In the past two years a new challenge has risen on the northern front. Should Israel go to war with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Army would fight on the Shi’ite terror organization’s side, Maariv, the sister publication of The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli security officials as saying on Friday.Sponsored Ads
According to the officials, unlike Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, a future war would feature the Lebanese Armed Forces on Hezbollah’s side.
“The Gulf states’ cutting off aid to their Lebanese allies …”
“The financial crisis is palpable and widespread, so that the stinking piles of garbage and wandering bands of desperate Syrian refugees in Beirut may be harbingers of a deeper malady.”
“The country is poised, in a way familiar to the Lebanese, between tense calm and a potential conflagration.”
Punitive expulsions of Lebanese expatriates from the Gulf, which is suffering its own economic problems from the collapse in oil prices, have left Lebanon reeling from the loss of remittances. Travel warnings from the Gulf governments have also damaged Lebanon’s tourism industry.
Other sectors of the Lebanese economy long supported by Gulf financing [(now that financing have been cut)], like media outlets, have been hard-hit, too. The financial crisis is palpable and widespread, so that the stinking piles of garbage and wandering bands of desperate Syrian refugees in Beirut may be harbingers of a deeper malady.
The country is poised, in a way familiar to the Lebanese, between tense calm and a potential conflagration. But the pressures are rapidly mounting, and outside actors will have a decisive role in determining whether the country can avoid being sucked into the inferno raging around it.
It looks like Lebanon could be in serious trouble due to the Gulf states cutting off financing. With garbage piling up, Lebanese are looking to get out.
Families Flee Garbage-Filled Lebanon for Syria
Lebanon’s inability to dispose of its trash has become so severe that some families have decided to move to war-torn Syria.
“We’re going next week. In Syria, there’s a possibility I might die. Here, we’ll definitely die,” Fayyad Ayyash told AFP.
Ayyash tells the outlet he will take his wife and their four young daughters across the border. Their current house looks directly over the Naameh landfill, rendering the property uninhabitable due to the intense smell of garbage. They decided to leave when the government reopened the landfill in March. The smells have prevented his daughters from properly eating and sleeping.
“It’s always worse at night than during the day. The whole area is swarming with the same smell and the same sickness,” he continued.
Lebanon’s Banking System on the Verge of Collapse – ASHARQ AL-AWSAT
Beirut- Economic experts in Lebanon warned of the Lebanese banking system collapsing, after the implementation of the U.S. congressional legislation in 2015.
The edict prohibits dealing with the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and employs the effective shutdown of bank accounts belonging to 91 people and all institutions affiliated to the group.
Meanwhile Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salemeh, announced that all national banks will commit to implementing the U.S. decision, other bankers are in the process of saving no efforts on downsizing the aftermath so that it is restricted to the party and its affiliates.
‘Nobody wants to stay in Lebanon. It’s a miserable life’ | World news | The Guardian
These are Lebanese families, not Syrians, but they are also now braving the high seas in the thousands in a phenomenon that local officials predict will only grow this year.
Twenty-five years after the end of Lebanon’s civil war and the mass migration it sparked to the west, Latin America and Africa, Lebanon’s youth are fleeing once again. Their movement is now fuelled by endemic corruption, political dysfunction and rising unemployment, inequality and poverty.
A facade of stability has so far spared this tiny Levantine nation with 18 official sects the upheaval that has destroyed other countries in the Middle East and redrawn the region’s borders.
The massive influx threatens to upset Lebanon’s fragile demographic balance between Shi’tes, Sunnis, Druze and Christians, and comes as the country, which fought its only bloody civil war from 1975-1990, struggles to contain mounting violence seen as linked to the conflict next door.
Earlier this week, Lebanon’s foreign minister said that the crisis was “threatening the existence of Lebanon.” This month, the Lebanese parliament gave a newly formed cabinet a vote of confidence, ending almost a year of political deadlock.
A major challenge for the new government will be the mounting cost of the refugee crisis, which has strained public infrastructure as people fleeing violence in Syria seek housing, food, and healthcare at a time of economic slowdown in Lebanon.
U.S. officials believe members of Hezbollah, the militant group backed by Iran, are smuggling advanced guided-missile systems into Lebanon from Syria piece by piece to evade a secretive Israeli air campaign designed to stop them.
The moves illustrate how both Hezbollah and Israel are using Syria’s civil war as cover for what increasingly is seen as a complex and high-stakes race to prepare for another potential conflict—their own—in ways that could alter the region’s military balance.
Some components of a powerful antiship missile system have already been moved to Lebanon, according to previously undisclosed intelligence, while other systems that could target Israeli aircraft, ships and bases are being stored in expanded weapons depots under Hezbollah control in Syria, say current and former U.S. officials.
The fragmentation of the Syrian state is rapidly spilling over the country’s borders. Lebanon, in particular, is facing the prospect of unprecedented state disintegration, and of the unravelling of its system of uneasy sectarian coexistence. This is by far Lebanon’s deepest crisis since the end of the 15-year civil war that ran from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s.
In Iraq, the Syrian spillover is being manifested primarily in almost-daily suicide bombs and car bombs that killed more than 1,000 people in September alone. But Iraqi domestic politics are not driven by events in Syria the way matters in Lebanon have been.
The war in Syria continues to spill over into Lebanon. The Lebanese government has been unable to form a government since April.
The Syrian war has caused 2 million people to flee into neighboring countries and exacerbated regional sectarian divides.
The spillover from the fragmentation of the Syrian state is causing “Lebanon’s deepest crisis since the end of the 15-year civil war that ran from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s,” Hussein Ibish wrote in The National newspaper based in the UAE.
“The irony is that Syria’s transition into a Lebanese-like reality may destroy the ability of Lebanon to maintain its own uneasy equilibrium,” he said.
Israel is being advised to take legal, and possibly even military action in response to Lebanon’s issuing of an offshore energy exploration license that encroaches on Israel’s territorial waters.
Early last month, Lebanon issued licenses in five blocks of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). One of those licenses expanded the territory into Israel’s EEZ, with Lebanon announcing that the area had a high potential for natural gas discovery.
Globes reports that international law experts are telling Israel that it must respond – either in court or through military force – or risk losing some of its maritime territory.
“This is no longer targeted assassinations of political and militant figures with clear political ends. It’s actually targeting the civilian population,” said Imad Salamey, an associate professor of political science at Lebanese American University. “We are seeing the Iraqization of Lebanon, a spillover from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. This is massive, a potentially dark era, and God knows how it can be limited.”
With at least some Hezbollah forces tied down in the fighting in Syria, and the organization experiencing political blowback in Lebanon for its support of the Assad regime, the US may be concerned that Israeli leaders believe the cost of an Iran strike — especially in terms of rocket strikes on Israeli cities from across the border — has dropped significantly, according to the report.
In July, Netanyahu told NBC’s “Face the Nation” that Iran was getting “closer and closer to the bomb,” and that “they’re edging up to the red line.”
Netanyahu said, “They haven’t crossed it yet. They’re also building faster centrifuges that would enable them to jump the line, so to speak, at a much faster rate — that is, within a few weeks.”
“I won’t wait until it’s too late,” Netanyahu vowed at the time.
Hezbollah and Lebanese security officials’ fears have become reality during the past two weeks. The explosion that targeted the heart of Hezbollah’s most secure neighborhood and the bomb ambush of one of the party’s convoys along Chatoura Road leading to the Syrian border on July 16 embodied what had until recently been mere conjecture: the start of an open war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, with the aim of punishing the party for its involvement in the battle against the Syrian opposition in Qusair. Behind the scenes, it seems Hezbollah is hinting at Saudi Arabian involvement in these attacks, specifically accusing the director-general of Saudi intelligence, Bandar bin Sultan, who Hezbollah considers responsible for funding and conducting these attacks.