The Specter of Sunni Military Mobilization in Lebanon
CENTER FOR NAVAL ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA STRATEGIC STUDIES RESEARCH DEPT
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Historically, the Sunnis in Lebanon have had difficulty raising viable militias. Mainstream leaders have traditionally rejected wholesale military mobilization, preferring to pursue their communitys interests through the political process. Most of the Sunni fighters in Lebanon today belong to extremist groups, which have thus far failed to garner significant public support. However, there are indications that the calculus for militia-building may be changing. Since the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005, the failure of the political elite to protect Sunni interests has reinforced a sense of victimization, and has created space for the growth of militant fundamentalist groups eager to claim the role of community defenders. As sectarian tensions grow, fueled by developments in Syria and Hizballahs continued role in that conflict, the Sunni population may come to perceive regional instability as an existential threat. In this case, those leaders willing to employ violence to protect Sunni interests may gain legitimacy in the eyes of the community. A confluence of political, social, and military dynamics affecting the Sunni community could signal a shift towards more widespread militarization. Our analysis suggests the following indicators could presage militarization of the Lebanese Sunni community 1 Mainstream Sunni politicians begin to adopt the sort of militant, sectarian rhetoric currently employed by some Islamists to retain their political dominance 2 Sunni officials and elites attack the legitimacy of state institutions, particularly the Lebanese Army 3 The Future Movements Christian allies, particularly the Lebanese Forces and Phalange parties, break their political alliance over concerns of Sunni militancy 4 Sunni groups attempt to accumulate more and heavier weaponry and 5 Sunni-dominated state institutions e.g., Internal Security Forces support sectarian militias with funding, weaponry, or operational assistance.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Unconventional Warfare