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How did Syria use economy so as to prolong and legitimate its presence in Lebanon?

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  1. 1976-1990: during the Civil war, the Lebanese economy, under the Syrian occupation, turned into a war economy. This led to transform the Civil war into a protracted conflict
    1. The Syrian intervention, in 1976, permitted officials of that country to serve their private interest
    2. The transformation of the Lebanese economy into a ?war economy?, encouraged by Syria, forced the continuation of the Civil War
  2. 1990-2005: even if the Lebanese and Syrian economies seemed to be interdependent, Syria's dominance was confirmed by bilateral agreements and is, by the way, still effective.
    1. The early 1990's agreements confirmed Syria's dominance
    2. Private interests and corruption limited post-war reconstruction
  3. Conclusion

Despite the proclamation of the proclamation of its independence in 1943, Syria still does not admit the loss of Lebanon, and keeps on playing an important role in that country, through its history, its geography, its power and its economy.

A short historical review can be useful to understand the context of our discussion. In 1973, Damascus closed its borders with Lebanon in response to fighting between the Lebanese army and Palestinian guerrillas. Syrian troops have been stationing in Lebanese areas since 1976, when, at the beginning of the Civil War, Hafiz El Assad intervened in the name of Christian Maronites, trying to prevent Muslim to take power. In 1982, fights between Syria and Israel took place in the East of Lebanon, after the latter invaded these territories. The Ta'if agreements, in 1989, put Lebanon under Syrian trusteeship for two years. Finally, after the UN resolution n 1559, signed on the 2nd of September of 2004, and the assassination of the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, on the 14th of February of 2005, Syria had to remove its army from the Lebanese territory, after thirty years of occupation.

Syrian and Lebanese economic models appear as being very different. Syrian economy is marked by socialism, and, despite incremental and gradual reforms, the public sector remains very important. On the other side, Lebanon, whose nickname is the ?Swiss of the Middle-East?, disposes of a liberal model, and is opened to the Western economies. During the 1970's, Syrian economic performances were inferior to its neighbour's ones, particularly to Lebanese ones.

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