Archive for November 2011
A little more than a week ago I traveled to Tripoli to take a look at tensions between the city’s Alawite and Sunni populations. Tensions between the groups have always been high, but with the added stress from Syria, renewed conflict in Tripoli is becoming a major fear. Northern Lebanon and Syria are very interconnected. Downtown Tripoli can feel a lot more like peacetime Homs than the Lebanese capital, Beirut, and economical and familial ties have always kept the areas close. But more importantly, allegiances, sympathies and memories of Syria’s occupation of Tripoli (for good or bad depending on which group you speak to) make the conflict in Syria very real for those living in Lebanon’s second city.
Lebanese Fear Syria’s Violence May Spill Over
TRIPOLI, LEBANON — In the hilltop Alawite neighborhood of Jebel Mohsen, bullet holes, charred sites of rocket-propelled grenade impacts and posters showing Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, line the main drag. Beneath the ridge of the hill — within earshot — the impoverished Sunni neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh bears similar scars, but its posters, positioned to face uphill, show martyrs killed in battle with their neighbors.
As the Syrian uprisings enter their eighth month, the language of the conflict is turning increasingly sectarian. Tensions are high in Tripoli, Lebanon’s gritty second city, where Alawites, belonging to the same Muslim offshoot as the leadership of the Syrian regime, have a long history of armed conflict with their Sunni neighbors. While sectarian tensions are nothing new here, the added weight of events in Syria could plunge the city back into violence if given the right spark.
Continue reading the story here http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/world/middleeast/10iht-M10-LEBANON-TENSIONS.html