chapter  7
Forces behind Lebanese governance patterns and refugee politics
ByZeynep Şahin Mencütek
Pages 16

Chapter 7 examines factors which have shaped the initial policy preferences and changes over time in Lebanon. The chapter sheds light on a complex socio-economic and political dynamic behind the refugee governance in Lebanon. It argues that the initial inaction of Lebanon can be attributed to the policy paralysis situation where the government is unable to create or implement policy programmes. Then, the unfolding of the Syrian crisis into a full-fledged war within few years made the refugee crisis protracted and made Lebanon reach the critical juncture with hosting more than a million Syrians, thus suspending policy making was no longer an option. It demonstrates that policy changes after 2014 in the border control and reception emerged as the Lebanese state’s realization of demographic challenge, its desire to appease growing negative public sentiment and to renegotiate its sovereignty vis-à-vis growing security challenges and vis-à-vis increasing involvement of international organizations autonomously in national refugee governance. On the other hand, Lebanon refrained from developing protection and integration measures because of the lack of capacity and ideational concerns drawn from the delicate sectarian balance and historical baggage which is marked by the bitter experience with the protracted Palestinian refugee issue.