The Christian Science Monitor

Russia-Lebanon deal? What the resurgent power sees in Syria's tiny neighbor.

At first glance, it may seem unclear why resurgent world power Russia, flush with success after restoring its regional foothold in Syria, would show much interest in Lebanon.

The tiny country on the eastern Mediterranean, once a vassal state of its far more powerful neighbor Syria, a former Soviet client, is grappling with a long list of political and economic woes.

It has a tangled sectarian political system that often throttles progress; it hosts some 1.5 million Syrian refugees, the highest per capita refugee population in the world; it suffers from a stagnant economy; and it is saddled with crippling debt. In addition, Lebanon seems forever perched on the edge of a potentially catastrophic war between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah organization, the dominant political

What Lebanon risksCompetition in SyriaCounterweight to Hezbollah

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