Hotel Saint George in central Beirut in 2005

Returning to Beirut

At a sumptuous lunch in Beirut, my friends were debating whether Israel would invade Lebanon. One, a member of parliament, believed the United States and Saudi Arabia were giving a green light to Israel to crush the armed forces of Hezbollah once and for all. Another disagreed, arguing that Israel was content to let the Lebanese militant group bleed on the battlefront in Syria. The others weighed in on one side or the other.

I knew the debate. I had heard it over and over in 1972 when I moved to Beirut for the first time. Nothing has changed. Well, almost nothing. Then, Israel’s enemy was the Palestine Liberation Organization. Now, it’s Hezbollah. Apart from that, it’s the same old fear: Israel. And it’s the same prospective victim: Lebanon…

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Main photograph: Thousands of people gather chanting “Syria out” at the landmark Hotel Saint George in central Beirut in 2005. Since 1972, Lebanon has endured decades of Israeli invasion, Syrian occupation, government collapse and civil war. (RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images).

Editor’s Note: The Global Affairs column is curated by Stratfor’s board of contributors, a diverse group of thinkers whose expertise inspires rigorous and innovative thought. Their opinions are their own and serve to complement and even challenge our beliefs. We welcome that challenge, and we hope our readers do too.

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