Monday, December 10, 2012

Breaking Tripoli?

Is the Syrian War spilling into Lebanon? No. Will Tripoli burn, as Homs and Hama did? Lilkely.

What kind of Yes/No answer is this? Well, there are, indeed, some very obvious actors and actions... But the marionettes are never the only
consideration here. There are two considerations; one "fundamental", and one "immediate".

First, the Fundamentals:

No, Syria's war is not spilling into Lebanon. Rather, the war in Lebanon has spilled over into Syria.The Syrian regime fell the day it left Lebanon, in 2005. It endured for a while, but the Assad Dynasty's needed the resources of Lebanon to survive as Masters of Syria. In their struggle to regain power, they made things worse for themselves:
The Syrians will miss those supports on the long run, since few Americans can now seriously consider “engagement” as an option. And as they look for alternatives, pity the neighbourhood, and its weakest link; Lebanon
This has always been a regional war among tribes and city-states. The veneer of nation-states that was applied over us was just that; a veneer. Nothing more. And the faulat was not merely in Lebanon. To be sure, Lebanon has many faults. But it was all in the open, "warts and all", contrary to all the hypocrites who surround us. While we struggled in the face of those contradictions, nearby dictatorships and pseudo-theocratic pseudo-democracy had fun with us... But now their chicken are all coming home to roost.  Yet, rather than focusing on their own ills, they did their best to kill of the Canary in the coalmine...
And as they did so, they were putting nails into their own coffins. Ensuring Lebanon's war could spill over at their first sign of weakness.

Second, the Immediate:

We're on our way to a divided Syria. One in which Bashar will be lucky if the Alawites keep him in charge of their little Canton... But for now, the immediate aftershock will likely be felt in Tripoli. 
Why? It all depends on how crassly sectarian this conflict will be... In Syria's current sectarian perspective, much of the Alawite elite needs to secure its coastal enclave around Lattaqieh. This enclave has three vital economic links; Northward, towards Turkey, Eastward, though Homs, and South, towards Lebanon and through Tripoli. So it has three priorities:
1- The North is closed off by the Turks, who do not want to see any linkages with Antioch... They may smarten up as the Kurds reassert themselves, but this will be a while. 
2- The East is closed off by the takeover of the rest of Syria by Salafis and Ikhwans. But the control of Homs would allow them to split the rival cities of Aleppo and Damascus, and act as spoilers in the new "Syria".
3- The South links them to their Shiite Allies is closed off by Tripoli. So, to secure a Alawite stronghold, the Tripoli lock needs to be broken. It must break. It may well break ...
And this brings in an "interesting" sectarian sub-plot; as ever, the Christians are "in the way". ; the Christians are divided between Aoun and Geagea. Having failed to assassinate Geagea, will the Alawite Elite jettison Aoun and reconcile themselves to Geagea?
Some notes / perspective:
This blog is not inactive... But it is not "reactive". Rather, it is just tracking events from a perspective of history, not the news. I am no journalist, no political analyst who follows the "news schedule", nor do I listen to news much. I am just someone who's tired to see "big white chiefs" lecture us on how to live, and I have the arrogance to think I have something more meaningful to contribute to the understanding of the region... I just know enough history to see when it repeats itself, or when it rhymes.

And for now, history rhymes
And, If/when Tripoli falls, we will soon see epic fights among the Walis of Damascus, Aleppo, and Lattaqieh/Antioch... Time will tell how the Mohafaza of Jabal Loubnan will react, and if the Wali of Acca-Jerusalem decides to grow a brain.

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