Ok so you might have heard that things in this neck of the woods are getting a little interesting at the moment. It’s an interesting time to be alive and in Lebanon, so I should write about it. And I will. Only just not yet (and what you see below doesn’t count).
Its not that I don’t have a lot to say, in fact it’s the opposite. Before I put pen to serious paper I want to get my thoughts and opinions in order so as to make sense.
So, the Syrian regime (as certainly as we can say anything) used chemical weapons on the population of Syria. Lebanon’s Hezbollah have been involved in the country’s war for some time now and the US looks increasingly likely to strike at the Assad regime.
The view from Lebanon looks wobbly at best. The recent spate of bombings have largely been attributed to the conflict in Syria and the 700,000 refugees from the events across the border are definitely having an effect on daily life here. However, the most worrying aspect of the current situation is Hezbollah and their reaction to western intervention in Syria (even a limited intervention).
The word is that they have been deployed all along the Syrian boarder and have made plans for all eventualities, translation: they won’t sit by and watch cruise missiles rain down on Assad. But what about Lebanon? well the Party of God have said that they have no wish to see Lebanon drawn into this so directly, and as such if and when they react to intervention in Syria, it will be to launch rockets at Israel from inside Syria. As magnanimous as this gesture is, it does seem to leave out any issue of escalation (what if Israel react to this by targeting Hezbollah in Lebanon AND Syria, thus hitting the source of the attacks and the leadership/infrastructure behind it for example). So even if Israel is attacked and retaliates in a proportionate way to the acute issue not (as they see it) the chronic one, there is still risk of overspill into Lebanon, and a proportionate response from them is by no means a clear run thing.
Realistically, no one can say what will happen tomorrow, the next day or in the coming weeks, let alone what outcome a possible strike or counter-strike will have. Things are very much up in the air still and will be until they are actually happening. rhetoric aside, planning is going to be a very ad-hoc dynamic response and reaction rather than some drawn up battle plan signed off weeks prior to the event. As such things can turn bad for Lebanon in a matter of hours. Which makes the situation very delicate.
So what does that all mean for me I hear you cry? Well, firstly, thanks for asking, I’m glad you have so much concern for my well being. At the moment there is no point in worrying about what if’s. This said a group of us have been talking about what we might do if we have to leave the country in a hurry, and at what point we might feel we need to do that. But as yet these are still abstract plans. I have no immediate plans or desire to leave, and none at all of returning to the UK anytime soon.
In the worst case scenario where we do have to leave a group of 5 or 6 journalist friends and I plan to head for turkey and camp out if things go south here. From Istanbul we can set up as freelancers/run commentary on the situation in Lebanon and hopefully still make something of a wage – will wait and see on that one. But it means that we are still close by and can return soon after things calm down again. To be honest this works for me, talking about what we would do made me realise how little I want to leave, but most of all i have no interest in heading back home so soon and sitting around watching the news waiting to come back, at least from Turkey I can still stay somewhat in the loop and feel connected to it.
Still though these are all if’s and buts. how things pan out we will see, but keep checking back for that ever elusive first real journalistic post about Lebanon (what you saw above does not count as any real opinion it’s just a stream of consciousness, ill make my opinions and when my ducks are all in a row you will see more).