Friday, August 04, 2006

Lebanon, a Bttleground

Lebanon has the misfortune of being geographically the cross link between Syria and Israel. Both of these have a history of animosity because of Syrian opposition to have normal ties with Israel. Both countries are still technically at war as Israel is still occupying the Golan Heights. In 2005, Syria was forced to leave Lebanon. This must be considered as a humiliation for it since according to its belief it had protected Lebanon from Israel total occupation.

But ironically it was sections of Lebanese society that allowed their country to be under occupation. During its occupation of southern Lebanon Israel formed an alliance with Christian militias under Michel Aoun.

Syria during its presence/occupation of Lebanon formed tight links with Hezbollah.

So both Syria and Israel, even after their departure from Lebanon left the seeds for future troubles. Israel didn’t surrender Shebbaa Farm to Lebanon, pretending it was part of the Golan. Hence it was Syrian, not Lebanese. Syria -during the period it was warned to leave Lebanon - must have worked to keep its influence there. It must have equipped its resistant allies, especially Hezbollah with weapons as it has left in power President Emile Lahoud, who it has put in power against the will of many prominent politicians like late former PM Rafik Al Hariri.

So Lebanon is theoretically an independent country. But at least since 1975, the year of the start of the civil war, it hasn’t enjoyed a single year of political independence free from outside interference, be it political or military.

The warring parts in the Middle East use Lebanon as a battleground. When they leave it they leave political and military mines behind them. It’s no wonder if it continues to be under such a state. When the peace in the whole region is established, then Lebanon can be an independent state in its own rights.

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