A car bomb exploded in a suburb of Beirut yesterday, killing at least 22 and injuring close to 300 others. According to the Lebanese Interior Ministry, the impacted building was a facility used by Hezbollah, the Shi'a political party in Lebanon whose paramilitary arm has been openly fighting for government forces in Syria.
Shortly after the bombing, a Sunni rebel group in Syria took responsibility for the attack. A video was released on the Internet showing three members of the group, calling itself Aisha Umm-al Mouemeneen, directly calling out Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The three masked men stood in front of an Islamic faith flag while calling Hezbollah "pigs."
From blasts in Iraq to drone strikes in Yemen, from shockingly violent clashes in Egypt to the bloody civil war in Syria, and now this explosion Thursday in Beirut, it seems like the Arab Spring, which began as a period of positive hope in the region, has spiraled out of control. It was only a matter of time before Syrian rebels took the fight to Hezbollah territory in Lebanon. The two-year-long conflict has now become a back-and-forth proxy war, with regional parties and great powers involving themselves on both sides.
Thursday's attack isn't the first time the conflict has spilled over into Lebanon, as the region remains divided sharply along sectarian lines. After Hezbollah announced it would be sending resources and fighters to augment President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria, they received threats and have been attacked domestically by rebel groups desperate to get the upper hand in the protracted struggle. By taking the fight into Lebanon, Syrian groups like AUM hope to make it too costly for Hezbollah to continue propping up the Assad regime.
With foreign fighters and terrorists pouring in from Iraq and elsewhere, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah supplying arms and fighters to al-Assad, U.S. plans to arm the rebels, and Israel actively striking arms shipments in-country, it's plain to see that Syria is a no-win situation. Even in the best possible scenario, there are so many disjointed and ideologically distinct groups in Syria that a post-al-Assad reconstruction of the country threatens to be as fragmented and violent as the civil war is now.
The death toll in the conflict stands at over 100,000.