News / Middle East

UN Security Council Fears for Lebanon's Stability

UNHCR's Representative in Lebanon Ninette Kelley sits with Syrian refugee children inside a makeshift room during her visit to the refugees on the occasion of the World Refugee Day, in Alman town, in the Shouf area in Mount Lebanon, Lebanon, June 20, 2013
UNHCR's Representative in Lebanon Ninette Kelley sits with Syrian refugee children inside a makeshift room during her visit to the refugees on the occasion of the World Refugee Day, in Alman town, in the Shouf area in Mount Lebanon, Lebanon, June 20, 2013
Margaret Besheer
The U.N. Security Council expressed deepening concern Wednesday that Lebanon’s stability could be weakened by the growing impact of the Syrian crisis on its smaller neighbor.

The 15-nation Security Council issued a statement urging Lebanon to recommit to its policy of dissociation regarding the Syrian conflict, as it copes with a mounting refugee crisis, cross-border fire, domestic sectarian tensions, and the direct participation of at least one Lebanese group in the Syria fighting.

Speaking to reporters, French Ambassador Gérard Araud said Lebanon is threatened to be engulfed by the Syrian crisis and that recommitting to a policy of dissociation is the only way for Lebanon to avoid being dragged into that conflict.

“I think it is nearly a miracle that this country has succeeded to resist to the incredible pressures and tensions which are stemming from the Syrian crisis," said Araud. "For more than two years now, the Lebanese have avoided the worst. But the situation is worsening every day.”

Growing issues in political vacuum

Lebanon currently has no government. Prime Minister Najib Mikati quit in March and the caretaker prime minister, Tammam Salam, has yet to form a government. Political tensions among the many religious factions are growing while the economy is contracting.

The Security Council expressed concern about recent violence in two major Lebanese cities and a car bomb explosion this week in Beirut’s southern suburb.

Adding to this, Hezbollah, the militant Shi'ite group, has openly said its fighters are helping President Bashar al-Assad’s army battle rebels in Syria.

Lebanon, which suffered its own civil war from 1974 to 1990, is now hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees of any country. The United Nations says nearly 600,000 are officially registered, but many more are not. The Lebanese government estimates the refugee number at slightly more than one million - a huge burden on a country of less than four million people and a territory only about 10,000 square kilometers.

Plea for international support

But despite the impact of the refugees, Lebanese Ambassador Nawaf Salam said the country will not close its borders.

“Let me stress three things: one, Lebanon will not close its borders; Lebanon will not turn back any refugee; Lebanon will continue to provide assistance to all Syrian refugees,” said Salam.

Unlike Syria’s other neighbors who are hosting refugees, Lebanon does not have formal camps for them. The Syrians have been absorbed into existing communities, which are now overwhelmed.

Ambassador Salam said Lebanon cannot cope on its own with the burden of the refugee crisis and he appealed for international support.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Counties Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 11, 2013 9:38 AM
This is a country that should be looking out for help, now it is helping Syria cope with its crisis. Odd! But Lebanon cannot say it is not already in the war in Syria if its citizens are taking part there. Can someone please explain why Lebanon keeps begging Hezbollah instead of instructing it on what to do? Is Hezbollah bigger than Lebanon? Is Hezbollah stronger than Lebanon? Does Hezbollah provide its own jobs and finances? Why is Hezbollah called part of Lebanon?

I do not understand what the UN peace keeping force is doing out there, but if Hezbollah is so strong for any army to confront, let no one cry out again when next they engage Israel as in the 2006 face off. Hezbollah must be disarmed at all cost if anyone wants peace in Lebanon. The Arabs and Muslim world cannot station them as a counter force aimed at Israel and pretend they do not know what they are doing. At a time like this when there is no Israel to fight, they must lay their hands on something to do - just to keep busy. The UN should decide to put a stop to Hezbollah's existence by forcing Lebanon to disband it, or go in by force to help out. That's the only way to curb their meddlesome menace in the region for stability in Lebanon.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs