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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid