Lebanese Sunnis Resent Army Amid Growing Sectarian Tension

Many See Army as Pro-Shi'ite

Historically, the Lebanese military is seen as extremely inconsequential. Even during the 2006 Israeli invasion, the Lebanese Army stayed on its bases and just waited for it to be over.

But with sectarian tensions on the rise as spillover from the Syrian Civil War, there is growing resentment among Sunnis toward the military, with a sense that they are biased in favor of Hezbollah and the nation’s Shi’ites.

Faced with growing spillover violence, the Lebanese Army has tried to impose neutrality inside the nation by attempting to stop weapons smuggling to Syria’s rebels. But with Hezbollah also directly involved in the Syrian war, that’s raised complaints of a double-standard.

As a practical matter, the military’s role is still extremely limited, and with Hezbollah’s militia quite a bit stronger than they are it would likely be impractical for the military to try to “confront” them over spillover violence the way they have targeted smaller Sunni Islamist groups. Either way, this is putting them into a position of perceived bias that is going to be difficult to shake, and will just add to the problems of sectarianism in Lebanon.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.