Syria’s civil war is bleeding over the border into its fragile neighbor to the west. As many as six people were killed in Tripoli, and dozens more were wounded. Reports suggest that snipers in the city center were to blame for some of the casualties. A dozen people were killed in fighting between Hezbollah guerrillas and Syrian rebels in Lebanon. In the southern city of Sidon, assassins tried to kill a pro-Hezbollah Sunni cleric, and another pro-Hezbollah Sunni leader’s car came under machine-gun fire in the Bekaa Valley.Many Lebanese are fighting on one side or the other in the war next door, and, as this weekend’s spike in violence suggests, the violence isn’t confined just to Syria. Conflicts in Lebanon follow similar patterns: Sunni versus Shia, Hezbollah versus Sunni militias. With Lebanon’s government and national army divided and weak, the situation may deteriorate.These are the consequences of not intervening earlier in the Syrian civil war. At any point in the conflict, acting to stop the violence would have been difficult and messy, but as time goes on, the options grow worse and worse.With a thousand people dead in Iraq’s bloodiest month in five years, and Turkey also now dealing with what seems to be serious domestic unrest, and Egypt still broke and unstable, the Middle East doesn’t seem ready to let the Obama administration pursue its “pivot” toward Asia. Over the weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the US was “pushing forward” with the pivot and committed to maintaining security in Asia. That’s going to get harder and harder to achieve as the Middle East from Basra to Beirut continues to burn.
Violence Spikes in Lebanon as Syria War Leaks Out