israel-Lebanon border has been relatively quiet for the past 13 years. The latest tit-for-tat threatens the balance.

Originally published in The American Prospect

In Lebanon’s Elections, More of the Same is Mostly Good News

Lebanon’s elections yielded few surprises, says Crisis Group’s Lebanon, Syria and Iraq Project Director Heiko Wimmen in this Q&A. Hizbollah is slightly stronger and its main rival weaker. But the polls do represent a return to normalcy.

Trigger List: Crisis Group raises Syria threat level to critical

With the U.S. threatening a retaliatory response to apparent chemical attacks in Syria and escalating tensions between Israel and Iran, Crisis Group has raised the threat of confrontation to the highest possible level in its early-warning platform the Iran-U.S. Trigger List

Lebanon Needs Help to Revive its Waning Welcome to Syrian Refugees

Eight members of International Crisis Group’s Council and Ambassador Council joined a trip to Lebanon alongside Crisis Group staff in November 2017 to examine the consequences of the Syrian war since 2011. In this op-ed and an accompanying video, Crisis Group supporters from the Council reflect on the Syrian refugees they met and Lebanon’s increased fragility as a result of its enormous new burdens.

Lebanon in the Crosshairs

Lebanon is caught between Iran and Saudi Arabia as regional tensions rise following the resignation of Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri on 4 November. In this video from Beirut, Crisis Group's Project Director for Lebanon, Syria and Iraq Heiko Wimmen argues that the resignation alone is unlikely to destabilise Lebanon, but that sanctions by Gulf states might well derail its fragile economy.