Global Politics

Lebanon follow-up

I'm worried, as are most Lebanese, that the country is descending into civil war again. (Do you not have faith in the government army and forces to stop the acceleration of fighting?) This is beyond the government's ability to control. people are very polarized and they're armed and ready to take to the street. (Can you break it down for us? Who are the various sides?) The opposition members, headed by Hezbollah, are largely a Shia party and they're armed and has a long history of fighting against Israeli troops in Lebanon. They're in the southern suburbs of Beirut and they're against the government which is led largely by the Sunnis. So this is largely a conflict on Shia-Sunni lines. (And what about the Christian population in Lebanon?) They're divided. Some are behind the opposition and some are behind the government. But the Christians play only a minor role. (What are they fighting for?) Basically this is a competition between two grand political lines in Syria. Hezbollah is backed by Syria and Iran and they want Lebanon to fight the Israelis and for Hezbollah to stay armed. Of course the government loyalists who want to rebuild Lebanon and extend state sovereignty, want Hezbollah to be disarmed and they're backed by the US and moderate Muslims. (Do you have any plans to leave?) It's difficult to tell at this point. I still have hope that sanity could be found and we'll arrive at a compromise.

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