Why Lebanon Is Fractured By The Conflicts In The Middle East

Lebanon is one of the Middle East's most diverse nations, but its surrounded by turmoil on all sides. So is Lebanon's stability in jeopardy?

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Lebanon is in the throes of political turmoil. The Lebanese Civil War spanned 1975-1990 and the country has yet to find political stability since. The majority-Sunni country has been embroiled with conflicts in the surrounding region, most recently the execution of a Shia cleric at the hands of Saudi Arabia. Hezbollah, a Shia group many countries consider a terrorist organization, is one of the major political parties in Lebanon. Hezbollah condemned Saudi Arabia's actions. The group is staunchly anti-Israel, fighting against the country in the 1982 Lebanon War. In the years since, Hezbollah has become one of the largest forces in Lebanese politics, including 12 seats in the Lebanese parliament.

On the other hand, there's a sizable Sunni contingent in Lebanon, many of whom suspect Iran is trying to seize control of the country. Altogether, Lebanon's seven major political groups, some of whom are Christian, have failed to form a stable government. On top of this, Lebanon has seen a mass influx of refugees in recent years, with over one million people coming from Syria alone. Given the complex conflicts in the region and political infighting within its government, it appears the situation in Lebanon will stay as is for the foreseeable future.

Learn More:
Lebanon profile - Timeline (bbc.com)
"1516-1918 - Lebanon part of the Ottoman Empire."

Lebanon awaits winner in regional war: Shias or Sunnis? Iran, Saudi Arabia or Isis? (theguardian.com)
"A doctor specialised in geriatrics tells me he has more and more patients presenting with conditions stemming from anxiety."

Lebanese Sunnis fighting 'holy war' in Syria (aljazeera.com)
"Abu Huraira is haunted by memories of shells falling from the sky, ripping to pieces people trying to bury their loved ones in a Syrian graveyard."

MIDDLE EAST: Syria and Lebanon (cfr.org)
"It dominates Lebanon's foreign policy and has effectively occupied large sections of its smaller neighbor for nearly 30 years."

5 Things to Know About Lebanon's Government (blogs.wsj.com)
"Lebanon's convoluted system of governance has taken center stage this week, as public service demonstrations swell on the streets of downtown Beirut. "