MidEast

Former PM: Lebanon On Brink of “Collapse” as Hezbollah Stokes Sectarian Conflict

Hezbollah has brought Lebanon to the brink of outright disintegration, according to former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora:

“Hezbollah is serving Syria and Iran at the expense of the Lebanese,” ex-Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told reporters. He said President Michel Suleiman should launch an initiative “to stop the state’s collapse and give the Lebanese hope. Siniora, head of the Future Movement that is part of the “March 14” coalition opposed to Syrian influence in Lebanon, said March 14 had sent a memorandum to Suleiman calling for the deployment of the army on the northern border with Syria, and suggesting a role for United Nations peacekeepers there.

Diplomats and analysts have in recent days blamed Hezbollah for fomenting Sunni-Shiite and intra-Arab tensions across the region.

In Lebanon specifically,. Sectarian clashes in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon this week left six people injured and at least one dead. Meanwhile a Sunni jihadist group posted a video to YouTube announcing the formation of brigades designed to battle Hezbollah on Lebanese territory in retaliation for Hezbollah’s attacks on opposition forces inside Syria:

LEBANESE BRIGADE: Fadi Ahmad Abdul Qader shows the camera that he is a Lebanese citizen as he announces the formation of the Sunni Ahrar al-Kharoub, a brigade that will operate under the Free Syrian Army command “to support our people in Syria.” The battalion was established as a “reaction to Hezbollah’s public interference in Syria, and we promise him we will respond to his acts of killing against women and children.” Abdul Qader promises the response to Hezbollah will be both “inside and outside of Lebanon.” The brigade’s recruits then recite an oath to “defend our religion, honor, and land inside Lebanese and Syrian lands.” The brigade formation comes as four Lebanese Shiites were ambushed and killed in the Bekaa Valley on Sunday, with Hezbollah accusing Sunnis based in the nearby town of Arsal of being behind the assassinations.

Lebanese territory has been attacked by both sides of the Syrian war, and – after an attack by the regime earlier this month – the Lebanese army threatened to retaliate against future attacks. The dynamic has deepened fears that Lebanon may be formally dragged into the Syrian conflict, which has now killed some 90,000 people.

[Photo: bave baran max / Youtube]