The rivalry between the pre-dominantly allawite pro Syrian neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen and the pre-dominantly Sunni anti-Syrian neighborhood of Bab-Al-Tabaneh goes back a long time. But with the eruption of the unrest in Syria never have tensions been this high. Anti Syrian Salafist groups now have a noticeable increased presence in Tripoli, which is also home to supporters of the anti-Syrian March 14 alliance. Both the Salafists and March 14 enjoy strong ties with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, arguably the strongest proponents of Bashar Al-Assad’s downfall.
These developments have been accompanied by other dangerous sectarian signs. Religious figures in Tripoli have called for the establishment of a Sunni military council in the city. These same religious figures have resorted to sectarian slogans. “Coming to the aid of the Sunni’s brothers in Syria” in reference to the Syrian opposition is a common term.
Lebanon is a country extremely prone to sectarianism having witnessed bloody conflicts in the past between Muslims and Christians. This vulnerability further increases the danger on Lebanon as some regional countries continue to give the situation in Syria a somewhat sectarian flavor.