Lebanon 2017/2018
By Monika Borgmann & Lokman Slim
© UMAM Documentation and Research
2017/2018 - English & Arabic


In a quasi-failed state such as Lebanon, it is unsurprising that the extensive refugee population—led by the Palestinian and Syrian refugee communities—is the focus of unadulterated political partisanship. Today, even Lebanon's state institutions and political actors disagree on the number of refugees in the country, which varies by hundreds of thousands according to the "official" source being consulted! This fact-based observation does not appear to be particularly troubling to Lebanese citizens or officials in the country, nor has it precipitated any worthwhile revision to the approach being taken to managing refugee-related issues.

This report asserts that regardless of the real number of refugees involved, the notion of refugeeism represents an integral component of the enduring debate over Lebanese national identity. Notably, that debate is being fueled generously by the country's prospering confessional culture, and to a similar but no less important degree, its legacy of war—with which Lebanon has never come to terms. This report seeks to shed some light on the status of Lebanon's refugee communities by examining the issue through the lens of Lebanese history, its tangible endowment of conflict and the still-unfolding situation in the region.
This publication, available in English and Arabic, was made possible by funding from the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa).