Worldfocus contributor Melani Cammett is in Lebanon and writes about election day, looking at how the unexpected, pro-Western results may play out domestically and abroad.
Regional powers have long battled for Lebanese territory. For decades, this country of 4 million on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea was simultaneously occupied by both of its more powerful neighbors -- Syria to the east and Israel to the south. Israel withdrew from the occupied south in 2000, ground down by a war of attrition led by Hezbollah. Syria had little choice but to withdraw two years later, after mass public protests called for their troops to pull out.
Today, there is a new vibrancy on the streets of Beirut with new restaurants, businesses and stores opening daily. Still, old insecurities linger. A mysterious string of political assassinations has stopped -- but for how long, no one knows. When outside powers bankroll a particular Lebanese faction, it drives the others to seek the foreign patronage that so often comes with a price. The political system is divvied up by outdated religious quotas. Meanwhile, Palestinian refugee camps around the country remain tinder boxes for an oppressed minority that has lived in Lebanon for generations.
Kristen Gillespie travels to Lebanon to report on the country's changes. "The New Lebanon" is a collection of signature videos, interviews, reporter observations and analysis from the field and blogger perspectives.
The New Lebanon
Official election results show that Lebanon has voted to maintain its pro-western government majority, which beat out another coalition led by Hezbollah. Mohamad Bazzi of the Council on Foreign Relations discusses what the results mean for Hezbollah, for the stability of Lebanon and for American foreign policy in the region.
Lebanon will head to the polls on June 7 in an election that could alter the political fabric of the country, with Hezbollah and its allies poised to make significant gains. Worldfocus.org’s weekly radio show explored the issues and implications of Lebanon’s election. Melani Cammett, Ben Gilbert and Ghassan Schbley joined the conversation. Listen now.
From U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Beirut to new accusations about an old assassination, Lebanon is heating up in advance of its June 7 national election, which could see the tides turn for Hezbollah.
From the Arab world's first gay rights demonstration to wild parties to a new graphic magazine, sexual attitudes are changing in Beirut.
While Beirut is the most gay-friendly city in the Arab world, it is still a conservative atmosphere in which gay couples are not socially accepted. Worldfocus correspondent Kristen Gillespie writes about her experience reporting on the underground gay community from a small bar in Gemayze.
The mountainous region of eastern Lebanon has a rich history spanning thousands of years -- and equally rich land that makes it a fertile location for some of the country's top vineyards. Lebanon produces rich red wines, crisp whites and smooth, fruity rosés.
The American University of Beirut is an oasis in the Middle East, a place where diversity of opinion and freedom of thought is not only tolerated, but encouraged.
Worldfocus correspondent Kristen Gillespie interviews a former United Nations advisor in Lebanon and discusses the development of Hezbollah and its place in Shiite Lebanese society.