Monday, May 14, 2012

Syria’s pain in Lebanon’s neck

It did not require a prophecy to foresee clashes in Lebanon as a direct result of the Syrian revolution. It was only a matter of time with so many Lebanese supporting one side of the conflict over another. What’s interesting is that a year ago, the term Syrian loyalist meant only one thing: Loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al Assad and his Baath Regime. This meant only one faction in Lebanon led by Hezbollah and its satellites.

The past year has brought many unfathomable changes to the two nations that have been joined by the hip for far too long. In Syria, the Baath regime, once thought untouchable, was shaken to its core by brave Syrians who have been facing their own military massacres and violence every single day whether the outside world will move to assist them or not. At the same time, the political landscape in Lebanon, once thought to be under full control of the militant rule of Hezbollah, has been witnessing new possibilities in light of a weakened Syria and its dwindling influence.

In addition to all that, the Lebanese who never stopped being angry and hateful towards the Syrian regime as a result of two decades of occupation during which they watched helplessly as the Syrian military abused, tortured, maimed, imprisoned, kidnapped, and bombed many of their loved ones and heartlessly destroyed much of their homeland. This group found itself sympathizing with Syrian nationals undergoing the same abuse at the hands of the same forces under the orders of the same leadership.

When the Syrian violence spills over to Lebanon in fierce fighting in the symbolic northern city of Tripoli, one should not be surprised but one should be very concerned.

Today, Lebanon’s divisions over Syria are not the same as a year ago. Tripoli today is not the same as the one of 1990 or 2005 or 2008 or even 2011. As many of the same suspicious players would spare no time or energy to create havoc in Tripoli and spread the tensions beyond Lebanon’s north in the hope of distracting the attention from Syria’s troubles, as many new and fresh voices and able bodies are willing and capable to fight back.

Tripoli today symbolizes the new reality on the ground. The time has come for a major blow to refocus the world’s attention on Syria and Lebanon. The Syrian revolution has opened the hearts and minds of many Lebanese to the reality that many in Syria do not approve of Assad as their leader and would like to see him leave.

This pain in Lebanon’s side is Syrian no doubt. It is a necessary pain and one that is long overdue. It is high time that the Lebanese government and military take their responsibility to protect people and land from anyone who sets out to harm them. It is high time Lebanon and Syria disjoint themselves and stand face to face as equal nations, friendly neighbors, supportive in freedom not in oppression.

 Could a free Syria be coming, at last? Could freedom spill over into Lebanon as the violence is expectedly spilling over today in Tripoli? This is only the beginning of the test!


Keep the conversation going...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A free Syria would help flow the brain drain there. So many from the Middle East are fleeing for a life in a new country where they can build a career and know that their children will live a life of freedom. Prayers to Syria and Lebanon for a future with growth and an end to violence that destroys dreams and ends lives.

May 16, 2012 at 3:36 PM  

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