World View: Syria's Violence Spills Into Lebanon

World View: Syria's Violence Spills Into Lebanon

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Syria’s violence spills over into Lebanon
  • Nationalist parties gain strength in Israel
  • Pakistan and U.S. haggle over supply routes to Afghanistan

Syria’s violence spills over into Lebanon

Lebanon’s government has been officially neutral about the violence in neighboring Syria, but Prime Minister Najeeb Miqati is part of Hizbollah’s “March 8 Alliance” that is supporting the regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad. Still, Lebanon has largely avoided Syria’s violence up until last week, even though Syrian refugees have been coming across the border and finding a safe haven in the Sunni neighborhoods of northern Lebanon. However, violence has been growing in Lebanon in recent days, to the point that several Gulf Arab countries (UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar) have issued travel advisories for their citizens to avoid visiting or staying in Lebanon. In some cases, it’s feared that Gulf Arab citizens could be kidnapped and handed over to the Syrian regime as alleged elements from Al Qaeda. This fear comes from a Syrian official’s statement last week that Lebanon is “incubating” terrorists:

In some areas (of Lebanon) … warehouses have been set up for weapons and ammunition that is arriving to Lebanon illegally, either by sea, or sometimes through using the planes of specific countries to transport weapons to Lebanon and then smuggle them to Syria, under the excuse that they (aircraft) are carrying humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees.”

The turmoil increased further yesterday when army troops, who are thought to be siding with the Syrian regime, shot dead a Sunni cleric in northern Lebanon. PM Miqati appealed for calm in the wake of the cleric’s killing. Gulf News and Reuters

Nationalist parties gain strength in Israel

We’ve been reporting about increasingly nationalistic trends in one country after another — Greece, Denmark and China, for example. Now add Israel to the list. A new poll shows a surge in strength for the nationalistic parties National Union and Jewish Home. Generally speaking, these parties support increased building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and they reject any peace treaties with the Palestinians. Increased nationalism is characteristic of generational Crisis eras, as the world approaches the Clash of Civilizations world war. Israel National News

Pakistan and U.S. haggle over supply routes to Afghanistan

Pakistan closed border routes to Afghanistan last November, when an American air strike targeting Taliban militants erroneously killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, and America refused to make an explicit apology. Afghanistan is a land-locked country, and with the routes through Pakistan closed, Nato has been forced to rely on cargo flights and a more costly northern route through Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Pakistan appears finally willing to open the border routes again, but they want to charge $5,000 per truck. In the past, Nato paid $250 per truck. The U.S. is categorically rejecting the higher fee, but perhaps they’ll have a meeting of the minds as the haggling continues. AFP