Nov. 2, 2014 by Darius
Some Lebanese Christians are finding an unexpected ally in their fight to keep Sunni insurgents from Syria out of their communities: Hezbollah. The Lebanese Shia militia is starting to look better and better to many Lebanese, given the alternatives.
Christians in Lebanon see the civil war in Syria as a conflict that does not involve them and that they would be best served to keep out of. Across the border, though, Syrian insurgent groups, mainly Sunni, tend not to care. Hezbollah has supplied weapons and other support to local Lebanese defense groups, who patrol the border regions to ensure that militants from Syria do not infiltrate across. Some Christian groups aren’t keen on the idea of working with Hezbollah, but others are happy to take the help. All acknowledge the importance of what Hezbollah is doing.
The alliance, however temporary and grudging, between Hezbollah and Christian groups makes sense. Hezbollah has good reason to care about its image in Lebanon. After all, Hezbollah will be staying in Lebanon after the war in Syria (eventually) ends. Likewise, the people of Lebanon will need to deal with Hezbollah even after the fighting stops in Syria. Both do not want to see Sunni insurgents either (a) take over Syria or (b) take the fight into Lebanon.
War makes for strange bedfellows.
For more on Hezbollah and Lebanese Christians, see “Clashes on Syrian Border Split Lebanese Town,” The New York Times, November 2, 2014, p.A9, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/02/world/clashes-on-syrian-border-split-lebanese-town.html?_r=0.