General Announcements - July 23, 2008
Poll Finds Broad Support for UN in Lebanon
A new public opinion poll in Lebanon released by the International Peace Institute shows broad support for the United Nations and its peacekeeping and diplomatic activity in Lebanon, high confidence in the Lebanese Army and a pronounced concern over the role of armed militias and Hezbollah.
According to the poll, even people who believe that Hezbollah’s arms deter war with Israel and have a negative view of the United Nations (56 % unfavorable) are mildly favorable to UNIFIL (57% favorable.)
There is even broader social consensus (between 81 and 85% favorable) in support of all the major Security Council resolutions on Lebanon.
Those measures seek the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, the disbanding of Lebanese and Palestinian militias, the delineating of the border with Syria and establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries, a ban on arms shipments to militias and the creation of an international tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
Almost all Lebanese citizens (93%) are confident in the Lebanese Army’s capacity to provide security and stability in their areas. Almost two-thirds (65%) think the Lebanese government can provide security while only one third (34%) believe Hezbollah could.
A majority of Lebanese are concerned that Hezbollah’s arms pose a risk of war for the country, with 55 % saying its arms make war with Israel more likely and 41 % asserting that Hezbollah’s arms will deter war with Israel.
More than three-fourths of the citizenry (76%) supports the view that only the Lebanese Army, and not armed militias, should bear arms.. Even among Lebanese who think that Hezbollah’s arms deter war, almost half (46 %) also would favor making the national army the only armed formation.
Almost all of the people (96%) who favor Prime Minister Fouad Siniora support disarming the militias and leaving the Army the lone force with arms.
Hezbollah appears to have paid a political price for its armed actions in May, 2008 when it took over territories of rival parties in violent clashes. The conflict erupted when the government tried to eliminate Hezbollah’s phone network, its airport cameras, and the airport security chief, and Hezbollah responded with takeovers of its rivals’ neighborhoods.
The survey shows that 58% felt that Hezbollah’s actions were unjustified and 59 % felt that Hezbollah had been weakened politically as a result.
A two-to-one majority supports the ongoing peace talks between Syria and Israel being conducted under Turkish auspices, despite the Lebanese public’s hostility to Israel.
Some 80% also support a deal between Lebanon and Israel that resolves outstanding grievances, including an exchange of prisoners, the return of the Shabaa Farms and the provision of minefield maps by Israel, and the disarmament of all Lebanese militias.
Eyeing the region, 79% said that Qatar, site of the Doha political accord, is Lebanon’s best-liked neighbor, followed by Saudi Arabia and Egypt (both at 60%) while only 38% have favorable sentiments towards Syria and 36% towards Iran.
There is near total hostility to Israel, with only 3% expressing favorable views.
The plan for new political institutions outlined in the 1989 Taif accord, which ended the civil war, enjoys the support of 71% of Lebanese. This plan called for replacing the existing parliament, where seats are reserved for members of specific religious confessions, with a non-confessional National Assembly and a confessional Senate which could block laws threatening key sectarian interests.
Michel Suleiman, President of the Republic, enjoys 75% approval, followed by Fouad Siniora, the Prime Minister, at 54% and Nabih Berri, the Speaker of the Parliament, at 42%.
The poll was conducted for the International Peace Institute, a New York think tank dedicated to the prevention and settlement of armed conflicts between or within states, by Charney Research. The nationally-representative survey of Lebanese citizens 18 and older involved 1,800 interviews between July 1 and 18, 2008 among all confessional groups in all regions of the country, with an error margin of plus or minus 2% for national results.
The Global Observatory
UN Strikes Back as Conflict Escalates in Mali
To achieve long-term stability, Mali’s leaders and partners will need to think in terms of years of reconstruction and peacebuilding.
Key Global Events to Watch in January
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2015: Ten Multilateral Events to Watch This Year
A list of ten events that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2015, compiled by IPI’s Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
January 20, 2015
Mongolian Foreign Policy Between ''Two Giants''
On January 20, Mongolia’s new Foreign Minister Purevsuren Lundeg visited the IPI Vienna office and gave an informal briefing on Mongolia’s contemporary foreign policy priorities and challenges.
January 20, 2015
Dutch FM Koenders: ''The Security Council Has to Change''
Speaking to an overflow IPI audience on January 20th, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders acknowledged how far the United Nations has come since its inception 70 years ago but said that the organization still “has a lot of growing up to do.”
December 15, 2014
Fathi: Iran and the Struggle Between Hardliners and Reformers
Discussing her new book The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran at IPI on December 15th, author Nazila Fathi said that 35 years after the revolution, Iran is divided between hardliners and a large moderate middle class, but admitted that it is still unclear which of the two sides will gain the upper hand.
September 25, 2014
IPI Remembers Margaret Vogt