Lebanon Pulse

Hezbollah Regions Targeted as Syria War Spreads to Lebanon

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Article Summary
Amid rising sectarian tensions and following Hezbollah’s decision to fight in Syria's civil war, attacks against Hezbollah-controlled regions throughout Lebanon have increased.

There are ghosts hunting Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, over a wide expanse of the country stretching from Beirut’s southern suburbs all the way to Lebanon’s south and north to the Bekaa. These areas, predominantly inhabited by Hezbollah’s social base, face daily alarms and reports of suspicious objects that may contain explosive devices. These incidents are quickly checked out and dealt with by members of the party or the Lebanese army. Reporting suspect objects or vehicles has become a daily occurrence that reflects the growing concern inside Hezbollah’s areas of influence about their continued targeting with explosive devices.

Since Hezbollah directly entered the fray in Syria on the side of the regime, it has worked to neutralize reactions such as the ones taking place today. The party has sealed off its territory by adopting security measures that include installing surveillance cameras on all the entrances to its neighborhoods, as well as, some say, electronic explosive-detection devices and roving patrols by members of its security teams.

Hezbollah has also established neighborhood-watch squads that monitor, around the clock, the comings and goings of any outsiders to the area. Yet despite all these measures, an explosive-laden car succeeded in infiltrating the most tightly surveilled of the southern suburbs’ neighborhoods, Bir el-Abed, where it was detonated. Undoubtedly, the most dangerous aspect of the Bir el-Abed attack was the message that it conveyed to Hezbollah’s social base, informing them that their neighborhoods can be infiltrated and that there would be a price to pay for their party’s participation in the fighting in Syria.

Hezbollah is intensifying its efforts on the security level to counteract this message by proving that its intelligence services are capable of protecting its social base’s neighborhoods, and that its followers will never be left at the mercy of explosive devices planted by hostile organizations.

The front on which Hezbollah is being targeted with explosive devices is expanding by the day. On July 16, two of the party’s vehicles, while heading along the Chatoura highway toward Syria, were targeted by an explosive device that wounded some of their occupants. At least two other similar incidents have taken place recently.

The fear is that the factions targeting Hezbollah have decided to open against it a security front that encompasses all of Lebanon, adopting a type of guerilla warfare involving assassinations with both bullets or explosives. According to sources close to the party, the main conclusion reached by analyzing the prevalent data on the ground, as reflected by the attempts against the party and its areas of influence, is that an important faction, and not a mere organization, has decided to wage a wide-scale security war against Hezbollah and its social base in Lebanon.

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Found in: syrian civil war, syrian, internationalization of syrian conflict, hezbollah, dahieh

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