Lebanon is a nation blessed with natural beauty, but cursed by ongoing rivalry between opposing religious and sectarian factions which refuse to live in harmony with one another. Deadly gun battles between rival sectarian factions in the northern city of Tripoli have temporarily ended as the nation’s military entered the area in order to restore some semblance of peace and order. During the past few months dozens have people have been killed, and, as a resident in Bab Tibbaneh noted, “after the battles there is blood on the ground. Things will get worse. There is fear.”
In theory, the Doha agreement of last months created a national unity government in hope there could be an end to violence but there are so many groups and rivalries within Lebanon, the prospect of peace ever grows dimmer. The latest episode involved Alwaite gunmen who belong to a pro-Syrian party and Sunnis who oppose the Syrians. The Alawites are a small secretive sect of Islam who have close ties to fellow Alawites in Syria and fear being overwhelmed unless there is a Syrian presence.
Lebanon essentially has ceased to be a nation and is now reduced to rival groups vying for power.