KARACHI: Last month, a suicide attack in Beirut’s well-known Hamra Street was the first such incident in Lebanon in three decades. It was also an ominous signal to Hezbollah not to ally itself with Bashar al-Assad’s government in fighting Syrian rebels. In recent years, we have seen that political turmoil in one region spreads quickly to neighbouring states. This happens more frequently in the Arab world where the politics of several countries — in this case, Lebanon and Syria — are closely intertwined.
The suicide attack, it could be argued, is payback by al Qaeda to Hezbollah’s armed activities in Syria and a warning to Iran to back off from the Syrian conflict and from supporting Bashar al-Assad. It will be another tragedy if Lebanon is dragged into what is increasingly becoming a sectarian conflict.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2013.