The car-bomb explosion that left at least eight dead in the heart of Beirut on Friday is the most recent testament to the destabilizing influence of the crisis in neighboring Syria.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, which killed a senior Lebanese security official who had been receiving threats for his role in the arrest of a former Lebanese information minister who had close ties to the Syrian leadership. Accordingly, many have laid blame on Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its allies; a member of the Lebanese parliament said: “It is clear that the Syrian regime is responsible for such an explosion. . . . It is such a big explosion that only the Syrian regime could have planned it.” The New York Times goes on to quote another Lebanese MP:
“We are all Lebanese,” said Mouen al-Mourabi, a member of Parliament who has accused Hezbollah of sending fighters into Syria to help Mr. Assad’s forces crush the 19-month-old uprising against him. Mr. Mourabi stopped short of accusing Hezbollah of complicity in the bombing, but said many Lebanese have long feared the Syrian conflict would spread to Lebanon. “There’s always a danger,” he said. “They’re trying to drag Lebanon toward this.”
On the heels of this news come reports that several Lebanese were killed when the Syrian army attacked a bus crossing the border into Syria. It seems recent warnings by UN chief Ban Ki-moon and UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi about the danger posed to Lebanon by the escalating Syrian civil war were especially prescient. If news of these attacks in Lebanon and another devastating airstrike campaign in Syria is any indication, there's no relief in site for the troubled Levant.