Lebanon bolsters security amid fears over Syria strike

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Lebanese authorities have intensified security measures across the country, the Lebanese Higher Defense Council announced this week, amid mounting concerns over a potential military strike on neighboring Syria.

“The council discussed measures taken to protect the headquarters of diplomatic missions in the wake of tensions in the Middle East and possible U.S. military action against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons,” a spokesperson from the council told Al Arabiya.

Meanwhile, the country’s political scene is becoming increasingly intense. Around 200 Lebanese youth, mainly affiliated with the March 8 coalition rallied in front of the American embassy this week to protest against the strike.

The recently appointed U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, David Hale, began his mandate in the wake of current regional volatility, accusing Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah of being a threat to the country’s stability by interfering militarily in the Syrian conflict.

“We believe the interests of the Lebanese people would be best served if all Lebanese adhere to that policy of disassociation. Yet one party in Lebanon, Hezbollah, continues to blatantly violate it through direct participation in the Syrian conflict, thereby exacerbating the challenges to Lebanon,” Hale told Al Arabiya.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department ordered its “non-emergency personnel and family members” to leave the U.S. embassy in Lebanon due to security threats.

Despite official calls to distance Lebanon from any potential repercussions in the event of an U.S. strike on Syria, it seems highly likely that Lebanon will be exposed to further spillover from the conflict next door.

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