The deadliest proxy war in Lebanon is that between Bab al-Tabbaneh (Sunni) and Jabal Mohsen (Alawite), two neighbourhoods in downtown Tripoli. The conflict has historical roots that can be traced to the Lebanese civil war; in 2011, with the Syrian revolt, conflict re-erupted. Attempts to contain the conflict undertaken by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) brought criticisms of the army as being pro-Hizbollah (thus pro-Syria), not a neutral arbiter. In 2014, after lengthy political bickering, the LAF was empowered to implement the Tripoli Security Plan, seizing weapons and arresting fighters. The LAF’s clampdown has restored a tenuous calm in Tripoli, but the conflict awaits a political solution that the security plan is incapable of providing.

Are John Knudsen

Research Professor (on leave, Fridays at CMI)