by Salah Takieddine
BEIRUT, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Lebanon will be significantly affected if the United States decides to strike its neighboring Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, analysts told Xinhua.
"Lebanon would be certainly affected by any ongoing incident in Syria, therefore our priority should be confirming our disassociation policy -- not be involved in the Syrian crisis and to unite to protect our country from any repercussion of the presumed attack," said Akram Chehayeb, a member of the Lebanese parliament.
BOMB ATTACKS THREAT
Lebanon currently is split into two camps over the Syrian crisis: the March 8 alliance led by the Hezbollah militant party backing the Syrian government, and the opposition March 14 camp led by the Future movement opposing the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Since Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian crisis, the political division in the country has become sharp. Furthermore, the recurrence of bombings in Lebanon, which left at least 70 people dead and over 894 injured in less than two months, has put people on pins and needles.
It is obvious that if the U.S. attacks Syria, the situation in Lebanon would become more complicated.
While Hezbollah pointed that "(It is) the same hand committed the bombings in Al Roueiss and Tripoli," a former security official told Xinhua that "whoever is the perpetrator ... it is clearly a direct action related to the Syrian crisis."
With growing fears of more car bombings in Beirut and the specter of the looming U.S. strike on Syria, a series of security measures have been taken by the Lebanese authorities.
But those measures "cannot keep the country safe if not backed by a political agreement," the security official noted.
"We should rapidly reach a solution to end the cabinet- formation crisis. We should have a government that would take control as soon as possible, the caretaker cabinet cannot govern," the official added.
REACTION OF HEZBOLLAH
As for the reaction of Hezbollah militant group to the Syria strike, Kassem Kassir, a Lebanese political analyst and writer with close connection to Hezbollah, said "there will be a difference whether the strike is limited or not."
"If it is really a limited strike, nothing will happen, but if it is a big one with effects on the battlefield in Syria, then Hezbollah will react based on the situation on the ground," he explained.
This is the exact fear raised among the Lebanese -- What would the Hezbollah reaction be? Would it react by launching thousands of rockets into Israel, bringing back the ghost of the devastating 2006 war?
"The difference between today and 2006 is that all the Lebanese were with the resistance of Hezbollah against Israel. This is why the resistance succeeded," Shehayeb said, adding that "But today, the country is divided and Hezbollah would find itself in an awkward position if it eventually drags the country in an open war. "