Saturday, July 14, 2007

"Summer Wars in Lebanon?"

For those who missed Anthony Cordesman's June 22nd report, here.
Lebanon is already involved in four potential struggles:

(1) A Syrian effort to restore influence, if not control.

(2) The rebuilding and restructuring of Hezbollah military power as both a means to gaining power in Lebanon and as an Iranian and Syrian supported threat to Israel.

(3) Confessional struggles for power reflected in a major division between a Christian-Sunni Prime Minister and a slim majority of Parliament and a Presidency with Syrian and Hezbollah ties, and

(4) A struggle against the emergence of Sunni Islamist extremist movements with ties to Al Qa’ida that has led to clashes between the Lebanese Army and extremists in Palestinian Camps, but which involves Lebanese supporters of Al Qa’ida as well.
None of these struggles need turn into a “war,” but all of them can. They also interact, not only with internal developments in Lebanon, but developments in Israeli-Syrian relations, regional tensions with Iran, Palestinian struggles, and conflicts involving Sunni Islamist extremist movements like Al Qa’ida. The question of who will use whom interacts with the question of how far things can escalate, and no one can predict the outcome.

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