In Lebanon, is Civil War coming? 32 Chars. Remaining Title:

Do the October 14th shootings mark the beginning of a deteriorating situation that will snowball into another Lebanese civil war? Op-ed.

Lt. Col. (Res.) Sarit Zehavi ,


On October 14th, following a violent protest by supporters of the Shiite duo against the investigation into the Beirut port explosion and against Judge Tarek Bitar, gun battles broke out between Hezbollah and Amal members and members of Samir Geagea's Christian party, the "Lebanese forces".

As a result of the fighting, seven people were killed (three affiliated with Hezbollah, three affiliated with the Amal movement, and one bystander). With the start of the fight and to restore order, the Lebanese Army also intervened with live fire. It is possible that some of the deaths are the result of the shooting from the military.

Ethnic and religious tensions, which have always existed in Lebanon, have reached new heights. In addition, questions were raised about the status of the Lebanese Army as a consensus in Lebanon.

Do the October 14th shootings mark the beginning of a deteriorating situation that will snowball into another Lebanese civil war?

The answer to this is not unequivocal. On the one hand, this is a young generation that has not endured the consequences of the previous civil wars that took place in Lebanon and does not bear the scars of the past.

Add that to the extremism which applies to the views of the various camps against other camps, and we can assume that nothing is stopping this snowball...

On the other hand, all the forces and currents that are currently opposed to Hezbollah in Lebanon are well aware of the limitation of their power in the face of Hezbollah's military and civilian power. Most likely, they do not want to give Hezbollah a reason to take over Lebanon. A deterioration into civil war will give Hezbollah the excuse to do so.

In Hassan Nasrallah's speech yesterday (October 18th), he made good use of the awareness of the power limit of his opponents. Nasrallah explained to his audience just how bad degenerating into a civil war could be. In his speech, Nasrallah addressed mainly Samir Geagea and his party. Nasrallah stressed that Hezbollah is stronger than ever. In simple words, how inadvisable it is to "mess" with Hezbollah "which has 100,000 trained fighters" (another one of Nasrallah's exaggerations... we got used to these...).

In Lebanon, you never know what will happen the next day, the next minute, or even the next second. Therefore, do not be surprised if we wake up tomorrow morning and Lebanon is amidst a civil war.

Either Hezbollah will take over Lebanon, or nothing will happen, and things will continue to go on in Lebanon as they are...

Lt. Col (Res.) Sarit Zehavi heads the Alma Research & Education Center in Western Galilee.