Demography and Politics

Middle East Institute just published a long piece by me on the possible demographic impact on Lebanon from the Syrian refugee crisis. There are a million refugees in Lebanon now — that’s nearly a 25 percent boost in the population of the country. It would be like the U.S. having to absorb 78 million refugees in a two-year-period. Another million could flow into Lebanon by year’s end.

Demography shapes politics, especially in Lebanon. See my article here.

Bordering On Disaster


“War has stopped time here. It often does that in the Levant. Here in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, a refugee mother is nursing her 17-month-old son, the youngest of her six children. She sits cross-legged on a thin, stained mattress covering one of the three rickety, rusted single beds pushed against the breeze-block walls. This scene and this woman, with her black hijab and brown abaya, could be from any decade in the past half- century—from any of the wars that have repeatedly savaged this region. The knowledge is no comfort to Samr or her family.” Read my report here in the Daily Beast on the plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.