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Bombing In Beirut As Syrian War Sparks Lebanese Conflict

A week after a former minister critical of Hezbollah was killed by a car bomb, another bombing targeted a Hezbollah headquarters.
Posted at 8:26 PM, Jan 02, 2014

A bombing in a Beirut suburb killed at least four people and injured dozens more, and analysts are calling it a sign the civil war in neighboring Syria is starting to spill over into Lebanon.

"The Lebanese capital has been hit by a series of bombs in recent months, much of it linked to the war in neighboring Syria. Last week, a former finance minister died in a car bomb that also killed four other people." (Via Euronews)

That minister, Mohamad Chatah, was an outspoken critic of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad and of Hezbollah, while the latest bombing targeted a Hezbollah headquarters. (Via PBS)

No group has taken responsibility for either bombing, so it's impossible to know for sure if there's some kind of back-and-forth retaliation going on. But considering how Syria has become a proxy battle for Lebanon's Sunni and Shiite militias, it seems like a safe bet.

"Hezbollah, whose stronghold was targeted today, has sent fighters to Syria to join President Assad's forces, while Sunni Muslim fighters have fought for rebels trying to topple him." (Via ITV)

"Both sides suggest their involvement in Syria is a counterweight to the other and have repeatedly said that importing the war to Lebanon serves neither of them." (Via The Guardian)

Another safe bet: the longer the Syrian conflict goes on, the worse the situation in Lebanon will get.

"Many Lebanese that I've been speaking with these past several weeks do believe this is only going to get worse the longer the Syrian civil war goes on."
​"If this goes on for months and months in Lebanon the country will collapse, the economy will collapse, the security systems will collapse."
(Via CNN)

On a broader scale, while Lebanese tensions are being played out both at home and in Syria, global sectarian tensions are being played out in Lebanon. Last week the Sunni Saudi government gave the Lebanese army $3 billion, most likely to challenge the dominance of Hezbollah, which is backed by Shiite Iran. (Via Lebanon National News Agency)