Peace prevented by external actors
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Syrian involvement in post-Taif Accord Lebanon reveals the complexity of external involvement in post-peace accord societies. In one view, ‘Taif’s success is a function of the Syrian presence in Lebanon. Syria’s stake in the stability of Lebanon provided the country with the requisites to weather a number of crises.’1 While the costs of this external involvement came in the form of human rights abuses, stunted democracy and a lack of reconciliation, Syria provided the space for Lebanon to re-forge its national institutions, begin economic recovery and achieve the implementation of much of the Taif Accord. This ‘Pax Syriana’ continued until the 2005 Syrian military withdrawal.2 In another view, Syria was ‘an occupying force in Lebanon’ that provided the most significant obstacle to the full implementation of the Taif Accord.3 This negative view of Syrian involvement in Lebanon paints Syria as an exploitative power that used Lebanon as a pawn in its conflict with Israel, suppressed dissent with little regard for human rights and froze rather than confronted the sectarianism that lay at the root of Lebanon’s civil war. That there are elements of truth in both the proand anti-Syrian views illustrates the difficulty of judging with any certainty the impact of external influences in post-peace accord societies.
KeywordsExternal Actor Peace Accord Peace Process Security Sector Reform Party Intervention
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