Municipal Politics in Lebanon

by Ziad Abu-Rish
published in MER280

The municipal system has been a key pillar of debates on administrative decentralization, economic development and political participation in Lebanon. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, activists sought to stop the demolition of the 1924 Barakat Building on the basis that it was a heritage site. In response to public pressure, the Municipality of Beirut expropriated the building in 2013, and has since overseen a contentious process of transforming the space into a memory museum. International donors have increasingly directed aid flows for Syrian refugees in Lebanon through municipalities instead of the central government.

Mobilizing in Exile

Syrian Associational Life in Turkey and Lebanon

by Killian Clarke , Gözde Güran
published in MER278

The neighborhood of Narlıca sits on the outskirts of the small city of Antakya, Turkey. A spread of low-rise, brick-and-cement buildings separated by unpaved roads, Narlıca was a lightly populated working-class suburb prior to the outbreak of civil war across the border in Syria. Today, with that war dragging into its sixth year, the neighborhood has taken on a new identity as Antakya’s “little Syria.” The population has more than doubled, with Syrian residents now outnumbering Turks; most of the storefront signs are in Arabic; and newly opened schools teach the Syrian curriculum.

Garbage Politics

by Ziad Abu-Rish
published in MER277

In late July 2015, mounds of garbage began piling up across Beirut and the towns of Mount Lebanon to the capital’s east. While not without precedent in poorer neighborhoods, such heaps of rubbish had never appeared in more affluent areas. By mid-August, Lebanese government officials, businesspeople, activists, residents and media outlets were all speaking about a garbage crisis. Some observers took a benign view of the accumulating trash, seeing it as one more symptom of the alleged absence of a state in Lebanon. For those inclined to more sinister interpretations, the crisis was the logical outcome of the purported strain that more than 1 million Syrian refugees have placed on Lebanese infrastructure.

Five Exciting Developments from Across the Middle East in 2015

by Jessica Winegar | published January 6, 2016

Negative stories about the Middle East dominated Western news headlines in 2015. It’s easy for Americans, especially those who listen to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his supporters, to get the impression that the region is just one miserable homogeneous place of violence, terror, religious fanaticism and authoritarianism.

The Lebanon War and the Occupied Territories

by Khalil Nakhleh
published in MER115

Until the war in Lebanon, official Israeli policy toward the Palestinians under its occupation rested on the premise that the PLO was the only obstacle on the road to what Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir called “the fullest advancement of the process that began in Camp David.” [1] The elimination of the PLO, according to this logic, would produce Palestinians willing to take part in an Israeli-defined autonomy. Through the so- called Civil Administration, then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon had started the process of extirpating “PLO influence in the territories.”

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Fawaz, Merchants and Migrants in Nineteenth-Century Beirut

by Carolyn L. Gates
published in MER123

Leila Tarazi Fawaz, Merchants and Migrants in Nineteenth-Century Beirut (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983).

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Israel in Lebanon, 1975-1982

by James A. Reilly
published in MER108

Israel’s invasion of Lebanon on June 6, 1982 brings to an end the phase of Lebanese political history which opened with the 1975-1976 civil war. It is a logical outgrowth of Israel’s policies in Lebanon since 1975. The 1975-1976 war, in turn, marked a culmination of trends which had been developing at least since 1958. [1]

Educational Aftershocks for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

by Sarah E. Parkinson | published September 7, 2014 - 12:57pm

More than 50 percent of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon are 17 or younger. Back home the great majority of them were in school. But youth who try to continue their education in Lebanon face social, economic and bureaucratic obstacles. The cost can be so steep that their parents may opt to keep them at home. There is a lengthy wait list to attend Lebanese public schools, which are soliciting outside donations to pay teachers and other staff for a second shift made up of refugee children.

From the Editors

published in MER110

The massacre at Sabra and Shatila camps was an episode that immediately transcended the brutal war it was part of. The Israeli commission of inquiry seems almost a distraction from the obvious responsibility of the Begin government in this affair. Many of Begin’s critics regard the massacre as an inexcusable error of criminal proportions, but its implications are more ominous than this. It was a piece of a larger campaign, beginning in the south of Lebanon in early June, that killed more than 17,000 people. The carpet bombing of the camps in the south, the artillery pounding Beirut -- all this the Palestinians survived and the world tolerated.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER129

We would like to begin this first issue for 1985 with heartfelt thanks to our readers for your very strong support over the past year. Your unprecedented generosity in response to our fundraising appeals was essential to our work, and we appreciate very much the confidence this expresses for MERIP’s future. In this coming year we will continue to count on your help. The need for a strong, critical perspective on US policy in the region will be more important than ever as the Reagan administration begins its second term. We are grateful to know that you are with us. One innovation we are planning for this year is a special newsletter for those who contribute $50 or more to MERIP’s work. The first issue will appear shortly.