Archive for the ‘Lebanon’ Category

Three-Way Hostage Exchange

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

On October 23, 2013 Syrian authorities have agreed to release ten women from prison. According to Reuters, these ten women are the first to be released out of the 126 detained. This hostage situation exchange is international and involves the following countries: Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Qatar.

The women’s release was from the demand of the kidnappers from northern Syria (the rebel group). These Syrians rebels have with them nine Shia Lebanese hostages, whom they assume to be part of the Hezbollah (a terrorist group in Lebanon that supports the Assad regime), since 2012. The relatives of those hostages have with them two Turkish pilots. They’ve kidnapped the Turkish pilots because Turkey has opened up their borders to the Syrian’s refugees.  This deadlock was broken Turkey and Qatar negotiated the releases for the hostages.

It is said from Aljazeera that such a successful negotiation is rare, and the goal for this negotiation is to convince the rebel groups in Syria to join a peace conference that is going to be held in November, that is why the Syrian authorities allowed the women to be released. They try to appeal to the rebels by releasing the women detained in prison. However, before that the rebels have refused to attend to the conference unless Assad was removed from presidency.


1)   By doing this do you think that after the 126 women are released, will the rebels change their minds about attending the peace conference in November?

2)   What does Qatar have to do with all of this?

3)   Will this have an effect on the Syrian Civil war, and how will this effect it if it does?




The Guardian



In Lebanon, Pope Benedict XVI calls for peace

Sunday, September 16th, 2012


Hezbollah in Syria

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Hezbollah, the Iranian and Syrian backed Shi’a group in Lebanon is purportedly engaged in the fighting in Syria. The Lebanese paper, the Daily Star quotes defector and rebel commander Riad al-Asaad on this issue.

Meanwhile, commentator Moshe Arens at Haaretz (ambiguously) calls for hitting Bashar al-Assad “where it hurts” – Hezbollah – who he sees as the “soft spot” of the regime.


The interview with Riad al-Asaad also touches on foreign support, the possibility of a buffer zone, and his vision for Syria.

Lebanon: Proxy Battleground for Foreign Powers

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Al-Quds al-Arabi, June 12, 2012

This cartoon is running in today’s Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.  The caption at top right reads: “Lebanon and foreign acts of interference.”  Lebanon has a long history serving as a proxy battleground for contending foreign powers supporting contending local interests.  These outside powers  include Syria, Israel, the Palestinians, Iran, and the United States.

There are signs that the troubles in neighboring Syria are beginning to spill over into Lebanon.

More on Lebanon

Iran Worried About Losing Influence in Middle East

Friday, May 25th, 2012

With Iran’s Syrian ally, the Assad regime, in danger of falling, Iran is spending liberally in Lebanon in an effort to shore up its regional influence.

Neil MacFarquhar, “Iran is Seeking Lebanon Stake as Syria Totters,” New York Times, May 24, 2012

Lebanon Continues to Be Drawn Into Syria’s Struggle

Monday, May 21st, 2012

“Divisions over Syria are the defining issue in Lebanese politics. Everybody knows how real the danger is that the country would be torn apart if those differences are allowed to erupt freely onto the streets.”

BBC’s Jim Muir

More from the BBC

More on Lebanon


Hizbullah on the Ropes

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Thomas Friedman, writing from Beirut, says that Hizbullah’s shine is rapidly wearing off the more its ally, the Syrian regime, continues killing its own people.

Thanks to former NMH Faculty member El Johnson, herself living in Beirut, for calling our attention to this piece:

Thomas Friedman, “Words of the Prophets,” New York Times Op-Ed piece, April 29, 2012

More on Lebanon


Growing Fears That Syria’s Civil Strife is Widening into Regional Strife

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Yesterday, shots were fired across two borders shared with Syria: those of Lebanon and Turkey.

“With the populations in neighboring countries divided between those who support the opposition in Syria and those who hope that embattled President Bashar al-Assad will remain in power, some fear that the conflict could expand across the region and widen political, ethnic and religious fault lines.”

Alice Fordham and Karen DeYoung, “Syrian Violence Spills into Lebanon and Turkey,” Washington Post, April 9, 2012

UPDATE — May 13, 2012 — Sunni vs. Alawite clashes in Tripoli point toward increasing spillover effect from the turmoil in Syria. Story at BBC



Rebellion in Syria Poses Problems for Hezbollah in Lebanon

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Anne Barnard, “Loyalty to Syrian President Could Isolate Hezbollah,” New York Times, April 6, 2012


Arab Spring Interactive Timeline

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

As I was reading in preparation for class this week, I came across this really cool timeline of the Arab Spring.  For people who have a few extra minutes and want more information on the revolutions and aftermath in the Middle East, this is a really helpful website.  What I like is that it gives both quick snippets about the events, but also provides a link to an article on what happened.  Its put out by the Guardian, so all the links are to its own content, but it’s still helpful.