Though last Friday’s suicide bombing failed to kill or injure its suspected target, General Abbas Ibrahim, leader of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate who was traveling through a busy checkpoint on the Beirut-Damascus highway, it did kill two people and injure dozens of others. The terrorist group ISIS quickly took responsibility for the attack, raising concerns that the terrorist offshoot of al-Qeada may already have opened a new front in its now transnational war inside Lebanon.
Friday’s attack is but the most recent reminder of the danger Lebanon faces from the rapid advance of ISIS throughout the region. Lebanon, a country already experiencing multiple domestic crises resulting from its proximity to the civil war raging in neighboring Syria, has long feared that ISIS would seek to expand its current theater or operations to include Lebanon.
Lebanon would be an obvious ISIS target for both ideological and geographic reasons. The last letter in ISIS English language acronym, which stands for “al-Sham,” is frequently referred to simply as Syria, but this, according to experts, is incorrect and incomplete. “Al-Sham” does not refer to what current maps show as the border of modern-day Syria; rather, it refers to the so-called Mashreq that encompasses all of Lebanon, much of present-day Jordan, as well as Palestine.
Furthermore, Lebanon is home to the powerful Iranian proxy Shi’a terrorist army Hezbollah, which itself has been a target of numerous recent ISIS attacks.
ISIS terrorism has been on the upswing in the Lebanese capital since January.