January 6, 2014 | Quoted by Paul Alster, Fox News
Syrian Civil War Bleeds Into Beirut, as Terror Groups Clash
Syria's bloody civil war has spread to the streets of Beirut, where it threatens to destroy the hard-fought progress Lebanon's capital has made in coming back from its own civil war that lasted from 1975-1990.
The country that has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of a war that killed more than 120,000 is being dragged into Syria’s vicious struggle because of Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. That has Al Qaeda, which backs the Syrian rebels, mounting attacks against Hezbollah on the streets of Beirut, once viewed as the Paris of the Middle East. A series of car bombs, assassinations and over-the-border missile attacks have occurred in recent weeks.
Lebanon, a country with a 40-percent Christian population, could become the next front in the war for the rival Muslim Sunni and Shia militias, backed respectively by bitter regional rivals Iran (Shia) and Saudi Arabia (Sunni).
According to Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an expert on Lebanese affairs, the LAF has been heavily infiltrated by Hezbollah, so it would take a great deal more than Saudi money to significantly change the status quo.
”The idea that you can just put in $3 billion dollars and eradicate Hezbollah is nonsensical,” Badran told FoxNews.com. “However, what you can do is buy a stake in it and maybe establish a loyal division of your own. It introduces an element that could break Hezbollah’s domination [of the army].”
While there are some Lebanese Sunnis fighting in Syria, Badran believes that Hezbollah’s role in the Syrian war was always going to drag Lebanon into the conflict.
“Hezbollah is a major party in the conflict in Syria with a chain of leadership stretching all the way to Tehran,” Badran said. “And in terms of it being a strategic base for the conflict it was bound to happen that the conflict would eventually catch up with Lebanon.”