Topic: Caught Between Crises: Addressing the Challenges of Modern Lebanon
Lebanon underwent a terrible civil war from 1975 to the early 90s, where domestic conflicts became a proxy battleground for Palestine, Israel, and Syria. This tumult birthed Hezbollah, a militia-cum-political force that conducts operations in both of Lebanon’s neighbors. Today, Lebanon is inauspiciously located at the confluence of two separate conflicts, Israel-Palestine and Syria. This has resulted in an influx of refugees, numbering in the millions. The proximity of ISIS and the Syrian rebels to Lebanon creates conflict abroad as well, and thus beyond refugees, the Syrian conflict is doubly tied to Lebanon. Consequently, while Lebanon is not explicitly belligerent, the most pressing issues of the LAS touch Lebanon in unique ways. Humanitarian challenges, security conflicts, domestic turmoil, and sovereignty issues all coalesce together to make Lebanon’s situation uniquely challenging. The role of the LAS must be to navigate national sovereignty while addressing both security and humanitarian issues. Provision of aid, establishment of norms for civilians in conflict, negotiating a multi-party peace - all of these concrete actions may be necessary to address the cross-border issues plaguing Lebanon.