Lebanon Unrest Marks Worst Crisis in Years

Bombing and Riots Could Reflect Spillover From Syria War

By Reuters

Published October 22, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

The Beirut car bomb that killed a top Lebanese security official will probably prove to be the most destabilising attack in Lebanon since the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.

What is less clear - and this is something that instils fear in a society still scarred by its 1975-90 civil war - is whether the attack was a reprisal or the start of a campaign of violence by Damascus and its allies, suspected by many Lebanese of trying to spread Syria’s conflict across its borders.

Lebanon, which has yet to fully overcome its own wartime sectarian divisions, is too fragile to withstand being enveloped by a Syrian conflict that is beginning to mirror Lebanon’s own slide into fratricidal bloodletting.

Wissam al-Hassan, the security official who died with seven others on Friday, was buried with full honours in an emotional state funeral on Sunday at the Rafik al-Hariri mosque, the heart of the former premier’s reconstruction legacy in central Beirut.

The funeral turned into a political rally against Syria and its local allies in Lebanon.

Hassan is thought to have been targeted because in August, after a carefully planned sting operation, his Internal Security Forces intelligence unit arrested a former Lebanese cabinet minister close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The minister, Michel Samaha, is charged with transporting Syrian-assembled bombs to launch attacks on sectarian targets in Lebanon. Two Syrian officers, including General Ali Mamlouk, were indicted with Samaha in a humiliating blow to Assad and an unprecedented move against Lebanon’s dominant neighbour.

EVIDENCE UNCOVERED

Hassan also led the investigation into Hariri’s murder and uncovered evidence that implicated Syria and Hezbollah, although both deny the charge. An international tribunal accused several Hezbollah members of involvement in the murder.

“There is a probability that this will be the start of a new period in which we will see more assassinations, bombings and other problems,” said Sarkis Naoum, a columnist and Syria expert.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.