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Tripoli: A Powder Keg of Fundamentalism

The northern Lebanese city of Tripoli has been severely affected by the conflict in neighboring Syria, with heightened sectarian tensions threatening an outbreak of civil war, writes Jean Aziz.
Lebanese Army soldiers deploy after gunmen ambushed the convoy of Lebanese Minister of Sports and Youth Faisal Karami in the northern city of Tripoli January 18, 2013. Gunmen ambushed the convoy in Tripoli on Friday, wounding three people and riddling a security patrol car with bullets, medics and witnesses said. Karami, appeared to be unhurt, the medics said. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir (LEBANON - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3CLYJ
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For the fires of the Lebanese civil war to be kindled, there need to be certain religious, historical, economic and social conditions present, and all of them can be found in abundance in the city of Tripoli.

The Land of the Cedars’ second-largest city by population after Beirut and the capital of North Lebanon, Tripoli seems to personify its namesake, which in Greek means “three-cities,” for the Tripoli of today is divided three sections: the narrow Alawite quarter, the sprawling Sunni quarter, and the demarcation line, which just four years ago would transform into a war zone every day after sunset.

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