Almost nine months after Lebanon has elected its Parliament, outgoing Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri has managed to form a new cabinet over which he will continue to preside, despite the fact that he has lost almost a third of his supporters among Beirut’s Legislators.
-Jonathan Hessen, host.
-Amir Oren, analyst.
-Prof. Hillel Frisch, Senior Researcher Begin Sadat Center.
-Dr. Nir Boms – Research fellow, Moshe Dayan center at Tel Aviv University.
The Dilemma of Sponsorship, from Southern Lebanon to Daraa and Quneitra
Israel may soon face a dilemma. The “arrangement” with Russia as to the future of Syria may stave-off an Iranian presence but will pose an existential danger to the groups of rebels near the border – groups which have worked closely with the IDF to prevent direct friction with hostile elements on the line of contact. It is vital that the solutions to this challenge demonstrate to future partners that Israel does not turn its back on those who have assisted it facing a common threat.
Colonel (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman and Dr. Nir Boms
Defense Minister Lieberman’s latest meeting with his Russian counterpart Shoygu and the Prime Minister’s latest conversation with President Putin have turned an additional spotlight to the issue of the “Arrangement” addressing the withdrawal of foreign forces – Iranian and otherwise – out of Syria, including out of the region of southern Syria and near Israel’s border. As is known, the southern Syrian region has in recent years been characterized as a “strip of influence” where the IDF has been active mainly on the humanitarian level and in coordination with rebel groups on the other side of the border. Alongside the security and strategic considerations guiding Israel toward the anticipated regularization (of the Assad regime’s presence in the southern-Syrian area), it is important to also consider the ethical dimension and Israel’s long-term interest of not appearing to forsake those who have relied on its aid in recent years.
Lebanon is facing yet another significant event in its turbulent political history, with parliamentary elections one month away. Both domestic and external forces actively seek to influence results in their favor.
To further discuss Lebanon’s challenging future, I’m joined here in the studio by;
1. Lt. Col. Res. Reuven Ben Shalom – Cross-cultural analyst and columnist for the Jerusalem Post
2. Dr. Nir Boms – Research fellow, Moshe Dayan center at Tel Aviv University
3. Prof. Efraim Inbar; President of the Jerusalem Institute for strategic studies
The Making of Lebanese Foreign Policy: Understanding the 2006 Hezbollah–Israeli War by Henrietta Wilkins(London: Routledge, 2013), 180 pagesReviewed by Nir Boms for the Israeli Journal of Foreign Affairs
In August 2013, seven years after the end of the Second Lebanon War, air raid sirens were again sounded in northern Israel. Four missiles fired from Lebanese territory struck residential areas. This time, it was not Hizbullah that was behind the attacks, but the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an al-Qa’ida-linked group that took “credit” for similar missile strikes on Israel in 2009 and 2011. Lebanese President Michel Sleiman condemned the incident as a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and Lebanon’s sovereignty. Hizbullah did not comment. Israel retaliated and launched an attack in Na’ameh, targeting a base of a Palestinian militant group. This incident can be seen as a microcosm of the Lebanese reality in which a president can only complain about the violation of national sovereignty by militias and terror groups that operate on his territory but are beyond his control. These recent events tie in with the volume under review.
Henrietta Wilkins’ book, an adaptation of her PhD thesis at Durham University, seeks to explain Lebanon’s behavior in the international arena during the 2006 war between Hizbullah and Israel and, in so doing, to highlight the limitation of systemic theories in explaining foreign policy. On the one hand, this book is about Lebanon with a focus on the 2006 war and its ramifications for Lebanon’s foreign policy. On the other hand, it is also a treatise on International Relations (IR) theory and, even more so, about the limitation of systematic IR theories that often attempt to synthesize (and simplify) foreign policy principles but, at the same time, fail the “deduction” test. Continue reading “The Making of Lebanese Foreign Policy”