Often overlooked in the headlines, Lebanon continues to flirt with renewed civil strife that could be devastating to a region that does not need any more. The continued tug of war over the Lebanese presidency is the latest battle in a political crisis pitting a governing coalition supported by the United States and the international community against an opposition backed by Iran and Syria. Since the pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud stepped down on November 23, 2007, Lebanon has been without a president. Is it possible to resolve the current impasse and avert civil war? What role have Syria and Israel been playing since the 2006 summer war between Israel and Hizballah? How best can the United States secure its interests in seeing democracy survive in Lebanon without provoking renewed conflict?
To help us understand this critical and delicate state, the Saban Center held a special policy forum on “Lebanon: The Forgotten Crisis” with Nadim Shehadi, an Associate Fellow at Chatham House and former director of the Center for Lebanese Studies at Oxford University; David Schenker, a Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and former country director of the Levant in the Office of the US Secretary of Defense; and Bilal Y. Saab, a Senior Research Assistant with the Saban Center.