Lebanon. The war in Syria characterized Lebanon, in which existing contradictions deepened and contributed to the political crisis and regular fighting. The refugee disaster in the region also continued to put enormous strain on the small country.
After almost eleven months of negotiations, Tamam Salam succeeded in February in forming a unifying government, an assignment he has been given since the representative resigned due to internal fragmentation. In the new government, the ministerial posts were divided equally between three groups: a neutral middle bloc and the country’s two dominant political alliances, the Sunni Muslim and Western-friendly March 14 movement, and the Shiite and Hizbullah-dominated March 8 movement. The contradictions between the two blocs had been exacerbated by the crisis in Syria, where the Shi’a Muslims supported the regime and the Sunnis opposed to it. Of the 24 ministers, one was a woman.
That the unifying government did not mean that the stalemate in politics was lifted became apparent when President Michel Suleiman’s six-year term expired in May. Parliament had failed to appoint a replacement, and despite repeated attempts during the year, the number of members was never enough to get a candidate elected. It was mainly the March 8 movement that boycotted the votes. Without the president, the already postponed parliamentary elections could not be held as planned. Instead, in November, Parliament decided to extend its own term of office to 2017. Members referred to the difficult security situation in the country.
According to Countryaah.com, Lebanon population in 2020 is estimated at 6,825,456. The war in Syria continued to spill over in the form of assaults and regular clashes inside Lebanon. A total of dozens of lives were required in suicide attacks, mainly carried out by Sunni extremists and aimed at Hizbullah targets. In March, some 30 people died in fighting between Shia and Sunni Muslims in Tripoli, and about the same number died in new attacks in October. In July, more than 30 people were killed in clashes between Hizbullah and jihadists at Arsal near the Syrian border.
Arsal also saw the most serious incident to date since the war in Syria broke out in 2011. Members of the Syrian Islamist groups Nusrafront and Islamic State crossed the border in August and took parts of the city since one of their leaders was arrested in Lebanon. Struggles between the rebels and the army raged for days. Around 120 people were killed, both combatants and civilians. Nearly 30 government soldiers were taken hostage by the Islamists and were still missing by the end of the year.
IDF massacre in Qana
The Israeli Air Force conducted a massacre of civilians in Qana City on Sunday night, July 30. 10 years earlier, the Israeli army carried out another massacre in the same city when Israel attacked a UN camp, killing 106 Palestinian women and children who have sought refuge there. Initial reports from the July 30 massacre spoke of over 60 people killed, similar to the two families with a total of 63 members who had sought refuge in the building, Israel bombed. It turned out in a few days according to. Human Rights Watch that 22 had survived. 28 killed were immediately excavated from the ruins – of which 16 were children. The remaining 13 mentions – when HRW visited the city – remained buried under the rubble.
The July 30 massacre triggered condemnation in most of the world. The English, French, Spanish and Swedish governments condemned the Israeli massacre and, together with the EU’s foreign coordinator, Javier Solana, called for immediate ceasefire. Throughout the Arab world, the massacre was strongly condemned – including by the US’s close allies, Jordan and Egypt. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon on the situation and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on that occasion:We must condemn this action in the strongest possible way. I am deeply concerned that my previous appeals for the cessation of fighting have not been followed, with the result that innocent lives continue to be taken and innocents continue to suffer. I therefore reiterate my request for a ceasefire. Action is needed so that more children, women and men do not die of a conflict over which they have no control. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez stated that the massacre is an expression of Israeli state terrorism and fascism. Venezuela has since severed its diplomatic relations with Israel. The Lebanese government declared US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice undesirable in the country, which she should have visited on July 30 during her visit to the region. The United States government declared: “Israel has the right to protect itself”. Israel lamented the massacre, and then sought to legitimize it with an allegation that Qana was a Hezbollah abode and that the civilian population had been ordered by Israel to leave the city. On the same day, however, the UN announced that the humanitarian organizations were unable to send relief and evacuation convoys into southern Lebanon due to a lack of security guarantees from Israel. Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller failed to criticize Israel for the massacre and merely expressed dismay at the “meaningless loss of human life”. At the same time, Møller failed to demand immediate ceasefire in the fighting. However, the Danish Foreign Minister acknowledged that Israel’s war against Lebanon does not weaken Hisbollah, but on the contrary strengthens the organization.