Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lebanon: the army's role

The Lebanese army has remained scrupulously neutral during clashes between government and opposition. But can it last?

By Dilip Hiro
The Guardian

"It is tempting to see the current violence in Lebanon as a fight between Shia and Sunni, and as a preamble to a civil war. Tempting but inaccurate.

While the Shia in Lebanon are almost unanimous in their support of Hizbullah and its ally, Amal, the Sunnis and Christians are divided in their opposition to Hizbullah.

And Hizbullah has made a clear distinction between the Washington-backed coalition government of prime minister Fouad Siniora, and the military led by General Michel Suleiman. While fighting the Sunni and Druze militias belonging to the parties in the government, Hizbullah is cooperating with the army, handing over the captured areas in Beirut, the Shouf mountains and Tripoli to the regular armed forces of Lebanon......"

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