The Syrian involvement in Lebanon - an analysis of the role of Lebanon in Syrian regime security, from Taif to the death of Hafiz al-Asad (1989-2000)
This paper analyzes the Syrian involvement in Lebanon following the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1989/90 and until the death of Syrian President Hafiz al-Asad, which marked the end of an era. The author argues that Lebanon's geo-strategic position, not Syria's ideological orientation, has been central in explaining the Syrian involvement since the Syrian intervention in 1976, and especially in the 1990s. It is further argued that Syrian foreign and security policy has been mainly driven by concerns for regime stability and security. Security is broadly defined to encompass concerns by the Asad-regime to ward off threats to 1) the legitimacy of the rule of the Asad-regime (political security), 2) military threats from mainly Israel (military security), and 3) threats to the allocative political economy (economic security). The importance of water is also briefly discussed. Lebanon has had a pivotal role in all these sectors of security. Thus, mainly security concerns, not 'Greater-Syria' ambitions have defined Syria's involvement in Lebanon in the 1990s.