Who ever had the opportunity to travel to the Beqaa Valley, like I had today, will soon have realised just how difficult it is to hold control over a state like Lebanon.
The coast of Lebanon has always been a place to trade and exchange between different countries and empires. Tyros, Saida, Byblos or Tripolis focuse on the sea for millenniums now, and no wonder, considering the Lebanon mountains rising behind their backs. This is the Lebanon that most foreigners are aware of.
But this is just one half.
Behind the mountains, between the Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon, which borders to Syria, lies the Beqaa Valley. Partly green and partly dry, this is the other half. Including Baalbek, this old, tremendous, never completed temple of the Romans, in which they invested centuries of work.
How they were able to build all of this seems to be a miracle, even for today. In fact, there is only one big street connecting the coast and the valley. This street, starting from Beirut and heading straight towards the east, enters Beqaa at the town of Chtoura. In a single crossroads, the entirety of the vehicles in the region seems to meet, an awful chaos.
That a country like Lebanon, without a long tradition of statehood anyway, faces huge difficulties in controlling this area, seems intelligible. No surprise, the valley is seen by many as an „outlaw-area“, and it was here were Iran was able to build and arm the Hezbollah militia.