For more than a year, violence in Syria has been dominating international headlines, with discussion of Lebanon increasingly arising in the same breath. In July the country was described as a “sectarian tinderbox” that “could easily be reignited” by events in Syria. Since February 2012, members of Alawite and Sunni communities have been involved in recurring and increasingly lethal clashes in Lebanon’s second city, Tripoli.
The violence has been linked to the kidnapping of Lebanese Shias in Syria, who Syrian rebels accuse of having links with the Assad regime. In spite of appeals for calm by politicians on all sides, the most recent round of fighting in the city has left 15 dead and over a hundred injured. This has fortified the view that Lebanon is vulnerable to ‘spillover’ from events in Syria, and has strengthened opinion among many Lebanese, as well as political commentators, that in Lebanon conflict is just waiting around the corner.