The roots of crisis in Northern Lebanon

  • May 7, 2014
The roots of crisis in Northern Lebanon

Gates Cambridge Scholar Raphael Lefevre was one of the main speakers at a major conference in Beirut on the roots of extremism in Northern Lebanon this week organised by the Carnegie Middle East Center.

Gates Cambridge Scholar Raphael Lefevre was one of the main speakers at a major conference in Beirut on the roots of extremism in Northern Lebanon this week organised by the Carnegie Middle East Center and Human Rights Watch.

The basis for the conference, which was attended by Lebanese government ministers, foreign Ambassadors and local and international media, was Raphael’s recent report, The roots of crisis in Northern Lebanon. A senior adviser to the Lebanese Prime Minister has called the report a “major contribution to our understanding of the rise of religious extremism and political violence in Lebanon”.

It looks at how the Syrian conflict is impacting on northern Lebanon, where street violence is rising, sectarianism is at unprecedented levels, and Sunni extremism is flourishing. Raphael says: “This instability threatens to spread to other areas of the country.  Yet, Lebanon’s problems have as much to do with domestic dynamics as with the unrest in Syria.”

It details areas where the government could lessen tensions, such as addressing socio-economic problems, addressing long-standing religious tensions between different neighbourhoods and enhancing security.

The conference, hosted by The Carnegie Middle East Center and Human Rights Watch, focused on these sectarian dynamics and socio-economic challenges in the Bab al Tebbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighborhoods. It also evaluated the Lebanese state’s response to the Tripoli conflict in terms of security provision, protection of civilians and socio-economic relief.

Raphael [2012], who is doing a PhD in Politics and International Studies, was nominated a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center earlier this year.

Picture credit: Tripoli, Lebanon. Wiki Commons and Heretiq.

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