Report: Syrian Crisis to Spill Over to Lebanon as Cabinet’s Fate Remains Unknown

Posted on: April 10, 2012 at 21:26:23
The Syrian crisis will likely have serious repercussions on Lebanon as the international community failed to intervene to stop the bloodshed in Damascus and establish “safe zones,” a report by the European Institute for the Mediterranean (EuroMeSCo) said.

“The Lebanese parties worry that a Syrian civil war could actually spill over into Lebanon where Sunni-Shiite tension is high,” Riad Kahwaji, the writer of the report, said.

He said the Syrian regime will collapse “sooner or later” which will constitute a new beginning for the Cedar Revolution and likely reduce Syria’s role in Lebanon.

It also noted that Hizbullah will “have to pay the price of its popularity and legitimacy” if the Syrian regime collapses.

“Hizbullah realizes its weakened position with the demise of the Syrian regime… its likely goal is to survive the current storm sweeping the region and to try to ensure its future on the Lebanese scene,” the report said.

However, it noted that Hizbullah will not lose its political support even if it forces the collapse of the cabinet led by Prime Minister Najib Miqati, as it will be able to “improve its and Iran’s bargaining position, the fate and role” in Lebanon.

“The swift changes sweeping the region and daily developments on various fronts have kept Lebanese leaders busy managing a series of cries focusing mostly on how to survive politically,” the report said.

“While the March 14 forces support the Syrian uprising and are counting the days for its collapse, the March 8 forces are seriously worried about their future after the anticipated fall of the Syrian regime,” it stated.

The report noted that officials are not “sure how Hizbullah would react to the collapse of the Syrian regime” which prompted the March 14 forces to adopt a “wait and see policy.”

The fate of Miqati is not clear, according to the report.

“Some analysts fear that Hizbullah might force the toppling of the current government if the Syrian regime collapse and politically prevent the formation of a new cabinet.”

However, the writer of the report stressed that maintaining Miqati’s cabinet appears to be “the best option and the lesser of evils,” which is preferred by the March 14 forces until a news better alternative is available.

EuroMeSCo includes 61 institutions from 33 countries including Lebanon.
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