Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 11:02 | SYDNEY
Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 11:02 | SYDNEY

Lebanon: The hidden threat


Rodger Shanahan


22 July 2008 16:33

While the May takeover of West Beirut and return of prisoners held in Israeli jails has highlighted the power of the Shi‘a Hizbullah militia, little has been heard of armed Sunni groups since the fighting against Fatah al-Islam at Nahr al Barid  refugee camp last year. The success of the army at Nahr al-Barid has not stopped further outbreaks of violence both in the north and the south this year.

This article shows the difficulty Lebanese authorities have in maintaining control over disparate Lebanese Sunni groups, let alone Palestinian Sunnis battling for control over the self-regulating refugee camps, which also occurred this week. 

There is a concern that Hizbullah’s easy victory over forces loyal to Saad Hariri in West Beirut may cause Sunni Lebanese to seek a balance of power by returning to armed party militias, or perhaps to sub-contract this job to radical Sunni groups. Either way, the new unity government is likely to have more complex issues to deal with in the future than just establishing a new electoral law for the country.