What’s Next For This Young Country?
Part 8: 2013 â€“ FUTURE
By Laura Fawaz, Contributing Reporter
Lebanon, a country that is not even 100 years old yet, has seen its share of devastation. Though its people have always been resilient.
We are now in part eight of this series on Lebanon. And in this time, we found out how Lebanon came to be an independent country in the early part of the 20th century. We also learned of their early French influences, the details of events that led into a 15-year civil war, the Israeli invasions of 1978 and 1982, as well as their eviction by the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah in May 2000. In addition, the Israeli invasion in the summer of 2006, displacing Lebanese families from all over the world. Also, playing a role here is Syria, whose involvement in the beginning was as requested by the Maronite Christians of Lebanon. But since that time, Syria has made a drastic change in support, as they were the ones assisting to make the Israeli eviction in 2000 possible.
Today, they are known to be large supporters of Hezbollah, the resistance formed to keep the peace, stability, and to keep the Israeli occupiers out. Though since, there have still been border tensions on both sides, Israel to the south and Syria to the north. March 2013, these tensions increased when Syria allegedly fired rockets into northern Lebanon. This came after Damascus warned Beirut to stop militants crossing the border to fight Syrian government forces. Then in the following May, at least 10 people were killed in sectarian clashes in the Lebanese city of Tripoli between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government. A similar attack also happened in August 2013 with dozens killed in bomb attacks at two mosques in Tripoli.
These two attacks were the deadliest in Lebanon since the end of the civil war in 1990. Because of this, Lebanese Parliament voted to put off elections that were to be done in June until November 2014 because of security concerns over the conflict in Syria. The clashes continued when an unaccounted number of people were killed in June inside Lebanon between Hezbollah fighters and Syrian anti-government rebels. Following Americaâ€™s unfounded decision, the European Union listed the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in July 2013. This made it illegal for Hezbollah sympathizers within Europe to support the group financially.
Within the next two months, more and more Syrian refugees were taking shelter in Lebanese villages and cities across the country. According to the United Nations refugee agency there were at least 700,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon at this time. Today, there is thought to be one Syrian refugee to every six Lebanese within the country.
Then in November 2013, a double suicide bombing took place outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut, killing at least 22 people. It was one of the worst attacks in Shia suburbs of southern Beirut since the conflict in Syria began. Hezbollah Security General Hassan Nasrallah said the Saudi intelligence services were behind the bombings outside the embassy. After that, Hassan Lakkis, a Senior Hezbollah commander, was shot and killed near Beirut. Though Israel was accused of assassinating him, however Israel denies any involvement.
Today, these types of attacks and government incidents are a daily occurrence. The best way to show what is happening is to really show it, through photos. Thus, I will be traveling to Lebanon this week to take photographs of the before and after destruction within Lebanon. Also there, I will be interviewing Lebanese citizens that have lived in Lebanon their entire life. Stay tuned for that in early May of this year.