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

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora