Background: Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
The topic that I chose to write about for the entirety of the semester is about Syrian refugees in Lebanon. As you may have noticed, I am not going to talk about the Syrian refugees in general because it is a broad topic. My topic is important to many people worldwide because it educates people about the problems that a country like Lebanon is facing due to the millions of refugees that are pouring in. I think that it is important to the people that live in the United States, as well as humanitarian organizations because many might have the idea that a country would be breaking humanitarian rights if they do not help out refugees, when in reality that is not always true. I think that my research findings would be important to them because it would provide many people who think that about countries that are/are not taking in refugees with facts and information that would allow them to make better decisions when talking about refugees, and how to support them.
The history of Lebanon and Syria in the middle east is very complicated, but some important information that I found while doing my research was that Syria entered Lebanon in 1976 when the Lebanese civil war was going on at the time. The army stayed in Lebanon for 15 years before it pulled out. In those 15 years, soldiers terrorized many Lebanese citizens. This background information is very important to address because the Syrian occupation of Lebanon shaped the way that politics works in the country. For example, according to the New York Times, many of the politicians today are pro-Syria politicians. This means that they create laws that mainly seem to benefit militia groups like Hizbollah that helps the Syrian army, as well as the Syrian refugees. This is crucial to understand when talking about the refugees in Lebanon because the politicians now are currently trying to find different ways to deal with the influx of Syrian refugees.
My topic may get a little bit confusing to some who read it so it is important for the average person to know where Syria and Lebanon are located on the map. Syria and Lebanon are both located in Asia. Syria is directly under Turkey, and Lebanon is in between Syria and Israel. In addition, it is important that the average reader has a general understanding of the exponential increase of Syrian refugees worldwide so they would be able to relate when I provide statistics about the amount of refugees in Lebanon.
At the end of my research, I plan to find an answer on whether or not there is a different method to help out Syrian refugees other than allowing them to seek refuge in small countries like Lebanon that are not doing so well economically. Furthermore, I would like to come to a conclusion on whether or not the refugees are helping or hurting the Lebanese economy. From what I found so far in my research, the Syrian refugees are not only hurting the Lebanese economy, but they are also posing as a big threat to Lebanon’s national security.
Download the full testimony (PDF). Chairman Menendez, Ranking Member Corker, and distinguished members of the committee…www.defenddemocracy.org