Posted by Joshua on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
Syria needs to make a clear statement about its Lebanon policy, explaining on what terms it will normalize relations. Bilal Saab is a balanced analyst, but in this short essay, he expresses the anxiety shared by many Middle Easterners that Syria is not prepared to recognize Lebanese independence. He advocates a strong but reformed US role in Lebanon, in large part to ward off Syrian influence.
Shaping Lebanon’s Future
Bilal Y. Saab, Senior Research Assistant, Saban Center
Lebanon is mired in a long running and seemingly intractable political crisis. The country has been without a president since November 2007, a reflection of deep-rooted problems in Lebanese politics. Three years after the withdrawal of Syrian troops, Lebanon has become less, not more stable. The United States therefore needs to craft a Lebanon policy that can help ease the country out of its constitutional gridlock. Such a policy would seek to rebuild state capacity and shield Lebanon from negative foreign interventions, respect its internal balance of power, push for the convening of the international tribunal on the murder of Rafiq Hariri and other Lebanese politicians, and continue sponsoring moves towards Israeli-Palestinian peace. (read – Shaping Lebanon’s Future)