Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bringing the Syrian war to Lebanon

Beirut: Qusayr's fall to the Syrian regime and Hezbollah have reignited rhetoric that armed groups opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could begin operations inside Lebanon.

"Hezbollah fighters are invading Syrian territory. And when they continue to do that and the Lebanese authorities don't take any action to stop them coming to Syria, I think we are allowed to fight Hezbollah fighters inside [Lebanese] territory," said General Selim Idriss of the Free Syrian Army to the BBC.

Hezbollah's involvement in Syria has drawn numerous reactions from the FSA in recent months, including threats that the FSA would march on Dahiyeh or engage Hezbollah in Lebanon. To date, none of these threats has been acted upon.

In a recent interview with a seasoned Lebanese journalist closely affiliated with Sunni Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, I was told that Jabhat al-Nusra and certain Sunnis in Lebanon are waiting to bring the war here. He said Nusra will follow Hezbollah back into Lebanon and when that happens Lebanese Sunnis will join the fight.

As the journalist said, "from central Iraq to Lebanon...the Sunni-Shiite war has started."

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