The weekend capture of the Syrian border town of Yabroud from the rebels may be something of a mixed blessing for Lebanon. It marks the loss of the last rebel stronghold on their border, and may solve the problem of those rebels using Lebanon as a weapons smuggling route.
But it may also fuel even more attacks inside Lebanon itself, particularly in the near term, as those fighters involved in the smuggling operations move toward hitting Hezbollah targets in the nation.
It’s not coincidental that the first action by Jabhat al-Nusra after the fall of Yabroud was a bombing in a Shi’ite village just across the border, and rockets pounded the Shi’ite town of al-Labwa today, following the reasoning popular among Syrian rebels that any Shi’ite town is de facto Hezbollah.
And while most of the spillover is along the border, the major northern city of Tripoli has also seen a lot of spillover violence, as local Sunnis, backed by Syrian rebels, clash with the city’s Alawite population. The fighting in Tripoli flairs every few weeks, and the latest round has left 11 dead.