Violence in Lebanon and its Influence on the Lebanese Address

The expansion of the violence in Lebanon to a Southern refugee camp coupled with another Sunni group joining forces with Fatah al-Islam, has strengthened regional trends, which are undermining national addresses.

The Reut Institute identifies the following trends, which are currently emerging in Lebanon and undermining the Lebanese 'Address'. These trends are also present within the PA and Iraq:

  • Undermining the Lebanese Address – The violence in Lebanon between the army and Sunni armed organizations reflect the difficulties facing the Lebanese, primarily its inability to exert control over the entire country and to implement its decisions.

  • Undermining the principle of military unity – In Lebanon, the political address does not have a monopoly on the use of force. The Taif Accord (10/89) called for the dismantlement of armed organizations in Lebanon and the rebuilding of the Lebanese army. However, both the Palestinian organizations in the Refugee Camps and Hizbullah have remained armed. The latest battles have given rise to a new actor in the form of extremist Sunni organizations (such as Fatah al-Islam and Jund Al-Sham), which are armed and operate within Palestinian Refugee Camps. This trend further erodes the stability of the Lebanese government, and undermines the Lebanese political address.

  • The Sunni-Shiite Divide – The current violence in Lebanon between Sunni organizations with an extremist Islamic agenda and the Lebanese army poses new dilemmas to Hizbullah, Palestinian organizations and even Syria. Hizbullah and Palestinian Organizations both fear losing their exclusive status in Lebanon as well as being identified with Al-Qaeda. This Lebanese internal struggle is an expression of the regional trend of Sunni-Shiite tension, which undermines current political addresses. This tension is also influenced by the rise of Iranian Hegemony and can be seen in Iraq and the Persian Gulf.

  • The Development of Resistance Organizations – The Resistance organizations are going through a process of evolutionary change. Initially, these organizations worked under a national-military logic while later operating under the systemic-political logic of the Resistance Network. Currently these groups are undergoing a process of fragmentation and have turned into small cells, representing a global-Islamic agenda.

Sources

Daily Star, 6/5/07, full article.

New York Times, 6/5/07, full article.

MEMRI, 6/1/07, full article.