Why Lebanon is Important

Steven LeBlanc

The series of blasts that have targeted Alawite-dominated areas in the Syrian capital Damascus over the past days aim to fan the flames of sectarian anger in the country.
At least 11 people were killed and scores of others wounded when a booby-trapped car sliced through Damascus’ al-Mazeh 86 district, a district known for being dominated by the Alawite minority, to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs.

But most disturbing was the October 19th assassination of Sunni General Wissam al-Hassan in Lebanon–a reminder of just how fragile the peace in Lebanon is. Wissam al-Hassan, a top Lebanese security official was a longtime critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; he paid with his life for criticizing Assad.

The Sunni community was enraged by the act—Syria is ruled by the Al Assad family which is a friend of Iran. Could this be a forerunner of things to come in Lebanon—a renewed Shia, Sunni war that could again ravage that tiny nation?

The fear is that the Syrian civil war may spread to Lebanon…this in turn could create a panic in the world oil markets. Syria still exerts considerable political clout in Lebanon despite having withdrawn its troops in 2005.

Lebanon is a tiny country that lies just north of Israel, it has a population of just 4.3 million people. The country is held together by a loose cabal of adversarial factions. The country recognizes 17 religious sects. 27% of the population is Sunni; 27% Shia; 41% Christian; 5% Druze. Ethnic loyalty far outweighs any loyalty to the State. People look to Militias to protect them.

Intelligence sources are reporting that a growing number of Sunnis are looking to extreme Islamist groups to serve as that protective hallo. Tensions between Sunnis and Shiites is rising. Don’t forget that the Shiite militia in Lebanon and political movement is backed by Iran and Syria.

Lebanon could quickly erupt into civil war. As Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime falters, Shiite militant group Hezbollah is working on a strategy to ensure its long-term survival. Hezbollah’s goal is to maintain a strong military, and economic presence in Lebanon; Iran shares Hezbollah’s aim of ensuring that the militant group maintains a strong long-term presence in the Levant.

Sunnis on both sides of the Syria-Lebanon border, are being encouraged by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France and the United States, to take advantage of Hezbollah’s dilemma. Syria is struggling to survive and cannot offer Hezbollah the support it once enjoyed. Iran still supports Hezbollah, but Iran is having financial problems and is limited in its ability to aid their friends.

Looking at the wider Middle East landscape–Arab unity is a rare occurrence, but slowly a common goal is bringing the different peoples of the Arab world together. This common purpose is the desire to destroy the nation of Israel and its greatest friend, the United States.

In the future Lebanon will be involved with other Arab nations in a push to destroy Israel. Read Psalm 83: 4,6-8–The prophecy reads, in part, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more…The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot”

Lebanon (Gebal) and Tyre play a prominent role in Psalm 83. Gebal was an important Phoenician port city “between Sidon and Arvad (see Josh. 13:5; 1 Kin. 5:18). It was called Byblos by the Greeks and Romans, and Gubla by the Assyrians and Babylonians.” The Phoenician city is today known as Jbail or Jubayl in Lebanon, 25 miles north of Beirut.

Why is Lebanon important? It is the home of the terrorist regime Hezbollah—it is highly probable that Hezbollah will go to war against Israel in the near future. A new civil war in that tiny country would create a much greater uncertainty in the Middle East—and uncertainty in that part of the world almost always leads to war. Syria is unraveling—Lebanon may be next, Israel is deeply concerned that civil wars may bring even more dangerous leaders into positions of power.

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