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Monday, March 11, 2013

Lebanon Ready to Blow

Michael Totten warns that northern Lebanon is on the edge of being dragged into the Syrian war. He writes:
Lebanon always looks and feels like it's ready to erupt into armed conflict, but today it's more ready than usual. The Syrian civil war next door weighs heavily on this place. Sunnis and Alawites are fighting round after round with no end in sight in the city of Tripoli, and now the Northern Bekaa Valley, between Mount Lebanon and the Syrian border, is likewise gearing up to explode.
Lebanese citizens in that region are already killing each other. The only reason their part of the country hasn't yet turned into a war zone is because they're killing each other on the other side of the border, which lies a mere handful of miles from where they reside. They're crossing into Syria to shoot at each other before hunkering down in an unnerving balance of terror when they return home.

The two sides are composed of Sunni and Shia Muslims. “Both communities,” Nicholas Blanford wrote in Beirut's Daily Star, “are rooted in strong tribal traditions, have a general disdain for the authority of the state, are fiercely independent, have a history of militancy, are well armed and, most pertinently, have chosen to actively back opposing sides in Syria’s civil war raging just across the border.”

Lebanon's Sunnis by and large support the Free Syrian Army while most of Lebanon's Shias support the regime of Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah's second-tier patron after Iran.
 Just the next phase in the Sunni-Shiite war.

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