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Systemic, National and Leadership Factors in the Bilateral R

             Systemic factors in the bilateral relationship between Lebanon and Syria are numerous, however for the focus of this paper I will discuss the three I regard as being the most influential on their relationship; Israel, The United States and The United Nations. The most influential variable in the relationship between Syria and Lebanon is Israel and their occupation of the Golan Heights along with their never-ending war with the Palestinians in the south of Lebanon. Syria was active in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war in which the Israelis took control of the Golan Heights and the city of Quneitra. This land is still hotly contested today by the Syrians and Israelis. In terms of the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, their right to stay lies in the interpretation of UN resolution 425. "The United Nations declared that Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon fulfilled the requirements of UN Security Council Resolution 425. However, Syria and Lebanon claimed that UNSCR 425 had not been fully implemented because Israel did not withdraw from an area of the Golan Heights called Sheba Farms, which had been occupied by Israel in 1967, and which Syria now claimed was part of Lebanon. The United Nations does not recognize this claim. However, Lebanese resistance groups such as Hezbollah use it to justify attacks against Israeli forces in that region, creating a potentially dangerous flashpoint along the Lebanon-Israeli border." (1) Secondly, the Israeli war with the Palestinians reached into southern Lebanon after the PLO was removed from Jordan and relocated there. The Israeli security has been threatened by attacks from militias from southern Lebanon. Also, Murhaf Jouejati, a Middle East Institute scholar-in-residence contends Syria views the State of Israel as a rouge state at best and still has no formal diplomatic relations with them. Among the reasons for this characterization are the fact that at one time or another Israel has invaded all of its neighbors and is in such close relations with the US.

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