Levantine Labyrinths

Sectarian infighting and foreign intervention breed intrigue on the Lebanese political scene. Last summer’s war had a devastating effect—but factional power politics and Hizballah’s rising popularity threaten to make matters worse.

Issue: May-June 2007

LEBANON IS caught in a vortex of sectarian storms, fomented largely by outside players (within and beyond the region) that are now, in turn, impacted by the country's upheaval. The question remains: What will this maelstrom mean for the greater Middle East in the coming years? As one Lebanese observer put it, "Lebanon has entered the tunnel of political uncertainty for years to come." It would hardly be surprising if the contest within and for Lebanon ends as badly as it potentially could for all involved. But the prospect of those dire possibilities in the Levant could also create the impetus for resolution-if a more adaptive Washington recognizes and acts upon it.

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