Minorities in Lebanon Are Wary of Contagion ; Christians and Druze Try to Limit Fallout from Neighbor's Strife

By Wood, Josh | International Herald Tribune, December 6, 2012 | Go to article overview

Minorities in Lebanon Are Wary of Contagion ; Christians and Druze Try to Limit Fallout from Neighbor's Strife


Wood, Josh, International Herald Tribune


As conflict in Syria fans frictions between Lebanon's communities, many of the country's leaders are trying to keep a distance from the rising tensions.

As the 20-month-long conflict in Syria continues to aggravate the frictions between Sunni and Shiite Muslim groups in Lebanon, other sectarian groups, and notably the country's Christian and Druze minorities, are trying to distance themselves from the rising tensions.

That political dynamic was in evidence following the Oct. 19 car bomb that killed Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, head of the police's intelligence branch and a key figure investigating the 2005 assassination of the former prime minister and Sunni leader, Rafik Hariri.

The car bombing struck Beirut's mainly Christian Ashrafieh neighborhood in East Beirut, killing several people in addition to General Hassan and wounding dozens, including children.

Rather than take to the streets in protest, or stage high profile funerals, local residents and community leaders played down the carnage, saying that the target was the general rather the Christian community and that the location of the attack was more or less accidental.

Lebanon's anti-Syrian Sunni groups in contrast quickly aimed accusations at Damascus and the Shiite Hezbollah. General Hassan, a Sunni from northern Lebanon, was heralded as a martyr by some. Small- scale gun battles broke out between Sunni and Shiite militias, while Sunni gunmen erected checkpoints in some areas and protesters built roadblocks of burning tires.

Outside the Sunni community, however, many Lebanese politicians equally opposed to Syria repudiated such actions as ill-advised.

"I think it will lead to nowhere, be it Sunni anger or be it Shia power or anger," said Walid Jumblatt, head of the Progressive Socialist Party, the main political faction of Lebanon's Druze minority and a hereditary leader of the sect, in an interview last month at his family palace in the Chouf mountains, south of Beirut.

Mr. Jumblatt strongly opposes the Syrian regime, denouncing President Bashar al-Assad as "a mad guy who is burning Syria" and blaming Damascus for last month's assassination as well as others -- not least the 1977 killing of his own father, Kamal Jumblatt.

For all that, however, Mr. Jumblatt has made no move to reconcile with his former anti-Syrian allies in the March 14 bloc, from which he distanced himself after March 14 groups -- including his own -- suffered a military defeat against Hezbollah and its allies in May 2008.

In the wake of that setback, Mr. Jumblatt shifted allegiances to side for a while with the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition, though he has edged away from that, too, since the start of the Syrian uprising.

With Lebanon's Druze population numbering only about 200,000, analysts say Mr. Jumblatt's maneuvering is primarily driven by short- term tactical considerations aimed at safeguarding one of Lebanon's smallest communities.

While some Druze fighters in South Beirut have expressed frustration with his refusal to confront Hezbollah's Shiite pro- Syrian militias, Mr. Jumblatt warned of the dangers of getting caught up in the Syrian conflict. Lebanon's policy of disassociation, he said, "is the best chance we have. To be implicated will just ruin and destroy the country."

Mr. Jumblatt said his strategic objective was to promote "a formula whereby we have a government of national unity, so as to be able to reduce the consequences of the civil war in Syria."

How realistic that aim may be is open to question: Lebanon's two main political alliances -- March 14 and March 8 -- emerged in 2005 as the expression of a radical split between groups supported by or opposed to Syria -- which occupied parts of Lebanon from 1976 to 2005 and continues to be influential. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Minorities in Lebanon Are Wary of Contagion ; Christians and Druze Try to Limit Fallout from Neighbor's Strife
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.