Lebanon

Intelligence Chief murdered in bomb blast


Published

Gen Wissam al-Hassan, the head of Lebanon’s internal security forces, was killed yesterday along with seven others in a bomb blast in the centre of Beirut.

There was immediate condemnation of the blast with the blame being laid at Syria. Lebanon remains a divided country and whilst some official figures were keen to suggest that the blast was caused by the Syrian government, other who are pro-Syrian government were quick to suggest that the blast was the responsibility of Syrian rebels.

Later in the day there were outbreaks of shooting in the capital city and more unrest in the northern city of Tripoli.

The incident is of real concern because it is another indication that the civil war in Syria is drawing in the countries immediately around the conflict. Whilst Lebanon is possibly the least stable and most affected by the Syrian conflict, Turkey has also started using armed forces to attack Syrian forces when they commit border infringements. Turkey also faces problems in its South Eastern region where Kurdish rebels have used the war to try and create further disturbance with the Kurds in Iraq and in the North East of Syria all getting involved in the conflict.

Any widening of the conflict could, ultimately, lead to the involvement of Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and then beyond into Iran and that in turn might involve Israel. As a member of NATO, Turkey could potentially involve NATO countries in any regional conflict. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are known to have taken sides with the rebels and Saudi Arabia is said to be openly arming some rebel groups.

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