Arsal in the Crosshairs: The Predicament of a Small Lebanese Border Town
|Title||Arsal in the Crosshairs: The Predicament of a Small Lebanese Border Town|
|Year of Publication||2016|
|Subtitle / Series Title||Middle East Briefing N°46|
|Institution||International Crisis Group|
Weakened by deepening inter- and intra-communal rifts, the Lebanese state has gradually abandoned its primary role in governance and as manager of representative politics and relies increasingly on security measures to maintain stability and the political status quo. The remote border town of Arsal in the north east is emblematic of this security-centric method of tackling unrest. The approach, which escalated after the Syrian war began next door, is short-sighted and dangerous, as it fights symptoms while inadvertently reinforcing underlying factors that drive instability. If the government were to address Arsal’s plight in a more balanced manner that takes those factors into account by folding its security component into an overall political strategy, it could yet turn a vicious circle into a virtuous one, preventing the town’s downward spiral and providing a model for tackling such problems in the country overall.