Monday, May 28, 2007

Recent Lebanese violence

It seems likely that the recent violence in Lebanon, which began with clashes between the Islamist group Fatah al-Islam in a Plaestinian "refugee camp" (really a permanent settlement) north of Beirut and the Lebanese army, such as it is, has a great deal to do with the possibility that a U.N. tribunal might actually convene to determine just how culpable Syria was in the assassination two years ago of Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

Discontent with Syria and international pressure following Hariri's murder led to Syria giving up what had been a virtual occupation of Lebanon and effective control over key elements of the Lebanese political class. Syria has not been happy with that outcome, and it welcomes even less the prospect of having a U.N. tribunal pin the blame for Hariri's assassination on Syria. The U.N. Security Council is to consider this week whether to constitute such a tribunal. Most Lebanese believe the recent violence -- which has spread to Beirut's luxury shopping districts -- is led or inspired by Syria and tied to the U.N. deliberations

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