Hothouse of Tension in Lebanon

[New York Times] Robert F. Worth - Much is riding on the Lebanese elections, scheduled for next spring. Hizbullah and its allies stand to gain a parliamentary majority for the first time. That would be another striking setback for American policy in the region, and would probably make Israel view all of Lebanon, not just Hizbullah, as its enemy in future wars. Sectarian tensions have grown worse in northern Lebanon, feeding extremist sentiment and prompting more citizens to arm themselves. Several Islamist leaders said they were stockpiling weapons to be used for protection against Hizbullah or Syria. Although Syria withdrew from Lebanon in 2005, it retains armed allies - including the Alawite community in Tripoli - and a network of agents in the Lebanese security services. The conflict sometimes resembles a proxy war, with the Sunnis in the north drawing support, directly or indirectly, from Saudi Arabia, which is locked in a bitter diplomatic feud with Syria.

2008-10-16 01:00:00

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