Lebanon: Whose Country Is It Anyways?

Two decades ago Beirut featured on every news bulletin. The plight of hostages in particular absorbed western statesmen. Then a huge suicide bomb changed the policy of a superpower. Now another bomb has put the country centre stage again, focusing attention on problems abandoned in the early eighties.

The World Today Updated 15 October 2020 Published 1 April 2005 5 minute READ

Nadim Shehadi

Former Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme

In the aftermath of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, Lebanon is again at the centre of attention. The international community is backing the UN Security Council resolution calling for Syria to withdraw from the country it has controlled for over twenty years. This has also brought France and the United States together despite all their differences over Iraq.

The last time this coalition happened over Lebanon was in 1983 when both countries were part of a multinational force there following the Israeli invasion. The object then, as now, was to get Syria out and restore Lebanese sovereignty.

Why should it work now if it has not worked before? The long history of western intervention in Lebanon suggests that it can create more problems than it solves.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.