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Lebanon Catching Fire?


Black smoke billowed above Tripoli, a large port city in northern Lebanon, this morning after explosions hit two mosques; early reports say that at least 27 people were killed and 400 wounded. The Taqwa and Salam mosques have hosted some of the most vitriolic of Lebanon’s Sunni preachers who have been criticizing Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group fighting in Syria alongside Butcher Assad’s soldiers.

“We are at the beginning of the storm,” a former police chief told a local TV station. The explosions will “worsen an already bitter divide between the country’s Shiite and Sunni populations, likely leading to reprisal attacks,” the WSJ reports. In fact, today’s explosions are probably reprisal attacks—18 people were killed and hundreds wounded when a car bomb tore through a Hezbollah neighborhood in Beirut last week.

There can be little doubt then that Lebanon’s religious divide is becoming frighteningly violent. Supporters and opponents of Butcher Assad, including Hezbollah, which has sent hundreds of fighters to take part in battles against the Syrian rebels, are fighting each other at home in Lebanon. Street battles have gripped Tripoli off and on for months now. In addition, someone fired rockets toward Israel from southern Lebanon yesterday; the al Qaeda-allied Abdullah Azzam Brigade took credit for the salvo. Presumably this was meant to draw Israel into the Syrian hellfire.

The civil war in Syria looks more and more like a regional conflagration every day with no signs of simmering down.

[Lebanese citizens gather outside al-Salam mosque, near the house of former Lebanese police chief Ashraf Rifi, at the site of a powerful explosion in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on August 23, 2013. Photo courtesy of Getty Images]

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