الأحد، سبتمبر 06، 2015

Is it safe to travel to Lebanon

Lebanese land and territories:

Historically Lebanon existed only in the Bible, “come from Lebanon, my bride, come from Lebanon…” says Song of Solomon 4:8. Lebanon is mentioned more than 70 times in the Old Testament. “Well watered are the trees of the Lord, the cedars of Lebanon, which he planted,” says the psalmist in Psalm 104:16.
The apostle Matthew writes that "Jesus went from that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, "have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon."......""then Jesus said to her in reply, 'O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.'" (Matt.15:21, 29). From Jesus visit we can know that, there is Lebanon but there is no “Lebanese People”… Actually the geographic area descripted in the Bible is starting from the Lebanese Cedars in the north (today called Bcharre) till Tyre and Qana to the south.  And people who have been there are Canaanite. Why and how … we will have to study and discuss and analyze all Lebanese wares to may understand how there is Lebanon history without Lebanese people. This is a real country always grown back, with a particular beauty, both in the land and in the people.

Based on scientific research methodology, there is the historical Mount of Lebanon (Bible story), and the “Greater Lebanon” on 1920 to finish with the Republic of Lebanon (independence on 22 November 1943). So when we are talking about Lebanon, we mean the Lebanese Republic, where currency used is the Lebanese Pound LBP, it is a territory of 10,452 square kilometers. And it is important to notice that Lebanese people are Canaanite descendant who have been occupied by Egyptian Empire, Assyrian Empire, Persian, Hellenistic,  Roman, Armenian, Sassanid, Byzantic, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, Seljuk, Mamluk, Crusader, Ottoman to get the independency from France and be occupied by Israel in the South (1978 – 2000). That is why the recent Lebanese people and Lebanese culture is a real particular Mosaic. The best place to read easily this mosaic is the commemorative stelae of Nahr el-Kalb where a group of over 20 inscriptions carved into the limestone rocks around the estuary of the Nahr el-Kalb (Dog River) in Lebanon, just north of Beirut, this site has been said to summarize all of Lebanon’s history (1500 BC – 2000 AD) in one place.

The Lebanese republic

On 26 November 1941, General Catroux announced that Lebanon would become independent under the authority of the Free French government. Elections were held in 1943, a new Lebanese government unilaterally abolished the French mandate. French reacted by imprisoning the new government, to release them on 22 November 1943, that’s marking the official Lebanese independency day.

A Lebanese unwritten National Pact required by western countries hidden hands on 1943 that president will be a Maronite Christian, its speaker of the parliament to be a Shiite Muslim, its prime minister be Sunni Muslim, and the deputy speaker of parliament and the deputy prime minister be Greek Orthodox … that make Lebanon history marked by a short period of political stability, to start shaking on 1958 ( 5000 US Marines dispatched to Beirut on July, supporting “Christian” political power against “Muslim”). Increasing sectarian tensions lead to PLO armed campaign in Lebanon helping “Muslim” against “Christian”, to finish with the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990). 

In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon and occupied Beirut, multinational armed forces of American, French and Italian deployed in Beirut, joined in 1983 by a British troops, to be withdrawn in the spring of 1984. On 1989, a multinational decision issued a peace plan, the Lebanese Parliament agreed to the Taif Agreement creating a new Lebanese confessionalisation formula, mainly related on the political power division. A ceasefire was established on 13 November 1990, early morning, after 16 years of war, resulting a massive loss of human life and property. The Taif Agreement never been really implemented in full and Lebanon continues to be divided along sectarian lines, and that make Lebanon a country always shaking. In 2000, Israeli withdrawal from the southern Lebanon, that offer more stability in the country. On 14 February 2005, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri was assassinated in a car bomb explosion, that divided Lebanese people again in 2 alliances, the March 14 alliance accused Syria of the attack, while the March 8 alliance claimed the Israeli Mossad was behind the assassination followed by a series of assassinations resulted the death of Lebanese political leaders and journalists and military officers. The 2006 Lebanon war, 1191 Lebanese were killed by Israeli attacks, majority civilian women and children. During 33 days of conflict, Beirut southern suburb was heavily damaged by Israeli airstrikes, and the Hezbollah killed 160 Israelis soldiers, conflict officially ended by the UNSC resolution 1701.

Between 2006 and 2008, Lebanese make a world record, the longest political protesting strike; 18 months by groups opposed to the pro-western Prime Minister demanded the creation of a national united government.

The Lebanese security landscape:

Lebanon has the most diverse sectarian and cultural complex diversity in the Middle-East. USA, Saudi Arabia, France, Syria, UK, Qatar, Turkey … are all supporting Lebanese sovereignty, civil peace and rule of law. Reasons why, they aloe themselves, so freely and publicly, to engage in Lebanese politics, meet politicians and religious leaders, make deals, negotiate, threaten, support one group over the other … they even hold meetings in their own countries to discuss and agree on how should Lebanon be governed in the coming phase. Every country has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the Lebanese internal affairs, come to Beirut to discuss with the Lebanese politician and religious leaders what they want from head of political parties to individual parliamentarians, so much for sovereignty. Most of the countries have their links in Lebanon, putting pressure on local and national decisions and actions to suit their agendas.

This is how the Lebanese civil war (1975- 1990) had been evident since 1960’s (specifics acts between different Lebanese populations sections). Although the civil war was directly triggered by an incident between Palestinians and their Lebanese supporters (left political side), and the Phalanges Party (extreme right) in Beirut, the war rapidly evolved into clash between Lebanese sectarians groups, an offshoot of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and on bigger scale, a Cold-War – era rivalry between the two universal camps. Peace and stability in Lebanon always established and reformed a state based on sectarian power sharing, headed by a major regional force such as a huge military force presence (Syrian 1990 – 2005) or billions of USD distribution (Saoudian 2005-2015). This contributed to the heightening of sectarian tensions to unprecedented levels in Lebanon and the region.

On the individual level, more people in urban areas consider theft and other property-related crime threats to be serious (IBID statistics and some international NGO reports). In general, main reason for insecurity and other problems in Lebanon, except political conflict is related to poverty. Unemployment is the major factor. A visible link between socio-economic factors and crimes dominate this field. International institutions leading research in this domain explain main reasons for security problems in Lebanon as inefficient state security (22%), sectarian discrimination (21%), easy availability of drugs (21%), easy veasibility of small arms (20%), and political disputes (17%).


Insecurity in Lebanon is always influenced by longer-term grievances and last minutes events. That can help us to understand why there is serious incidences with foreigners in Lebanon, including the civil war period. In fact, security problems are always control but there is a political decision to don’t solve any of it for considered cautiously indications and circumstances. The only one condition to solve this problem in Lebanon is that local government and real political actors are making profit from the internal conflict and want to keep in act. That reality is always hidden under sectarian political identities, media, contributing to people perception of a given challenge to the security in Lebanon and the region.

This is why, my personal opinion on security in Lebanon is to don’t look if a Lebanese policeman or soldier is fully armed in the capital downtown, but look well at political leaders games, and never believe in medias who are always integrated in eco-political conflict.