News / Middle East

Lebanon Bomb Raises Fears of Further Sectarian Violence

A woman walks over shattered glass, past damaged cars near the site of an explosion in Beirut's southern suburbs, Jul. 9, 2013.
A woman walks over shattered glass, past damaged cars near the site of an explosion in Beirut's southern suburbs, Jul. 9, 2013.
The explosion that tore through a southern suburb of the Lebanese capital Tuesday is prompting yet more fears that Lebanon risks being dragged into the civil war raging in neighboring Syria. 
 
The explosion was viewed here by many analysts as apparent retaliation by Sunni militants for the Shi'ite Hezbollah movement's military support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The bomb exploded at mid-morning in the densely populated southern suburb of Dahyeh, where the bombers managed to breach heavy security and maneuver the car into Hezbollah's so-called "security square" where many of the movement's leadership work and live. 
 
For some analysts the bombing doesn't come as a surprise.
 
Lebanese author Michael Young warns that Syria's sectarian-based civil war and Hezbollah's role in it is worsening divisions between Lebanese Sunni Muslims and Shi'ites.
 
"It doesn't like to be tagged just as a sectarian Shi'ite party. But the relations between Lebanon's Shi'ites and Sunnis have been tense for several years particularly after the 2006 war. So the fact that today they are intervening on the side of the Syrian regime has really only exacerbated a problem that has been there for several years," he said. 
 
Lebanon is deeply divided over the Syrian conflict next door. The majority of Sunnis support the opposition, while Shi'ites back President Bashar al-Assad, one of Hezbollah's regional patrons along with Iran. The violence from Syria has spilled over to Lebanon with occasional armed clashes, most recently in Sidon between Sunni militants and the Lebanese army that left 18 soldiers dead.
 
Tuesday's attack is not the first this year on Hezbollah's Beirut suburb. Back in May, less than 12 hours after the Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, gave a speech acknowledging his Shia militia was intervening in Syria, rockets were launched from the foothills of the Druze mountains targeting the suburb but fell short. It wasn't clear who fired them - as it isn't clear who was responsible for Tuesday's car bombing.
 
The country's president, Michel Suleiman, echoed the fears of many Lebanese when he denounced Tuesday's explosion saying it was a "reminder of the black days experienced by the Lebanese in the past." 
 
The biggest worry is that attacks like Tuesday's bombing could re-ignite Lebanon's brutal sectarian civil war of 1975-1990 that left 120,000 dead.
 
Retired general Hisham Jaber believes that the situation can be controlled and that neither Hezbollah nor Sunni militants want a full-scale conflict on Lebanese soil as the country is useful as a logistical base for both sides when it comes to Syria. But he warns that may not always be the case. 
 
"But let me be frank with you. If the situation in Syria will change in a dramatic way, let's say the regime will collapse, let's say there is any dramatic change in Damascus or the assassination of the head of the regime. In this case it will move directly to Lebanon and we will lose control," he said. 
 
How Hezbollah reacts to the car bombing in its stronghold will prove crucial.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 10, 2013 7:36 AM
No deal. Hezbollah has only been invited into a terrain it understands very well. So let the game start - a Hezbollah reprisal inside Syria that will eventually end up its stranglehold inside Lebanon.


by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
July 10, 2013 1:42 AM
This is the game of Hazzbullah enemy.My main concern how enemy can enter security zone and did what he wants. I think this is the duty of Lebanon Govt to provide safety and security of all its citizen without any discrimination. They have to catch the culpirit and gave them heavey punishment. This is my observation that even in past they never caught the main culpirit and their main sponsor. Unless and until they improve their security and justice system, i don't think graph will go down or rather graph will go up with speed.


by: michael from: jams
July 09, 2013 10:13 PM
Chinese secret Communist Party from me to do 20 years of human mental abuse test, then cattle people to do so super rogue vile thing, with very powerful nano-molecules control the abuse of one I like ordinary people. The key is way more mental abuse for a long time. In the past too. The difference is now clear that the dark past of abuse of abuse. I head to the current or deformity. Uncomfortable past every day, every day, insomnia, primarily the spine, heart and head are controlled and carried out to match the color Chuhuo mental abuse. And side urging me from time to time there is excitement excitement edges mental abuse, and controls my every thought, mainly body is a nano-molecules, especially the head.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid