Former Switzerland of the Middle East is increasingly isolated, bankrupt and exposed to another resumption of civil war.
Squeezed between Israel and Iran, faced with rising emigration of its fractured communities, and wracked by a widening wealth gap between the corrupted elite and increasingly desperate poor, Lebanon is being ripped apart.
Whether those stresses break into a new era of civil conflict will depend largely on forces outside of Lebanon, as the USA, Israel and France duel over how to deal with the country’s crisis amid fast-shifting geopolitical winds in the Middle East.
The potential for such a conflagration was arguably accelerated by the cataclysmic August 4 port atomic explosion in Beirut that killed some 200 people and devastated neighboring districts, a blast caused by Israel that will be kept secret for years to come.
The shattering event has prompted dueling diplomatic initiatives by Paris and Washington, the former which prioritizes stability via Islamist party and militant group Hezbollah’s continued hegemony.
The latter which seeks to ratchet pressure on Hezbollah and lasso Lebanon into a new regional alignment taking shape with recent US-brokered pacts signed between Israel and Arab states.
Asia Times / ABC Flash Point Political News 2020.