Global Security Watch--Lebanon: A Reference Handbook

By David S. Sorenson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
The Lebanese
Regional Neighborhood

There are few places in the world that have as much instability as does the eastern Mediterranean, and Lebanon is located right in the middle of it. Thus a part of Lebanon’s chronic instability is a function of its neighbors’ quarrels and the influx of population of peoples into Lebanon who carry those quarrels into the country as they arrive.

To Lebanon’s south is Israel, and to its east and north is Syria, two countries that have fought numerous wars and skirmishes. It is likely that more Lebanese than Syrians and Israelis have died in struggles between Israel and Syria, fought on Lebanese soil. Jordan does not border Lebanon, but after the September 1970 uprising of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Jordan, the Hashemite government of Jordan crushed the PLO and many of its leaders and followers migrated to Lebanon. All these countries have, in their own ways, contributed to Lebanon’s chronic instability, as they view Lebanon as tied to their own national interests. This chapter describes Lebanon’s difficult relations with its neighbors and the influence that those neighbors have had on Lebanese politics.

Lebanon is in a rather unique situation relative to its foreign policy. While Lebanon considers itself a sovereign country, it has traditionally been under partial or full control of Syria. The situation was epitomized by the fact that Syria and Lebanon did not recognize each other diplomatically until the summer of 2008, and normally, the Lebanese foreign minister had to depart on international travel from Damascus instead of Beirut, symbolically reinforcing Syria’s powerful influence in Lebanon. Moreover, while many Arab countries proudly emphasize their sovereignty by cutting ties to powers that try too hard to dominate them (Egypt removed Soviet advisors in 1972 when they became

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Global Security Watch--Lebanon: A Reference Handbook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Modern History of Lebanon 7
  • Chapter 2 - The Demographics of Lebanon 49
  • Chapter 3 - Political and Economic Development in Lebanon 69
  • Chapter 4 - Hezbollah in Lebanon 103
  • Chapter 5 - The Lebanese Regional Neighborhood 121
  • Chapter 6 - Lebanon’s Military Forces 135
  • Chapter 7 - The United States and Lebanon 145
  • Epilogue 157
  • Appendix A - Biographies 161
  • Appendix B - Chronology 169
  • Appendix C - Documents 171
  • Appendix D - Presidents and Prime Ministers of Lebanon 187
  • Glossary 191
  • Index 193
  • About the Author 197
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