Berri concerned over a Sunni-Shiite strife in Lebanon


berri defLebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri voiced his concern over the possibility of more bombings in Sunni and Shiites areas in an attempt to ignite strife in the country.

“I am concerned that bombs will continue to be planted in Sunni and Shiites areas in an attempt to lure Muslims towards strife,” Berri told As-Safir newspaper in remarks published in Tuesday.

Berri, a close ally of Hezbollah added: “This project to create strife is aimed at making us lose ourselves and Palestine and focus on sectarian conflict.”

“There is someone seeking to create [a long-lasting] war between Sunnis and Shiites, so beware of volunteering to fuel it,” Berri added.

At least 42 people were killed and 900 injured in twin explosions in Sunni-dominated Tripoli on Friday.

The explosions took place outside the Al-Taqwa Mosque in the city’s Al-Zahiriya area and the Al-Salam Mosque in the Al-Mina neighborhood.

The attacks came a week after a car bomb went off on the main road between the Al-Roueiss and Bir al-Abed areas of Hezbollah’s Beirut stronghold of Dahieh, leaving at least 27 people dead and more than 300 injured.

Many observers dismiss the concerns over the possibility of a Sunni Shiite strife since the only party in Lebanon that is well armed is Hezbollah and the mainstream Sunnis who are led by former PM Saad Hariri are moderate , by far the majority , they are not armed , are against the Sunni extremists and are opposed to any strife in Lebanon. According to observers Hezbollah actions in Syria have fueled the possibility of a Sunni Shiite strife by empowering the extremist Salafist Sunnis who are by far the minority within the sect.

Hezbollah fighters have been for several months helping the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad in its crackdown against the mostly Sunni rebels who are seeking to overthrow the regime. The rebels accused Hezbollah of invading Syria and vowed to move the war to Lebanon.

Hundreds of Hezbollah fighters have reportedly been killed in Syria and buried in Lebanon.
Over 100,000 have been killed so far in the Syrian civil war according to the UN.

Not only the Sunnis are opposed to Hezbollah’s role in Syria, even its Christian ally FPM leader Michel Aoun voiced his opposition recently to Hezbollah’s engagement in Syria, despite the fact that in the beginning he supported Hezbollah’s defense of the Lebanese Shiites who live along the Lebanese Syrian border.

Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, who has always been against Hezbollah’s role in Syria said yesterday a new “Lebanese government” cannot include representatives of the Shiite group Hezbollah as long as it is directly engaged in the Syrian war.

Similarly president Michel Suleiman who is also considered a key Christian leader and PSP chief MP Walid Jumblatt who is a Druze leader voiced their opposition to Hezbollah’s role in Syria’s war.

In other words , according to observers Hezbollah’s role in Syria is opposed by the majority of Lebanese of all religious sects and so the issue is not Sunni-Shiite as much as it is Lebanon – Syria /Iran issue

Many observers see Hezbollah acting as Iran’s fifth column in Lebanon, since what the Shiite party is doing in Syria is to serve the interest of Iran and not Lebanon. Observers warned that this could backfire against Hezbollah if it goes to war against Israel, since unlike the last war the Lebanese will not be backing it this time around. This could lead the party to face the most insurmountable of obstacles in managing its war effort, and could eventually lose the support of the Shiites too.