The eruption of conflict between the Syrian regime and the armed opposition exacerbated the political and sectarian divisions within the Lebanese government, causing it to sever relations with Damascus and dissociate itself from the war. Nevertheless, the Lebanese government eventually was forced to coordinate with the Assad regime in order to manage the refugee crisis and other spillover effects of the conflict. Beirut’s dealings with Damascus reflect the overarching aim of mitigating the impact of the war on the relations between the Lebanese Sunni and Shiite communities.
In part due to a broader move from an emergency to development-based approach and due to pressure from central Lebanese government authorities, the humanitarian effort has now been coupled, since mid-2014, with one that takes into greater account the needs of local host communities alongside those of refugees. This traces the way in which tensions between hosts and refugees have become increasingly central to the development and execution of aid projects aimed at community-level support. The author argues that this has important consequences that may actually incentivize the tensions it aims to alleviate.
New to the Oman Library’s shelves is a distinct collection, donated by Sallie Lewis on behalf of her late husband, Ambassador Samuel Lewis. This new addition brings a unique set of stories to the library, with many works containing signatures and personal notes from well known figures who worked closely with the ambassador during his career in the foreign service.
Prior to Monday, Lebanon had, in fact, been without a president for two years — but this fact could not be discerned on the streets of Beirut. President or no, Lebanon has had no effective governance for decades.
Michel Aoun achieved his long-desired objective of becoming president. He comes into office with two unrealistic objectives: reclaiming the Maronite political prestige and power lost in 1989 and empowering the state.
This essay explores the relationship between Syrian refugees and local Lebanese. In particular, it discusses the dominance of the discourse of ‘hospitality’ in the international media depiction of this relationship and in the humanitarian response informed by it. As this essay will show, these tendencies have resulted in the ‘hospitality’ discourse informing and reinforcing the international response to the Syrian refugee influx into and presence in Lebanon.
In this week's Monday Briefing, MEI experts Paul Salem and Charles Lister provide analysis on recent and upcoming events including the expected election of Michel Aoun as president of Lebanon and the operation to expel ISIS from Mosul.