Lebanon was not only a founding member of the United Nations, the Lebanese diplomat Charles Malik, a student of Heidegger, was one of the formative personalities of the San Francisco Conference and author of essential parts of the UN Charter. As co-author and rapporteur before the UN Human Rights Commission, he wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights together with Eleanor Roosevelt. Lebanon was also one of the seven founding members of the Arab League in May 1945. Since then, Lebanese foreign policy has been shaped on the one hand by the conflicts in the Middle East region, on the other hand the country maintains close ties to the West.
Membership in international organizations:
- Arab League (founding member),
- The United Nations (UN) (founding member)
- and UN agencies
- GAFTA (The Greater Arab Free Trade Area)
- EU Association Agreement (in force since 04.2006).
After the dispatch of a United Nations (UN) mission called the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on the basis of UN Resolutions 428 and 426 in March 1978 did not lead to pacification of Lebanon, it finally succeeded under Arab mediation to end the 16-year civil war and initiate more stable political development in Lebanon. The Ta’if Agreement, which came about through the mediation of the Arab League in 1989 and with significant Syrian participation, explicitly mentioned the special relationship between Lebanon and Syria and legitimized the Syrian troop presence. The 1991 “Treaty on Fraternity”Cooperation and coordination” also ensured Syria far-reaching influence on Lebanon’s foreign, defense and security policy. This should change significantly after the assassination of Hariri and the associated withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Syrian influence on the Shiite population enabled Iran to use Lebanon to build an anti-Israel movement, Hezbollah. Iran’s transnational religious ties make Iran one of the most important actors in Lebanon alongside the USA. In addition, Iran and Saudi Arabia, which acts as the protective power of the Lebanese Sunnis, competes for political influence. It is particularly noticeable that, in addition to the official foreign policy of the Lebanese state, the various denominations each maintain their own foreign policy contacts, which often dominate state policy in a crisis region. Official Lebanon is neutral with regard to the Syria conflict, while Hezbollah and other Lebanese factions are heavily involved militarily.
According to physicscat, the power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia threatens Lebanon’s political system, which has been fragile since the civil war between 1975 and 1990. Now Lebanon is once again threatened with a massive escalation. For Iran, Lebanon is one of the most important outposts in the region. With Hezbollah, Tehran controls a militarily strong unit that is heavily involved in Syria. While the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmen sought to distinguish himself in the ideological war against Iran through the escalation in Lebanon. To do this, he is increasing the pressure on the Lebanese government and will try to make a list of demands on the Lebanese government that should ultimately lead to the isolation of Hezbollah. It is assumed,
Lebanon has signed up to almost all of the disarmament treaties, with the exception of the Anti-Personnel Mine Convention and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Seabed. In 2015, the country also joined the International Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Lebanon has also signed up to numerous international human rights treaties.
Lebanon in the wake of its neighbors
The country’s institutional weakness causes its neighbors to interfere in the country’s internal affairs, especially since this weakness has regional implications, with Syria, Israel and other states intervening militarily and politically in Lebanon several times. As early as 1976, a few months after the fighting broke out, Syrian troops intervened directly for the first time by violently ending the siege of the Christian militias by the PLO and its allies. Syria had to prevent the PLO from gaining superiority in Lebanon at all costs, because this could have provided the Israelis with an excuse to invade Lebanon, which could have weakened Syria strategically in the Middle East conflict. Freedom of action for the PLO in Lebanon could also have escalated the conflict on the Syrian-Israeli border. However, after the Camp David peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1979, the Syrian strategy changed. Because from now on Syria needed every ally in the fight for the Golan Heights. For example, the then President Assad (senior) pursued the policy of involving the Palestinian combat troops who fired Katyushas from Lebanon into northern Israel – events that the Lebanese state could not have prevented. Israel responded to the Palestinians’ actions by bombing the south. The sympathy for the Palestinians gradually disappeared from the suffering population. In 1978 and later in 1982, the Israelis invaded Lebanon and occupied the south of the country.
The Israeli invasion and its aftermath 1982-2000
In the second phase of the war, i.e. from 1982, mainly proxy wars were waged in Lebanon, which continued even after the civil war between Iran and Syria on the one hand and Israel on the other had been officially resolved. The Israelis conquered Beirut in 1982 and expelled the Palestinian leadership and large parts of their militia from Lebanon entirely. Israeli troops occupied southern Lebanon. At the beginning of 1983 the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) was launched. Under the name “National Guards”, the soldiers trained in Israel were to be subordinated to a committee that was supposed to administer southern Lebanon, the south was in fact separated from the rest of Lebanon. Access roads have been closed and permits have been introduced. Meanwhile, Hezbollah organized the fight against the Israeli occupation. In 2000, the Israelis withdrew their troops from Lebanon. Hezbollah and many Lebanese interpreted this as a victory of the resistance, but Lebanon takes the position that the high valley, which was occupied by the Israelis in 1967, was the Shabaa farms, has not yet been cleared. Israel, on the other hand, like the UN, regards this area at the foot of the Golan Heights as Syrian territory and only wants to vacate it after a peace agreement with Damascus. The conflict over the Shabaa farms culminated in an open war between Hezbollah and the Israelis in 2006, from which Hezbollah emerged stronger.