Lebanon’s Leaders Cautious as Public Vents Rage at Funeral
Tens of thousands of Lebanese gathered in central Beirut Sunday for the funeral of a top Sunni security chief whose assassination last week in a car bomb explosion has revived fears in Lebanon of a renewed spate of sectarian bombings and killings.
The death of Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, the head of the intelligence wing of the Internal Security Forces, has sparked protests, some violent, across the country and calls for the government’s resignation. But whether it will directly spur prolonged and deepening unrest in Lebanon is doubtful.
The leadership of the anti-Syrian and Western-backed March 14 parliamentary coalition has shown little appetite for confrontations on the street which will only aggravate rising tensions between Lebanese Shiites and Sunnis. Furthermore, the militant Shiite Hezbollah is the strongest political and military force in the country and there is no other faction in Lebanon that that can successfully confront it.
However, Lebanese Sunnis are seething with rage and resentment toward the powerful Hezbollah and areas of Lebanon where Sunnis and Shiites live beside each other are certain to remain tense and could witness periodic clashes.