Decades of civil war and regional conflict have resulted in few opportunities for the country to rally around a comprehensive security sector reform process. As a result, there is a trust deficit between civil society and the security sector, with the Internal Security Forces (ISF) often perceived as corrupt, biased or inefficient in their role of protecting local communities.
Recognizing this, the Lebanese government together with international partners decided to pilot a programme in one neighbourhood in central Beirut, Hbeish, with the aim of transforming the Ras Beirut Police Station into a ‘model Police Station’. By the time that SFCG began partnering with the station, they had already adopted a code of conduct based on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Standards and changed their recruitment and training policies in order to ensure their officers are properly trained. The ISF also set up new and easily accessible facilities and introduced regular patrols on foot, vehicle and bike as well as a digital database to collect and analyse security incidents. These organizational changes had built skills within the police to better be able to engage with the community. Yet there was little opportunity for police and community members to actually build direct human relationships with each and restore their mutual trust.
Search for Common Ground’s programme ‘Better Together’,in partnership with the Ras Beirut Police Station aimed thus to build healthy relationships with the local community and strengthen the effectiveness of the police officers in protecting the community.
Building Skills for Trust-building; Separately, then Together
The Ras Beirut community is situated nearby large universities, where perceptions towards the ISF were very negative. SFCG knew that bringing together people from the community with the ISF in a face to face meeting or town hall meeting would likely end with confrontation and deepening of mistrust.
SFCG thus started by reaching out to various student and young organisations, to explain the project and identify people who were interested in gradually growing their engagement with the ISF. At first, there was deep suspicion and rejection by many young people. But SFCG was gradually able to draw the young people into the project, starting by building skills for the young people in citizen engagement and Common Ground leadership and advocacy, with an emphasis on identifying areas of commonalities with ‘the other’.
SFCG thentrained nominated ISF members from Ras Beirut in skills around non-violent communication, mediation and conflict transformation. They also became familiar with methods of social media outreach, to improve their ability to communicate with the community.
Trust-building through Open House and Joint Patrols
SFCG recognized that many of the stereotypes held both by the youth and the ISF were due to past negative experiences, and misperceptions about the real role and responsibilities of the ISF. SFCG worked with the ISF to host open-house days where members of the community could come in and learn about the Ras Beirut station, and talk to police officers. Many community members had never before been in the police station, or had had negative experiences in the past. The ISF also invited a group of young people to shadow them on night patrols in the neighbourhood, which was an eye-opening experience for the youth, and a humanizing and trust-building success.
Roundtable Discussions and Joint Problem Solving Workshops
After several months of working with the groups separately, SFCG facilitated a series of round table discussions. While recognizing that many of the participants still felt a need to express their anger, trauma or distrust of the other group, the facilitation gradually moved the group towards the identification of challenges within the community,which they could tackle together. Issues identified included how to tackle small café owners who put their tables and chairs on the street illegally, how to manage waste, and how to put in place a mobile application for citizens to be able to alert the Police Station when they see suspicious or criminal behaviour.
Through a series of five round tables, the relationship was developed to the point that in order to achieve progress on the above ideas, both the ISF and the community identified and contributed resources to move them forward. A WhatsApp group was created to enable on-going dialogue and collaboration to reach these goals.
Once the bridges of trust had been built between the ISF and the young people along with other community leaders, they jointly organised other public outreach activities. This included sports and cultural events, as well as setting up stands at large public Beirut street festivals (for example the Hamra Festival). The group also produced leaflets and posters to communicate the community security focus of the police station, and group representatives appeared on local media to talk about their initiatives.
Through the trainings, joint activities, round tables and public outreach, trust gradually began to overcome the mistrust and fear. In the end, the pilot project to demonstrate how the Ras Beirut Police station could become a ‘model police’ station showed signs of becoming reality, as both police officers and community members understood and acted on their joint sense of responsibility for bringing this idea to reality.
Excerpt from the book Local Ownership in Security: Case Studies of Peacebuilding Approaches edited by Lisa Schirch with Deborah Mancini-Griffoli and published by The Alliance for Peacebuilding, The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
Policy and Research Papers
Though the conflict in Syria shows no signs of abating, and hopes for the Geneva II talks in January are dim, this paper argues it is never too early to start planning for peace. The paper examines three recent post-conflict transitions in the Middle East—Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen—and draws lessons for Syria. Among them are the following:
- Drawing from the US experience in Iraq, Bennett argues that while elements of the current regime in Syria may need to go, the state must remain strong to promote stability and encourage post-conflict economic growth.
- Drawing lessons from the Taif Agreement in Lebanon, Bennett argues that Syrians must avoid official sectarianism and focus on establishing a cohesive national identity.
- Drawing from the role of the GCC in the Yemen transition, Bennett argues that regional cooperation, especially on the issue of Syrian refugees, will be critical to ensuring long term security and stability in the Middle East.
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The Women, Peace and Security Agenda in the Year of Its Review: Integrating Resolution 1325 Into the Military and Police
Published by the Latin America Security and Defence Network (RESDAL), this report examines the integration of Resolution 1325 by assessing three UN missions: MINUSTAH (Haiti), MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and UNIFIL (Lebanon). Namely, the following questions are addressed:
- Fifteen years after Resolution 1325 was adopted, to what extent has it been integrated into peacekeeping operations?
- What approach has been developed for the military component?
- What achievements and pending challenges have been found in the implementation of this Resolution in the area of military and police tasks?
- What role does the approach on women, peace and security have in the peacekeeping review process?
Dans la région du Moyen-Orient et de l’Afrique du Nord, la Syrie et la Libye sont en proie à l'instabilité politique et se distinguent en tant que pays générateurs d'importants flux migratoires. Dans cette analyse, le visage syrien et libyen de la migration africaine est présenté avec un regard particulier sur le contexte régional dans lequel il se situe. En particulier, il s’agit de faire état de l’intensification de la pression migratoire de la Syrie et de la Libye sur leurs pays voisins.
La crise humanitaire et sécuritaire qui fait rage en Syrie et en Lybie est un lourd fardeau que partage la région du Moyen-Orient et de l'Afrique du Nord dans son ensemble. Bien que les naufrages en Méditerranée fassent l’objet d’une attention médiatique accrue, ils ne sont pas la seule conséquence de l’instabilité dans la région. Des conséquences aussi tragiques peuvent être repérées au Liban, en Jordanie, en Turquie, en Tunisie et en Egypte.
Vous pouvez lire l'article ici.
In the absence of a strong state, insurgents, traffickers or tribal warlords may provide political and socioeconomic goods through arrangements we characterize as "complementary governance". When formulating an effective response to this security challenge, policymakers and researchers must account for the complex connections and interactions between multiple non-state governing entities.
You can read the full article here.
Lebanon is surviving internal and regional strains remarkably well, but this resilience has become an excuse for tolerating political dysfunction. If the Lebanese political class does not take immediate steps like holding long-overdue elections, fighting corruption and promoting the rule of law, its complacency will only make an eventual fall harder and costlier.
Read the executive summary and download the full report here.
The authors map and analyze what they call the ‘plural security’ landscape in Lebanon, which is characterized by the relatively limited role the Lebanese state plays in providing security and the web of arrangements between public and private security providers.
Setting the Aperture Wider: A synthesis of research and policy advice on security pluralism in Tunis, Nairobi and Beirut
In contexts of security pluralism, an array of actors assert claims on the use of force, operating simultaneously and with varying relationships to the state. In such contexts, security providers may acquire legitimacy by proving more effective and efficient, proximate and relevant to local populations, and are often cheaper than state alternatives. Yet, plural security actors are frequently associated with human rights violations, perverse interface with the state, difficulty in providing security equitably in contexts of diversity, and an almost ineluctable tendency toward net production of insecurity over time.
Donors have few policy or practical tools with which to engage meaningfully in contexts of plural security provision. Since directly engaging plural security providers would mean upsetting relationships with state partners, conferring legitimacy on groups with unpalatable goals or tactics, or tacitly endorsing violence as a path to political privilege, donors prefer to focus on official security agencies and state oversight.
Plural Security Insights and its partners have developed the research project outlined here to address that dearth of relevant policy and programming advice. Comparative research was conducted in three urban contexts: Beirut, Nairobi, and Tunis.
The individual publications of the case studies are:
For full access to Setting the Aperture Wider and the other publications, kindly follow the link.
In contexts of plural security provision, security is produced and distributed by an array of actors asserting claims on the use of force, operating simultaneously and with varying relationships to the state. This paper is a case study that forms part of the Plural Security Series by Plural Security Insights. It describes how a vulnerable urban population, Syrian refugees in Beirut, Lebanon, realises its security interests within plural provision arrangements. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, as many as 1.5-million Syrians have fled into Lebanon. Fieldwork in the Beirut neighbourhoods of Naba’a and Sabra revealed that refugees experience a precarious security environment in the city, characterised by constant fear of harassment and detention, lack of protection, and limited mobility. Research identified a diverse repertoire of strategies upon which Syrians draw to access security, from avoidance to reliance on in-group problem-solving and affiliation with sympathetic local security providers.
The paper concludes that Lebanon’s current policy framework exacerbates the vulnerability of Syrian refugees, and that the very nature of security pluralism in Beirut is unlikely to promote equitable distribution of security as a public good, especially to newcomers. It proposes changes to the regulatory and security regime applied to control Syrian communities, and advises the Lebanese state to address the security gap for refugees within the parameters of the existing consociational power-sharing framework.
The series also includes:
For full access to Beirut, a safe refuge? and the other publications, kindly follow the link.
This policy brief is produced by International Alert and Lebanon Support on the base of a research project "(In)formal hybrid security in Lebanon," as part of a project supported by the Netherland Organisation for Scientific Research WOTRO. The brief aims to inform policy formulation on local-level security provision and refugee protection in Lebanon, and to propose modalities for upgrading the systems of the security institutions in a way that strengthens protection of the Lebanese communities and the Syrian refugees they host.
Based on field research conducted between February and May 2016 in three locations across Lebanon, this brief analyses the challenges to protecting local communities and refugees in a hybrid system, in which formal and informal security actors coexist and implement a mix of security measures. It also argues that the current securitisation approach, which relies on negative deterrence, enhances perceptions of insecurity among the Lebanese and infringes on the rights and dignity of the refugees.
L’article souligne les dynamiques ayant conduit à la généralisation des conflits armés dans le monde musulman. Mobilisant un certain nombre de facteurs historiques et sociaux, l'auteur déconstruit l'hypothèse selon laquelle la religion est le principal facteur d'antagonisme.
Pour accéder à l'article "Pourquoi le monde musulman est devenu l’épicentre des conflits mondiaux", veuillez suivre ce lien.
Following civil war, re-establishing the legitimacy of a state’s army is a crucial part of security sector reform and international actors can aid this process. The capacity-building work of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon provides a useful example of this.
For full access to the report Walking the blue line: Lebanon's security sector reform, kindly follow the link.
The Centre for Security Governance (CSG) hosted the third in a series of eight online seminars focusing on the theme of “Contemporary Debates on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding.” The event examined the regional refugee crisis fuelled by conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, with a particular focus on Syrian refugees. The distinguished panellists discussed how the refugee and IDP crisis should factor into peacebuilding approaches throughout the region. Some of the key topics and questions that arose as part of the discussion included the ability of refugees to play a constructive role in peacebuilding, the potential for refugee flows to create conflict and instability in the bordering countries, the economic conditions facing refugees as well as the educational opportunities available to refugee children in neighboring countries.
To access the eSeminar n°6 - Refugees, IDPs and Peacebuilding in the Contemporary Middle East, kindly follow the link.