I. Introduction of Lebanon and Lebanon status
1. Lebanon is an internationally recognized democratic, independent, sovereign republic. It’s identity and belonging is Arab.
2. Lebanon has a democratically elected parliament and follows a liberal economy system.
3. Lebanon is a founding and active member of the “UN” and the “Arab League” and abides by their pacts and covenants; also, it is a signatory of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
4. Lebanon, according to the September 21, 1990 constitution, is planning to abolish the political Confessionnalism system in place.
5. Lebanon made its first Gas extraction trial this year and confirmed presence of Gas in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
A. List of External issues to tackle (But not limited to)
Lebanon has several main and intertwining problems with other countries, which should be resolved and/or acted upon diplomatically;
On the Southern border has since proclaimed its formation as a Jewish state and is treated by Lebanon as an "enemy state”. It signed an armistice treaty with Lebanon in March 1949. Despite this, it occupied lands in the south in 1982 and has attacked Lebanon through its ground and air force several times, resulting in complex security problems. It withdrew from Lebanon in the year 2000 based on the resolution 1701 and presently occupies parts of Lebanon (Chebaa Farms and Ghajjar) claiming it is a part of Syria not Lebanon hence conserved a “Dispute Linking Mode” making of it a constant belligerent country and still breaches the 1701 by its air force. In fact it is now using the Lebanese airspace to shell positions in the “Syrian Arab Republic”. In addition to the above, Lebanon represents a competitor from ideological and commercial standpoints by having planned the abolition of political Confessionnalism as well as having a high performing servicing experience whether at the level of its ports, its tourism, its banking experience and its location. Lebanon demands the execution of the UN resolutions 425, 1559 and 1701 and has declared that it will be the last country to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Israel is now working to cut part of the EEZ of Lebanon due to the Gas and Petrol lying under the sea. Talks for the delimitation of the EEZ are being prepared by the USA and the UN which will act as mediators when talks start.
2. The Palestinian cause:
The Palestinian cause became a common Arab problem. Presently there are 175,000 refugees in Lebanon that insist on the right of return to their homeland. Lebanon has not nationalised the refugees and they exist in poorly developed camps. In 1969 Cairo Treaty was signed with the PLO which permitted the Palestinians to possess arms which transformed the south and the Bekaa valley into a battleground target for Israel. PLO withdrew in 1982 most of its military structure and Palestinians are now confined in their camps surrounded by the LAF.
3. The “Syrian Arab Republic”:
S.A.R. is ruled by the Baath party which ideologically does not recognize Lebanon as a state claiming that Sykes-Picot treaty deprived it of its “natural” and historical territory among which “Chebaa Farms area.”S.A.R. has several ramifications in Lebanon since the civil war up to the present; this is due to its prolonged presence spanning from 1976 till 2005 taking advantage of Lebanon’s internal political divisions. Lebanon needs Syria as it is the only ground opening towards Iraq and the Arab countries for economical purposes. S.A.R. has been ousted temporarily of the Arab League which constrains Lebanon as it has vowed to abide by its covenants. It has been and still is an ally of Russia in the region.
4. “The Islamic Republic Of Iran”:
The Iranian presence since 1982 has deepened its presence in Lebanon through a Lebanese manned militia called Hezbollah that emerged with the help of Iran during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon. Hezbollah resisted pressure to disarm, and continued to strengthen its military wing, the Islamic Resistance. In some ways, its capabilities now exceed those of the Lebanese army; its considerable firepower was proven efficient against Israel in the 2006 war. Iran through this group also gradually became a key power broker in Lebanon's political system, and has effectively gained veto power in the cabinet thus reinforcing its power in Lebanon and in the region. Iran and Hezbollah are designated respectively a terrorist country and organisation by Western states, Israel and the Gulf Arab countries as well as the Arab League.
The above issues together with the newly reinforced presence of Russia in the region as well as the advent of Turkey (Which is starting to play a regional role), and China (That has commercial interests in addition to the New Silk Road project), are creating a dire issue that needs also addressing in the foreign policies of Lebanon. To note also the sanctions based OFAC, Magnitsky and Caesar acts issued by the USA that target Lebanese citizens and high ranking personality among others worldwide.
B. List of Advantages (But not limited to)
Lebanon enjoys a geographical advantage as well as a powerful human resource presence:
1. A geographical location:
Lebanon can still play a bonding role between east and west especially between the 2 newly formed blocs USA/Europe/Gulf/Egypt and Russia/China/Iran/Turkey
This geographical mark of intimate proximity between sea and mountains has shaped up this corner of the Middle East’s history. Lebanon Mediterranean seaboard involved exchanges, its vocation as a bond between east and west was never disrupted since the Phoenician times. This Role should be strengthened again where Lebanon can Lobby between the east and west political and economical arenas while maintaining its independence and its interests.
Lebanon can also take advantage of its geographical location because of the newly found GAS foraged lately (Which has not yet been confirmed eligible to be extracted at a reasonable cost) and benefit from the race between the 2 newly formed blocs as well as from the New Silk Road project.
2. Lebanese are self-resilient, entrepreneurs and educated: Their entrepreneurial spirit enabled Lebanon to survive up to this date.
Lebanese famed “resilience” is a source of pride at home and wonders abroad, this was proven by their ability to cope in frequent times of crisis. This aforementioned factor as well as their high education level can help them in expanding and preparing for a modern Lebanon that is sought after.
3. The Lebanese Diaspora: It is all over the world and estimated to be about 12 to 13 million. These Lebanese are a key factor to Lebanon’s Foreign Policies. The Diaspora can play a major and beneficial role in lobbying for Lebanon’s international affairs and interests abroad.
4. The “LAF” and “ISF” Since the end of the 1975 -1990 civil war they have proven worthy of trust to conserve the identity and stability of Lebanon and have gained respect among other countries thus permitting foreign policies to promote the possibilities of arming these 2 bodies with top of the notch equipments. To note that arming the LAF should be very delicately handled due to the fact that Israel lobby in the USA remains very cautious and adamantly pushing the latter country to respect the principle according to which no equipment may be provided to an Arab army which might prejudice Israel’s TSAHAL technological prevalence.
5. In a nutshell: Lebanon’s cultural, intellectual and popular diversity permit it to continue playing the role it had played before as a political go-between among all Arab, Persian, Asian, European and American countries taking advantage of the 2 following facts: Its appealing geographical location and Gas presence coveted by the 2 newly formed blocs (Mentioned in point B– 1) and the new Silk Road.
II. Mission Statement
The Foreign Policies Bloc, based on the above introduction, shall convey to the world the real identity and image of the Republic of Lebanon by putting forth a multifaceted farsighted “Foreign Policies Strategy” that gives it enough back-up to reinforce its presence internationally, to deter any external intervention/aggression and bolsters its economy.
III. Plan of Action
Step A. The “FPB” shall study the full background of the regional and international countries that might present a threat or an opportunity to Lebanon.
Step B. The “FPB” shall draw a list of target countries that can be beneficial to Lebanon at all levels (Political, economical, educational, military, diasporas presence) after studying their history, economy, political systems, foreign policies and weak and strong points
Step C. The “FPB” shall devise a contact strategy to reach specific aims per target country