Promoting peace in Lebanon amidst regional instability

What is the impact on Lebanon of deteriorating regional stability, in particular Syria and the wider Arab Spring? How can the Lebanese put their own needs first - and how can international partners support them?

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Peacebuilding NGO Conciliation Resources is offering analysis and expert interview opportunities to members of the press about priorities to secure peace in Lebanon. It will present findings from its Accord publication, Positive Peace for Lebanon, to audiences in Washington, DC and New York from 11-14 December.

Overview:

Repeated outbreaks of violence since the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1989 show that a different approach is needed to build a more positive and lasting peace – one that all Lebanese benefit from.

Today, crisis in neighbouring Syria has again exposed Lebanon's vulnerability to external stresses. Regional phenomena of sectarian division, religious extremism and non-state armed actors all interface in Lebanon, compounded by international and regional tensions with Iran, and continuing volatility in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

However, the enduring view of Lebanon as a victim of its regional circumstances has undermined efforts to strengthen its internal resilience. It is the Lebanese people who are responsible for shaping a peaceful future, and who should be both supported and held accountable for progress.

Accord 24 – Positive Peace for Lebanon:

Conciliation Resources' most recent Accord publication – 'Positive Peace for Lebanon' - reviews peacebuilding in Lebanon within the current context, examining its effectiveness and identifying opportunities and priorities for progress. It focuses on:

  • Reconciliation of a divided society including displaced and marginalised communities
  • Reform of a political system that embeds sectarian divisions and elite interests
  • Resilience to safeguard domestic priorities against regional hegemony and transnational dynamics

The publication includes more than thirty articles and interviews from diverse perspectives and disciplines. Together they show that the Lebanese are not just passive victims of a violent fate determined beyond their country's borders: many are eager for change and are actively exploring opportunities to achieve it.

How can Lebanon's peaceful future be secured?

Conflict prevention and peacebuilding should be at the centre of international policy for Lebanon. Lebanon is not a post-conflict society. International attention has often overlooked the underlying causes of Lebanon's vulnerability to insecurity, internal and external.

Instead, a focus on the particular dynamics within Lebanon is needed:

  • Engage all actors - isolating non-state armed groups that also represent marginalised sections of community can exacerbate tensions
  • Political space for dialogue needs to be protected from external influence: sectarian divisions do not simply stem from Syrian interference
  • Roots of religious extremism must be better understood as linked to socio-economic issues, and community based approaches to address them should be supported
  • Political reform is key to progress: negotiating specific reform proposals as balanced packages that offset losses with gains could facilitate progress

Available for interview:

Elizabeth Picard – Accord 24 Issue Editor: Elizabeth is a leading Middle East scholar and Lebanon specialist. She is currently Director of Research at the Institut de Recherches et d'Études sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman, at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Aix-en-Provence.

Alexander Ramsbotham – Accord Series Editor, Conciliation Resources: Alexander was previously a research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research, and has worked as specialist adviser to the House of Lords European Union (EU) Select Committee.

Marie-Joëlle Zahar – Accord 24 contributor: Marie-Joëlle Zahar is Professor of Political Science, and Research Director of the Research Network on Peace Operations at the Université de Montréal. She has written widely on the politics of power sharing in Lebanon.

Joseph Bahout - Accord 24 contributor: Joseph Bahout is Professor of Middle Eastern Politics at Sciences Po, Paris, and a researcher at Académie Diplomatique Internationale.

Zahbia Yousuf - Peacebuilding Editor and Analyst, Conciliation Resources: Zahbia was previously a Teaching Fellow in Violence, Conflict and Development at SOAS University, and Kings College London. She completed a PhD in Comparative Peace Processes in 2010.

Notes to editors:

Conciliation Resources publishes Accord: an international review of peace initiatives. Accord informs and strengthens peace processes worldwide by documenting and analysing peacebuilding lessons. The Lebanon Accord publication is part of a larger project funded by the European Union's Instrument for Stability on 'People's Peacemaking Perspectives,' which aims to provide analysis based on local experiences and opinion. The Lebanon Accord is the 24th edition in the Accord series since 1996. All Accord publications are available at www.c-r.org/accord.

Conciliation Resources is an independent, international peacebuilding organisation working with people in conflict to prevent violence and build peace. With 16 years' experience of working internationally to prevent violent conflict, we make a commitment to be there for as long as we're needed to provide advice, support and practical resources. We work with partners – local and international civil society organisations and governments - in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Pacific. In addition, we take what we learn to government decision-makers and others working to end conflict.

Conciliation Resources is funded through grants from governments, multilateral agencies, independent trusts and foundations. Conciliation Resources is a registered UK charity (1055436). Find out more about Conciliation Resources at: www.c-r.org

SOURCE Conciliation Resources



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