Der Spiegel reports: The war in Syria and its wave of refugees is destabilizing and overwhelming Lebanon. Now there are fears the hundreds of thousands of newcomers will never want to leave, and the sectarian conflict will worsen.
General Ibrahim Bachir saw it coming. He has been warning the government for over two years now: Stop wasting time and start building refugee camps to deal with the influx of Syrian refugees, he told them.
But the deeply divided and ineffective government authorities in Lebanon did nothing, he says — and now it’s too late: “We have all these problems,” the general says, “criminals, prostitutes and beggars everywhere — across the entire country!”
Bachir, 60, heads the High Relief Commission, the state agency charged with helping the masses of refugees fleeing the conflict in neighboring Syria. “But how is such a small country supposed to accommodate so many refugees?” he asks. “One in four people here is now a Syrian refugee.” [Continue reading…]