Christian Split in Lebanon Raises Specter of War

With the Islamist group Hezbollah having brought Lebanese politics to a standstill, the country’s once-dominant Christian community feels under siege and has begun re-establishing militias, training in the hills and stockpiling weapons.

Many Lebanese say another civil war ”” like the 15-year one that started in 1975 ”” is imminent and that the most dangerous flash points are within the divided Christian community.

Christian youth are signing up for militant factions in the greatest numbers since the end of the civil war, spray painting nationalist symbols on walls and tattooing them on their skin, and proclaiming their willingness to fight in a new civil war ”” in particular, against fellow Christians.

“When the war begins, I’ll be the first one in it,” said Fadil Abbas, 30, flexing his biceps in Shadow Tattoo as an artist etched a cross onto his shoulder. “I want everyone to know I am a Christian and I am ready to fight.”

The struggle is over who gets to be the next president, a post reserved for a Christian under Lebanon’s Constitution, and which must be filled by the end of November. But the larger question ”” one that is prompting rival Christian factions to threaten war ”” is whether Lebanese Christians must accept their minority status and get along with the Muslim majority (the choice of the popular Gen. Michel Aoun) or whether Christians should insist on special privileges no matter what their share of the population (the position of veteran civil war factions like the Phalange and the Lebanese Forces).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Middle East, Religion & Culture

3 comments on “Christian Split in Lebanon Raises Specter of War

  1. Wilfred says:

    Could we borrow some of them for next year’s Lambeth Conference?

  2. plainsheretic says:


    Not sure what you meant. Are you suggesting people should join militia’s and prepare for a violent civil war of christian against christian? Are you suggesting that we borrow some for lambeth for that purpose? Maybe you meant something else. I hope so.

  3. Wilfred says:

    Plainsparson, I was joking, & just don’t know how to use those cutsie wink emoticons.

    I do not know what the solution is for the Christians of Lebanon. Certainly it is not in killing each other. They are in a bad situation. One tactic Hezbollah used in last year’s war, was to send mobile rocket launchers into Christian towns, to fire missiles into Israel. They thought the Israelis would hesitate to bomb a Christian town in retaliation. But the Israelis don’t put up with these games for long.

    What I did mean was, I find more to admire in a young man like Fadil Abbas, in his courage, than in the whole jelly-spined ECUSA House of Bishops, trying to weasel their way to retirement.

    Well, most of them, anyway.