For almost a year and a half, Syria has been sliding inexorably into civil war. The smaller next-door state of Lebanon had its own bloody 15-year civil war from 1975-1990. What is increasingly worrying is whether the growing violence in Syria will start to spill over into Lebanon.
In March 2011, I travelled throughout both Syria and Lebanon and you can read the account of my trip here. During my time in the Levant, I read a book about Lebanon called “Beware Of Small States” written by David Hirst and you can read my review here.
“Syria has assumed the role that Lebanon itself used to play: as the battleground of a regional and international proxy war that will shape the destiny of the entire Middle East. Basically, it pits the Syrian regime, along with Iranian and Russian backers, against the Syrian rebels, Arab regimes (led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar) and the US.
With Syria as the main arena, Lebanon’s role in this proxy war can be only a subsidiary one. But that will render it no less real, and potentially unpleasant, for the Lebanese. The country’s main fault line – once Christian versus Muslim – now mirrors that of the region at large, Sunni versus Shia Islam.”