Five days after a devastating bomb attack killed a top Lebanese security chief sparking minor clashes and road blockages by his supporters, a semblance of calm has returned to a country that has little interest in starting a new civil war.  The death of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, head of the police’s intelligence bureau, in a car bomb explosion in Beirut provoked headlines around the world that Lebanon was descending toward renewed civil strife and suffering the consequences of a spillover from neighboring Syria, which is caught in its own devastating conflict. Although Syria has been blamed by many Lebanese for Hassan’s assassination, the reality is more complex, and the prognosis not necessarily as dire as the international assumptions would suggest.


“No I don’t think there will be a civil war from this assassination,” says Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East Center in Beirut. “The leaderships of March 14 and March 8 do not want instability in Lebanon at this time,” he added referring to the two rival parliamentary coalitions that dominate the Lebanese political landscape. [Link]