Lebanon’s government has given the army full responsibility for security in Tripoli for six months, the caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati, said yesterday.My perception of this situation is that, while there was always some tactical spillover due to Lebanese involvement in Syria, Lebanese only really began attacking other Lebanese when Hizbullah made support for the Assad regime an open priority.
Mr Mikati spoke after a high-level security meeting at the presidential palace following three days of sectarian clashes in Lebanon’s second largest city.
Security officials say 12 people have been killed in the clashes between militia supporting opposing sides of the Syrian conflict, the latest in regular outbreaks of bloodletting in the city that started during Lebanon’s own civil war but have intensified since the Syrian revolt started in 2011.
The clashes have wounded at least 61 people, among them 12 members of the Lebanese army.
Sectarian fighting in Lebanon has not been limited to Tripoli. Last month, twin explosions outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut killed 26 people. Iran is a key ally of Bashar Al Assad, Syria’s president, and support’s Lebanon’s Shiite movement, Hizbollah.