A year on, post-war reconstruction is moving slowly as rival factions continue to fight for power in Lebanon. While the army has been locked in fierce battles with Islamic militants in the north, UN peacekeepers that deployed at the end of the conflict have been targeted by terrorist attacks in the south.
Of the 5.5 billion euros pledged for reconstruction, less than one billion has been received as most of it was tied to economic reforms which the government has failed to enact.
On the eve of the first anniversary of the war, the country’s prime minister Fouad Siniora issued an appeal for unity:
“Let us build on what brings us together. We have to return to dialogue,” he said. He also called for an election to find a successor to his rival, pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud.
Meanwhile, a massive demining operation led by the Chinese UNIFIL delegation continues.
“We want to make sure this area is safe for the
local people and that they can carry out planting on these fields for economic purposes,” said Chief of Staff Major Li Chanzheng.
Deminers expect to clear all areas where cluster bombs have a direct impact on civilian life by the end of the year.
The 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah claimed nearly 1,200 Lebanese lives – most of them civilian.
Thousands were injured and hundreds of thousands fled their homes.
Now, a year on, it seems the deepening sectarian and political crisis – Lebanon’s worst since the civil war – is threatening to tear the country apart once again.