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Lebanon And The Killing Fields.

How dangerous it is for a Lebanese from North Lebanon to cross into Syria to fight with the opposition, because he is Sunni, and how dangerous it is for a Lebanese from the Bek to cross into Syria to fight alongside the regime because he is Shiite. How dangerous it is for a Lebanese Shiite to kill a Sunni Syrian on Syrian territory, and for a Lebanese Sunni to kill an Alawite Syrian on Syrian territory.

How dangerous it is for a Shiite Iraqi to cross the border to fight a Sunni Syrian on Syrian territory, and how dangerous it is for a Sunni Iraqi to cross the border to fight an Alawite Syrian on Syrian territory.

We are in the midst of a regional sectarian war, where feelings flow like floods. The problem lies not only in those 'returning from Syria' tomorrow or the day after, the problem is that the Syrian fire is burning national cohesion in countries near and far.

Those who crossed into Syria destroyed the immunity of the border in both directions. They tore up the maps. It became clear that the Sunni wants to connect to the Sunnis in the neighboring country, regardless of the border, and that the Shiite wants to connect to the Alawite, regardless of the border, and that the obstacles that prevent this contact are to be treated as targets for deletion and cancellation. It did not happen that we saw this before; how dangerous it is for a Shiite Lebanese to kill a Sunni Lebanese in Syria, and vice versa. How can they exist in Lebanon if they are fighting in Syria?

The Lebanese have the right to feel very scared, nay, it is their duty to feel deep consternation. What is happening is more serious and horrific than the wars of the seventies and eighties. Previous wars were of a different nature, and their fires and theaters could be reined in somewhat, and a regional power could have been called on to enforce the peace and tutelage, even if at a price. The present wars are different, and have no limits or controls. They are taking place in a different region, and thus we see the killing fields extend from Baghdad to Beirut through Damascus. Iraq is ill, Syria is torn, and Lebanon is a likely murder victim.

We are facing unprecedented scenes. It is no simple thing that the Iranian embassy in Beirut is targeted, on the back of Iranian involvement in Syria. It is no simple thing for the al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades claim responsibility, calling on Hezbollah to pull out its troops from Syria. It is no simple thing for the statement to declare that the attack was "a double martyrdom operation by two heroes of the Sunnis in Lebanon."

The new attack came at a time when Lebanon is still languishing under the weight of the bombings of August. The first bombing shed blood in the (Shiite) southern suburb of Beirut. The second shed blood in (Sunni) Tripoli by targeting mosques during prayers. There is nothing to justify euphemism and avoiding labels anymore Lebanon is officially in the stage of sectarian killing.

If the statement of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades is true, about the identity of the perpetrators, the danger becomes twofold. We are no longer facing the danger of "Iraqization". "Iraqization" is already part of the scene. The bombing in the southern suburb was definitely of this kind, and so were the bombings in Tripoli.

Successive blows hit a country that has lost its immunity, a country that is divided and unable to form a new government, eight months after the previous government resigned. Lebanon is a country that lives under a paralyzed parliament, and a country whose military and security institutions are trying to circumvent the fire without risking to tackle it for reasons that have to do with their internal unity.

The Lebanese did not try to keep the Syrian fire away from their country. They went to it, brought it, and rushed to import it. They became divided and they threw themselves into the fire, some individually and others in an organized public manner. They did not pay heed to the fact that they were playing with their blood and the blood of their children, and that this game was more than Lebanon can bear. They did not realize that Lebanon is threatened with collapse, not only because the collapse of the borders in the region is dangerous, but because the collapse of coexistence invalidates its raison d'etre.

I will not make naive proposals like withdrawing from Syria and mutual concessions to form an inclusive cabinet. I feel like each camp in Lebanon is hostage to its suicidal choices. The winds of "Iraqization" struck Syria, and now, they are blowing on Lebanon. Lebanon is on the path of collapse. It never happened before that Shiite-Sunni relations have deteriorated as much as they have now. Meanwhile, the Christians in Lebanon are too small for the current crisis and its risks, and too small to undertake a historical role that renews the meaning of Lebanon and the rationale for its survival.

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Publication:Dar Al Hayat, International ed. (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Nov 20, 2013
Words:871
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