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Lebanon

Yearbook 2015

Lebanon. The authorities stated at the beginning of the year that Lebanon could not receive more refugees; visa coercion was introduced and the rules were tightened. Around 1.5 million Syrians had come to the country in four years; Syrians now made up a quarter of the population. By the end of the year, the UN reported that Syrian children made up 41% of children in public schools, while only one fifth of Syrian refugee children attended school at all.

Unrest also continued in connection with the war in neighboring countries. In January, nine people were killed when two perpetrators triggered explosive charges in a residential area in Tripoli dominated by Shiite Muslim Alawites. The al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front took on the blame for the deed. In early November, six people died in a suicide bombing in Arsal near the border with Syria, targeting a group trying to mediate to release captured members of the security forces. On November 12, 43 people were killed and more than 200 injured when two suicide bombers on a motorcycle exploded in a Shiite-dominated area in southern Beirut. It was the bloodiest attack in the country since the civil war ended in 1990. The Islamic State terrorist group (IS) took on the blame.

According to COUNTRYAAH, the country received a first shipment of weapons to strengthen the fight against jihadist warriors and guard the border with Syria. Weapons worth € 2.8 billion, financed by Saudi Arabia, would be delivered from France for four years.

The political process continued to be paralyzed, partly because of opposition between parties that supported rival parties in Syria. Despite over 30 attempts since May 2014, Parliament failed to appoint a new president. On all occasions, the number of members present was too small for the vote to be valid.

One Saudi prince and four other Saudis were arrested in October after what was described as the largest drug seizure to date at Beirut Airport. The prince tried to smuggle cocaine and the amphetamine-like Phenetylline, worth about SEK 2 billion, on board his private jet.

2015 Lebanon

During the UN Security Council resolution negotiations, France had promised to head UNIFIL's multinational enlargement to 15,000 soldiers in southern Lebanon, but was subsequently given cold feet. The country was therefore violently shunned by neoconservative circles in the United States. The United States, however, did not want to join the force itself after being bombed out of Lebanon in 1983. France's concerns were due to the uncertainties in the resolution on disarming Hezbollah. The resolution does not clearly require Hezbollah's disarmament. However, this is a clear requirement from the US and Israel. But France itself had bad experiences from its presence in Lebanon in 1982-83, and did not want to be held accountable for an impossible disarmament that Israel could not even cope with. France first agreed to extend its participation in UNIFIL to 1700 men when it was stated that UNIFIL should not take care of the disarmament of Hezbollah. In turn, Italy promised to provide 3,000 soldiers.

In September, it was revealed in Israeli press that during the last 72 hours of the war, Israel scattered over 1 million cluster bombs in southern Lebanon. It came in the form of 1800 bombs, containing a total of 1.2 million explosives. About half of these explosives did not detonate, causing post-war death and destruction among children and adults in southern Lebanon. At least 25 have been killed by these explosives following the formal ceasefire. The use of cluster bombs was sharply criticized by both the UN and Amnesty International.

A UN study in November found that during the war, Israel used the banned phosphorus bombs. The use of this weapon by this weapon is prohibited internationally as its lack of precision means that the victims are primarily civilians. Both the Lebanese Red Cross and Red Crescent reported during the war on civilian victims of Israel's banned weapons.

On November 21, Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was killed by an attack in Beirut. The country's anti-Syrian parties immediately accused Syria of being behind the attack, and a number of Western countries immediately supported these charges. However, the assailants can be sought elsewhere. Syria did not benefit from the attack. On the contrary. The day before, Syria had established diplomatic relations with Iraq, seeking closer ties with the country on the whole. This came after the US had indicated at the beginning of the month that Syria and Iran should be involved in resolving the conflicts in Iraq. The sharpest opponent of this new Syrian role in the region was Israel, so it could not be ruled out that Israel or its Lebanese agents were behind the attack. The murder also heightened the political chaos in Lebanon.

 

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