The Middle East Institute is proud to host journalist and author Jonathan C. Randal for a discussion about the impact of the conflict in Syria on neighboring Lebanon and its complicated religious and ethnic make-up. A tired joke among Lebanese asks why their much-battered country has been spared most of the turmoil that has attended the Arab Spring and its often violent ramifications elsewhere in the Middle East. The jest's cynical answer: because Lebanon is automatically seeded for the finals. Such gallows humor reflects fears Lebanon will end up footing the bill whether the Alawite regime prevails in Damascus or succumbs to the largely Sunni Syrian opposition. Once again, the region's minorities feel threatened by outsiders' geostrategic considerations pitting Iran and its Syrian and Hezbollah allies against the United States. Europe, and the Gulf monarchies. Will the Syria conflict, like so many earlier Middle East conflicts, end up undermining, the role and status of the Levant's Christian and other minority communities? Randal will draw from his many decades covering Lebanon for the Washington Post and from his book about Lebanon's civil war, Going All the Way: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventurers and the War in Lebanon (1983, Viking Press) which has been reissued by Just World Books with an all-new preface as The Tragedy of Lebanon: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventurers and American Bunglers.
Bio: Jonathan C. Randal began his long and distinguished career in journalism in Paris in 1957 as a stringer for United Press and Agence France-Presse. He spent the next 40 plus years working as foreign correspondent for the Paris Herald, TIME, The New York Times and for the Washington Post (from 1969 through 1998), where as senior foreign correspondent he reported from numerous war zones and covered conflict in sub-Saharan Africa, Indochina, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, including in Iran and Lebanon. He is the author of Going All the Way: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventurers and the War in Lebanon (1983); After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness? My Encounters With Kurdistan (1997); and Osama, The Making of a Terrorist (2004).