Lebanese officials are always calling the crisis du jour “existential,” yet Lebanon manages to endure. But the Syrian refugee crisis just might be existential. Lebanon’s interior minister said recently that Syrian nationals now constitute 29 percent-30 percent of Lebanon’s population. Imagine the refugee influx if Damascus and Homs implode! Since 17 years is the global average of displacement, Lebanon is rightly concerned about the refugees and the continuing burden on infrastructure, potential militarization and threat to the sectarian balance.
The Syrian refugee crisis is nearing a tipping point, beyond which no near-term solutions are possible. On this website, many of us have discussed policy options to stem the Syrian crisis and get to the negotiating table. In the meantime, we have a crisis that can’t wait for diplomacy or military action: the lost generation of uneducated young refugees, and the host communities struggling to bear their weight.
With much of the Middle East in free fall, ISIS on the upswing, and some Arab countries rapidly becoming failed states, there is a surprising country that is resolutely and valiantly refusing this fate – Lebanon.
At last November’s ATFL board meeting, the board decided to work on three major challenges to Lebanon and the US-Lebanon relationship: support for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and security services, broadening Lebanon’s capacity to cope with the enormous numbers of refugees from Syria, and protecting vulnerable religious communities in the Middle East.
This new interactive website give us the opportunity to provide details of ATFL’s program which highlight the many challenges we are taking on in order to enhance US - Lebanon relati...