There’s No “Risk” of Syria’s Violence Spreading. It’s Already Happening.

How It Works
Aug. 23 2013 11:55 AM

There’s No “Risk” of Syria’s Violence Spreading. It’s Already Happening. 

177449741
Smoke rises above people gathering near al-taqwa mosque on the site of a powerful explosion in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Aug. 23, 2013.

Photo by Ibrahim Chalhoub/AFP/Getty Images

At least 27 people were killed and more than 400 injured today in twin bombings in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. The bombs appeared to target two Sunni mosques during Friday prayers in the restive city, which has suffered from the spillover of violence from nearby Syria in recent months. The city is home to a prominent community of Alawites, the same Shia sect of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and many of his senior officials. The city’s Sunni community largely supports the anti-Assad opposition.

The imams of both mosques reportedly have ties to the Syrian rebels. Today’s attack comes one week after a car bombing in a Hezbollah stronghold in southern Beirut also killed 27 people and was described as the country’s worst terrorist attack since the 1980s. Hezbollah, the Shiite group that has sent fighters to support Assad, has already condemned today’s attack, calling it a “a "criminal scheme aimed at sowing seeds of strife among the Lebanese."

Advertisement

In a separate incident today, Israeli warplanes struck what the country’s military called "a terror site located between Beirut and Sidon” in southern Lebanon. The Israeli strike is in retaliation for four rockets launched into northern Israel yesterday. It’s the first time Israel has attacked the area since the 2006 war with Hezbollah, which is believed to have a significant stockpile of rockets in the area. But this time, the rockets appear to have been launched not by the Shiite group but by the al-Qaida-linked Abullah Azzam Brigade. The Sidon area has also been the site of recent Sunni-Shiite violence linked to the conflict in Syria.

It may be time to stop referring—as news accounts of these events still do—to the “risk” of violence spreading from Syria to its neighbors. There is no risk; it’s happening. 

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

There Are New Abuse Allegations Against Adrian Peterson

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

John Oliver Pleads for Scotland to Stay With the U.K.

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police

The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.