Not Quite a Lebanese-Israeli Entente

The two countries are participating in talks – though without actually talking to each other.

On Oct. 14, a delegation from the Lebanese government travelled by helicopter to the town of Ras Naqoura, just north of the Lebanese-Israeli border, and entered a room at the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon headquarters, where Israeli officials were waiting to discuss a decadeslong maritime dispute between the two countries. It was a remarkable event – the first time Israel and Lebanon have met for face-to-face talks on a civilian matter since 1990. But because they have no official diplomatic relations, their representatives spoke to each other only through U.S. and U.N. mediators in a terse exchange that lasted no longer than an hour. At first glance, the timing of the meeting may seem peculiar. After all, Lebanon is in the middle of an economic crisis, while clashes between Hezbollah and Israel continue along the Lebanese and Syrian borders. Deep-held imperatives brought Israel and Lebanon to the negotiating table, but peace was not their primary goal. Rather, Israel sees a window of opportunity – while Beirut is weak and leaderless – to pressure Iran in Lebanon and score points with potential regional allies. For Lebanon, the talks are financially motivated. With soaring debt (over 170 percent of gross […]

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Caroline D. Rose
Caroline Rose has a Masters of Science (MSc) in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Just before joining GPF she served as a Research Associate for LSE’s International Drug Policy Unit (IDPU), where she researched the nexus between illicit economies and armed insurgencies. She earned her undergraduate degree from American University's School of International Service and has worked previously at both Brookings Institute and the Atlantic Council. Her studies and projects at these institutions covered a range of topics, from Russian and Chinese cyber warfare, evolving American interest within a changing international order, and grand security strategies against state-led revisionism in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Throughout she's written for a diverse array of publications including Limes in Italy.