Recent suicide bombings in Beirut's southern suburbs and the town of Hermel, especially the Feb. 1 al-Aytam gas station attack, indicate that the perpetrators' targets are not simply Hezbollah strongholds, or even military targets, but civilians in general. The attacks — retaliation for Hezbollah's participation in the Syrian war alongside the Bashar al-Assad regime — were planned to result in the largest number of victims possible in an attempt to alter an environment currently supportive of Hezbollah. Moreover, the attacks are aimed at creating a rift between the party and its base.
The questions these days include: Will these attacks lead to restlessness among the Shiites in targeted areas that support Hezbollah, causing a rift within the party's current supporters? Alternatively, contrary to what those planning the attacks are seeking, will the bombings further unite Shiites despite the political and religious differences among them?