Showing posts tagged as "sahar attrache"

Showing posts tagged sahar attrache

23 May
Syria Violence Shakes Lebanon’s Fragile Stability | Reuters
By Dominic Evans
Fragile Lebanon’s sectarian tensions, which festered for two decades since the end of its ruinous civil war, have been re-ignited by the turmoil in powerful neighbor Syria and threaten to plunge the country into a sustained period of unrest.
In the northern city of Tripoli, where Sunni Muslims strongly support the 14-month uprising against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, nine people were killed in clashes last week triggered by the arrest of an anti-Assad activist.
The violence spread to the capital on Monday when Sunni gunmen fought street battles in a Beirut neighborhood following the killing of a Sunni cleric, also opposed to Assad, by Lebanese soldiers at an army checkpoint in the northern Akkar province.
On Tuesday, angry Shi’ites blocked roads in southern Beirut in protest against the abduction in northern Syria of a dozen Lebanese Shi’ites by rebels from the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim insurgency against Assad.
"We are entering a phase of protracted instability in Lebanon. There is no direct way in which these events will be fully contained," said Eurasia Group analyst Ayham Kamel.
The Syrian uprising forced Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati into a near-impossible balancing act between diehard supporters and opponents of Assad in a country which was long dominated by Syrian military power.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)
Photo: Xansas/Flickr

Syria Violence Shakes Lebanon’s Fragile Stability | Reuters

By Dominic Evans

Fragile Lebanon’s sectarian tensions, which festered for two decades since the end of its ruinous civil war, have been re-ignited by the turmoil in powerful neighbor Syria and threaten to plunge the country into a sustained period of unrest.

In the northern city of Tripoli, where Sunni Muslims strongly support the 14-month uprising against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, nine people were killed in clashes last week triggered by the arrest of an anti-Assad activist.

The violence spread to the capital on Monday when Sunni gunmen fought street battles in a Beirut neighborhood following the killing of a Sunni cleric, also opposed to Assad, by Lebanese soldiers at an army checkpoint in the northern Akkar province.

On Tuesday, angry Shi’ites blocked roads in southern Beirut in protest against the abduction in northern Syria of a dozen Lebanese Shi’ites by rebels from the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim insurgency against Assad.

"We are entering a phase of protracted instability in Lebanon. There is no direct way in which these events will be fully contained," said Eurasia Group analyst Ayham Kamel.

The Syrian uprising forced Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati into a near-impossible balancing act between diehard supporters and opponents of Assad in a country which was long dominated by Syrian military power.

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

Photo: Xansas/Flickr

12 Dec

Reuters: French accusations put Syria’s allies in spotlight

By Dominic Evans (BEIRUT)

France says it believes Syria was behind an attack on U.N. peacekeepers in south Lebanon. While Paris has no proof, Damascus has plenty of armed supporters who might try to destabilize Lebanon to divert attention from its own turmoil.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe blamed Syria on Sunday, singling out its powerful Lebanese ally Hezbollah which holds sway in southern Lebanon where five French soldiers were wounded in an explosion that wrecked their patrol vehicle last week.

Syria and Hezbollah both denied the charge on Monday, but Syria’s Lebanese opponents have accused Damascus of trying to stir up trouble through proxies who also include Palestinian groups in refugee camps and pro-Syrian political groups.

Analysts said the French accusation was part of an escalating showdown between Western powers demanding President Bashar al-Assad halt the violence in his country, and Syria and its allies, including Iran and Hezbollah.

"France considers itself now as spearheading the campaign against Syria," Lebanese analyst Oussama Safa said. "I think the French see these attacks in the context of this confrontation, and (a sign of) Syria’s tentacles in the region."

Friday’s bombing near the southern city of Tyre was the third attack on UNIFIL forces in Lebanon since the outbreak of protests in neighboring Syria in March. Prior to that, the last attack took place three years earlier in January 2008.

It also followed a rare volley of rockets fired across Lebanon’s southern border into Israel two weeks ago. Another rocket fired on Sunday night failed to cross the frontier, wounding a Lebanese woman in a border village, the army said.

Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006 leading to UNIFIL being beefed up in southern Lebanon, condemned the attack, saying it aimed to destabilize the area. It said Juppe’s accusation was a “great injustice which we completely reject.”

Syria’s foreign ministry also denied any link to the attack and accused France of fabricating charges against Syria.

"MESSAGE FROM BASHAR"

But anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon were even quicker than France to point the blame at Damascus.

"Another Syrian message from Bashar," tweeted former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who was ousted in January when Hezbollah and its pro-Syrian political allies resigned from his unity government.

Hariri did not say exactly who he thought carried out the attack, but Syria has allies in Lebanon where it maintained a military presence for nearly three decades before withdrawing under international pressure in 2005.

"I don’t know whether it’s Hezbollah or someone else. But if you assume it’s a Syrian message, Syria has lots of proxies in Lebanon and it could be any of them," said Sahar Attrache, an analyst with the International Crisis Group.

"But I would also assume that Hezbollah wouldn’t mind these sort of messages being sent."

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)