Friday, August 17, 2012

Lebanon and the Syria Crisis

Originally posted at E-International Relations.  Cross-posted at From the Field.
With the battle for Aleppo continuing and Syria on a course to civil war, neighboring Lebanon finds itself in a precarious spot. Sectarian divisions, especially between Sunni and Shi’i Muslims, have deepened in Lebanon over the past decade, particularly since the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005, the 2006 war with Israel, and the Hezbollah-led incursion into West Beirut in 2008.  The Syria crisis has further exacerbated communal fault-lines. As Syrian refugees pour in, the Lebanese have become increasingly divided on just how they feel their government should respond to the crisis. Periodic clashes in Tripoli along the aptly named “Syria Street”, where an Alawi community abuts a Sunni majority illustrate how quickly transplanted Syrian enmities may explode, and how powerless rival political elites may be to dampen the violence.
As some Lebanese fight amongst themselves and with their newfound Syrian refugee neighbors, the question is whether Lebanon can avoid being sucked
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