The Syrian War comes to Lebanon as Sidon Explodes into Violence

The Syrian civil war spilled over onto Lebanon dramatically on Sunday and again on Monday morning when violent clashes broke out between the Salafi militia of Sheikh Ahmad Asir in Sidon and the Lebanese army and Shiite Hizbullah fighters. The army maintains that the Salafis (hard line Sunni Muslims influenced by Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabism) attacked a military checkpoint in the city.

Asir accuses the Lebanese army and the Lebanese political establishment of being in Shiite Iran’s back pocket. (In fact, the Lebanese political elite is fractured and deeply divided. Sunni politicians tend to side with Syria’s rebels, whereas Shiites and Christians are afraid of the extremism of rebel groups such as the Nusra Front).

He castigates Hizbullah leader Hasan Nasrallah as an idolator (ancient Arabs used to worship a goddess, al-Lat, instead of the cosmic God, Allah; Asir calls Nasrallah “Nasr al-Lat”.) He backs the rebels in Syria even as Hizbullah backs the Baath regime of Bashar al-Assad.

When Nasrallah sent Hizbullah fighters to al-Qusayr in Syria, Asir sent Salafi fighters from Lebanon to oppose them on the rebel side. I said at the time that these steps on both sides were dangerous, since the next stage would be for the two to fight at home. Et voila.

PressTV has video:

12 Responses

  1. man you have a wrong point ..the alkatayeb Christians are with the rebels

    • The Kataeb (Phalangist Party) may be with the rebels in general (as the Obama administartion is) but few Western-oriented governments or political parties are supportive of the extremist al-Nusra Front – who owe their allegiance to Al-Qaeda.

      The Phalangist party website:

      link to

      • The Daily Star(Lebanon)reported on May 2, 2013 a rare meeting occurred between Christian rivals MP Samir Gemayel (Phalange Party) and MP Suleiman Franjieh at Gemayel’s residence in Bikfaya. It was there agreed that it would be in the best interest for Lebanon to steer clear of the Syrian Civil War.

        Lebanese MP Franjieh is a close friend of Syrian President Assad.

  2. As we keep surpassing each new worst-case scenario in this conflict, and as large powers taken increasingly intransigent and irresponsible positions, one wonders where we will finally end up.

  3. We get widening war down to the clan level, before long. Or some will pull a crazy Eddie and pull an inflammatory religious strike that skips several levels and drags in Turkey and Egypt.

  4. Time for some more wisdom and beauty from Omar Khayyám? Sugar in our tea instead of salt in our wounds?

  5. The curse of Saudi- and US-supported Sunni fundamentalists continues to haunt the Middle East and surrounding region. While the US, Europe, and Israel continue to point to Iran as the key destablizing actor in the region, the absolute dictatorship of Saudi Arabia cannot tolerate quasi-democratic, anti-Royalist political currents.

    Let’s hope the past does not repeat:
    “By the end of September 1996 the Taliban had conquered Kabul and had extended their rule to twenty-two of the country’s thirty-one provinces. They announced that their godly government would be known as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and while most of the world prudently stepped back and waited, three countries granted this unusual entity official recognition: Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates—and Saudi Arabia.” The Taliban began issuing prohibitions: “no kite flying, no pool tables, no music, no nail polish, no toothpaste, no televisions, no beard shaving…[T]he Taliban also…closed all girls’ schools and colleges, and banned women from working…These draconian regulations were enforced by religious police squads…that were built directly on the Saudi model of fundamentalist vigilantes and drew support from Saudi religious charities.” Not for the “first or last time, Saudi favor to Islamic purists had helped give birth to a monster…” link to

    • In 2001 they attacked and destroyed a pair of 1500 year old unarmed (didn’t have any arm) statues.

  6. I saw this coming. The Wahhabi/Salafi/Sunni extremist attacks have spread and picked up intensity in the region.

    Even in pre-dominant Sunni Egypt, a house gathering of Shia Muslims were attacked, as the Egyptian police looked on. 4 of them were lynched by the anti-Shia village mob.

    link to

    And more bombings by Sunni insurgents in Iraq’s Baghdad, targeting mostly Shiite neighbourhoods, getting increasingly worse with the Syrian conflict.

    The Shia madrassa massacre in Pakistan’s Peshawar, however, may have been the usual Sunni-Deoband militant sectarian attack.

  7. ?How about a little taste of some thinking from some people who actually live in and are really familiar with Syria and what’s going on there right at this moment, folks who think Obama’s course of action now is, like, stupid in the extreme?

    link to

    And have any of you asked yourself the silly question, “Who is Ben Rhodes?” link to There’s more on that page, and more than ever meets the eye of the ordinary citizen who funds and stupidly supports all this sh__.

  8. Dear Professor Cole,
    I’m having a hard time understanding Assir’s motivations. Why would he jeapordize his standing and waste men and firepower attacking the Lebanese army instead of Hezbollah? Hezbollah is the group that has sent thousands of fighters to aid the Assad regime. It seems counterproductive to the Syrian revolution to attack a neutral 3rd party.

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