The article, “Lebanese military seals off a town involved in Syrian rebellion” in The Christian Science Monitor, shows not only the delicate stability that exists in Lebanon, but also dangers of being located next to a country in the midst of a civil war. Lebanon is a democracy, though a sectarian democracy, meaning that different groups in the country are guaranteed representation in the government. Additionally, the presence of Hezbollah further complicates matters. As stated in the article, Hezbollah is allowed to have its own weapons by the government even though some religious leaders oppose it.
Internal problems in Lebanon are not uncommon and often involve the different factions of society. In this incident, each side seems to be blaming each other for what happened and even the facts seem to be disputed and hazy. What is clear is that someone who was known to have been helping the Syrian rebels is dead, and according to the article, Hezbollah supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Like many conflicts in the region, these alliances are along Sunni-Shiite lines. The army contends that the dead man had a warrant out for his arrest and he resisted, leading to a shootout, while the locals contend that the charges against him were untrue and the story of the incident is also incorrect.
The situation that is the focus of the article is way more complex than described above, as is the overall situation in Lebanon. After reading the article a number of times, it is still unclear what exactly happened and which side might be telling the truth. One constant, however, is that despite their potential involvement in the incident, the public still supports the army, knowing how much it has kept Lebanon as stable as it is. Sectarian democracies are complicated and Lebanon is located in a highly volatile area, especially with Syria next door. More information about this incident is likely to come out and despite some troubles, it does appear that both the army and the people don’t want it to escalate into something that may destabilize the country.
Image and article source: The Christian Science Monitor