Monday, April 29, 2013

The Shia street waiting: Syrian rebels' attacks on Shiites drag Lebanon into conflict

Photo by Nadezhda Kevorkova  

In order to engage Lebanese Hezbollah, the most powerful military group of the Islamic world, in the civil war Syrian rebels attack Shia sacred places and target 30, 000 Syrian Shia Muslims who live on the border with Lebanon.

Hezbollah is doing everything to delay its involvement.

Hezbollah is proud of the fact that it was not involved in the Lebanese Civil War in 1970-1990s and was able to bring all Lebanese parties and communities together. Hezbollah has always supported the Palestinians, had been liked by the people in Lebanon and Muslims in other countries. For 17 years, Hamas headquarters have been located in Daheih, Hezbollah controlled suburb of Beirut. This was a model for political and military cooperation between Shias and Sunnis. It’s all gone now – there is no united front, no solidarity, no joint resistance, which, according to Hezbollah, the party fought and suffered for, paying with the lives of its courageous soldiers. Now instead of this solidarity, Syrian rebels declared war on the Shias.

Political nuisance

Last week, there were two outrageous incidents in Lebanon. These events were supposed to prove that people in Lebanon don’t support Hezbollah. Some activists caught a Syrian refugee in Tripoli, put a sign over his neck, saying “I am Alawite Shabiha” and paraded him around town. (Shabiha is a colloquial term, it means “mobster”, the rebels use this word for the Syrian neighborhood watch units).

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