Dimitris Rapidis

Turmoil and violence in Syria are getting transformed into an extinction run. The forces of President Assad and the opposite units are still fighting in every street of Syria giving the field for other radical and fundamentalist militia groups to get in and spread the war in the neighbouring countries.

Lebanon, an inherently volatile and conflict-suffering state, is now the scene of atrocities and turmoil with a patchwork of groups supporting Assad and the Sunni rebels getting entangled in local clashes. In other words, the unrest against Assad in Syria while being started as a literally anti-regime combat in order to throw him down from power, not only turned out to be a bloodshed but lately it seems to take wider dimensions melting the very meaning of the conflict and transform it into a religious struggle.

Assad comes from an inner circle of Shiite Islam, the Alawites, which are also found in many parts of Lebanon. Back in the mid-1970s a 15-year long religious clash between Shiite, Sunni and Christians outburst in Lebanon with thousands of casualties and people being fled to adjacent countries. This clash despite being ceased down in 1990, seems to re-ignite now that Sunni rebels and Alawites are getting struggled for power in Syria. Lebanon has always been a vulnerable state, allegedly fostering Islamist groups linked with Hezbollah in the recent past -an accusation initially stemmed from Israel and an assumption that is hard to either prove or override it.

The major issue occuring is that the battles over control in Syria are now threatening to reopen rivalries in Lebanon, with the city of Tripoli being in the center of strife. Alongside, there is also a wave of abductions stemming both from outside and inside Syria. Only in August 11 Lebanon Shiites were captured by Syria rebels, whereas 48 Iranians were abducted near the capital Damascus, including a Turkish businessman allegedly visiting Lebanon for a job affair.

It is fair enough to say that after this major shift in the essence of the anti-Assad struggle, predictions in what will follow in Syria can be hardly pondered. Neither the Olympics in London and the truce during the games could not cease down the fight, nor the Ramadan could not step down the spread of the war; it is apparent that the current situation is much more perplexed to solve it now that it is taking a religious character.

A worst case scenario could be the prolongation of the fight and the inclusion of Iran and Turkey in the conflict, as it seems they are getting directly affected both by the hostage-taking practice and the role Kurdish communities can play in the next months. This scenario seems timely possible, given also that the UN Security Council is observing rather than acting to press for cease-fire.

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  1. Hi, I totally agree with your views and predictions’ not to say that I’m an expert! My opinion, from the start, in Libya, Egypt etc, the so called cry for liberty from dictators, was but the incognito of bigger and wider objectives, with a definite religious tone to it. Religion has always been the trigger to most wars; this is no different and although I would wish to believe otherwise, I think this is the beginnings of the Muslim Brotherhood´s strive to power within all Arab (Middle East) countries. I don’t stand in judgment of who´s in the right, or wrong of said events, and of what seems like an inevitable outcome to the area! I believe that outsiders should remain out of these events for several reasons, the main being the incorrect actions eventually taken will lead to historical re-writes of ungratefulness, accusations and the need to blame the west for all the wrong happenings! They first demand!!! not ask!! for intervention on the part of the people, the same people who cheered the twin towers!! Who call the west non believers etc. The west then arms them, so later they return the favour by using those same weapons on the West. It´s been done in the past, when will the west learn to let them do what comes naturally to them, these religious ethnic wars have are older than the new world, and if they wish to kill each other, leave them to it on their own, close the doors to support and be neutral. This way they have only each other to blame! It´s unbelievable how the media love to get the carnage, of the innocent. The only problem is it´s all planned, the culprits are those who hide in civilian areas, knowing full well that it will be targeted!! So who are the criminals then, those who deliberately make the civilians targets, or those who fire the weapons?
    I say let them sort it out themselves and leave us out of it, that way they can’t blame the west!!

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