Lebanon breathes a sigh of relief as Syria and its opponents pull back from the brink

 

Beirut

The streets of Beirut are full once again and café’s which were empty last week are buzzing.

Lebanon appears to be breathing a collective sigh of relief now that the US and Russia have reached a deal on Syria’s chemical weapons which postpones the possibility of military intervention, for now at least.

Throughout the region, reactions to the proposal have been mostly positive, with the Arab League hailing the agreement as “a step closer to a political solution” for the conflict.

Yet that is not to say that some in Lebanon believed that the threat of outside force would have pushed a solution.

“Perhaps it is going to be protracted conflict without the international community really making a real fist to end it,” says Dr Imad Salamey, a professor of political science at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Many rebel factions on the ground in Syria, which had hoped US air strikes would tip the conflict in their favour, have condemned the deal, saying it has effectively left President Bashar al-Assad in a more powerful position.

The return to ‘normality’ (if it can be called that) in Lebanon means shelling from Syria has started again; two were injured by rockets falling on the Bekaa valley over the weekend. As the country’s involvement in the conflict next door deepens, Hezbollah fighters openly fight alongside Assad and Lebanese Sunnis fight alongside the opposition, and Lebanon has increasingly felt its tremors. Car bombs have targeted both the Dahiyeh, a Hezbollah stronghold, and northern Tripoli, where islamist and opposition flags now increasingly dot the streets.

Rather than the potential fall out of US intervention, Lebanese politicians have already gone back to bickering over how to form a government - something the country has been without since March. 

Yet the festering conflict continues to take its toll on the Lebanese economy. Banks and businesses closed in recent weeks as the country’s Economic Committees went on strike against the political stagnation as business continues to suffer. The only group of manufacturers who refused to abide were those producing canned food; they are facing a surge in demand due to the presence of more than 730,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanonon alone.

Business owners complain that they cannot plan for the future because they are waiting to see what will happen next door.

Dr Salamey says he fears such instability could be lasting. Without resolution, “the conflict will stretch and eventually the limbo situation in this country will be permanent.”

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: £20000 - £25000 per annum + c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a number ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Sales Consultant - OTE £45,000

£15000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want to work for an exci...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food