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A Snapshot Of The Middle Eastern Sectarian Powder Keg

Tyler Durden's picture


Yesterday's massive car bomb in Lebanon, which killed and wounded dozens including the country's police intelligence chief and has thus been dubbed as the most "high-profile assassination in seven years", confirmed once again that when it comes to regional powder kegs, the middle east is second to none, and is the 21st century equivalent of Eastern Europe. While nobody has claimed responsibility yet for yesterday's brazen attack (although the "agenda-less" media is once again insinuating it is the doing of Syria's leader Bashar al-Assad) one thing is certain: provocations of this nature will continue indefinitely until they escalate into something much more lethal. The reason: the melting pot melange of different sects in Syria and Lebanon, which co-exist in perfectly mutual hatred despite, or rather because of, the artificial political borders imposed between the two countries provides a terrific backdrop to which merely add a spark and watch everything go up in flames. Which also means that those seeking to provoke further military escalation in the region, now that attempts to stoke a conflict between Syria and Turkey have so far failed, will likely look to Lebanon as a new conduit for escalation.

Because remember: as David Rosenberg pointed out yesterday, in a time of record partiasniship, political bickering and lack of consensus, "it may end up taking some sort of a crisis, in the end, to galvanize the two parties to work towards a resolution to the fiscal morass."

And that is precisely what the endgame here is: the intention to unify a hopelessly split congress (and senate) behind the patriotic banner of war. It is only a matter of time (but certainly in time to address the Fiscal Cliff).

As to the "powder keg" nature of the latest hotspot, here is Stratfor with a summary of the "Ethnic Divisions in the Levant."

As the conflict in Syria devolves into clan-based warfare, Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah is working on contingency plans to ensure its long-term survival. Hezbollah's goal is to maintain a strong military, political and economic presence in Lebanon, especially since proxy battles are almost certain to intensify in the Levant as emboldened Sunnis gain confidence to challenge Hezbollah's autonomous position in the region. One of the group's contingency plans assumes that Syria fails to hold together after the fall of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's regime and the country splinters into autonomous entities.

In Syria, the Alawites will retreat to the mountainous coastal region for protection. The al Assad regime has already been preparing for this contingency by reinforcing military positions around the enclave stretching from Latakia to the port of Tartus. A coastal Alawite enclave would be difficult to defend and sustain economically in isolation. However, if both Syria and Lebanon are consumed by civil war, Shia and Alawites (who are an offshoot Shiite sect) would likely band together to defend themselves against their sectarian rivals. Hezbollah appears to have a contingency plan to carve out and defend a 20-kilometer (12-mile) border corridor with the Syrian Alawite enclave on the coast.

This is a difficult endeavor, because Hezbollah does not exercise authority in Sunni-dominated northern Lebanon. Instead, Hezbollah would control strategic access to the Orontes River Basin in Syria and Lebanon to form a contiguous Alawite-Shiite mini-state. Hezbollah currently claims control of 18 villages along the widest part of the basin. Most reported Hezbollah activity in Syria has occurred in this area, particularly around the border town of Al Qusayr. Controlling the bulge of the river basin would theoretically allow Hezbollah to pool resources with an Alawite enclave in the northern Bekaa while the organization attempts to hold its ground in the southern Beirut suburbs and southern Lebanon.


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Sat, 10/20/2012 - 12:59 | 2906475 PUD
PUD's picture

Religion poisons everything. Christopher Hitchens god rest his soul. lol

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:04 | 2906489 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Isn't this a subplot on HOMELAND?

And how come Jack Bauer never had to infiltrate a Gay Bar?


Sat, 10/20/2012 - 20:54 | 2907146 Spirit Of Truth
Spirit Of Truth's picture

It's all a chess game and Russia is the only one playing:

The West is utterly clueless.

Believe what you want to believe and pay the price accordingly.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:16 | 2906510 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture

It is literally a ticking time bomb over there.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:51 | 2906562 Randall Cabot
Randall Cabot's picture

"Al-Hassan's department also had a role in breaking up several Israeli spy rings inside Lebanon over the past few years, Lebanese officials said"

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:39 | 2906625 rustymason
rustymason's picture

"What?! We're in a depression, Jim?!"

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 03:38 | 2907444 IrritableBowels
IrritableBowels's picture

Literally?  Probably not.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:20 | 2906513 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture


Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:29 | 2906527 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

It has always been about the tribes.


It will always be.


It will ever be.


Religion as an aside will make for good fights as it draws upon belief, the best short circuit in the human

brain ever discovered with some of the best exploits working for millenia, people will just believe anything,

believe it or not.


They will fight it out as ever or some highly civilized balance will be kept on the edge of things as mentioned.

True terror is usually introduced from the outside or with outside backing and initiation.

High value targets , even in the unlikely event of lethal local animosity,

would still be outsourced .





Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:53 | 2906563 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

The Lost Tribe of Dan bitchez... Always trying to fuck your shit up...

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 15:35 | 2906690 mc_LDN
mc_LDN's picture

Nope thats not religion that corrupts - thats ideological humans. Take religion away and you still have those same people who will find something else to start wars over.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 18:27 | 2906957 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Maybe ZH could create it's own tribe.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 19:14 | 2907034 knukles
knukles's picture

I'd like the Druze gay bar in the sparsely populated region of the Levant for 10,000 rounds, Alex

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:35 | 2906539 Stackers
Stackers's picture

Pud, most of those people are of the same religion. Did you mean stone age tribal hatereds poison everything ?

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:56 | 2906568 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

Pretty much as you say, unfortunately. Older maps show the semitic tribes in the region , which doesn`t explain much to the uninitiated observer either.

Not quite stone age, just go as far back as Nietzsche dared as when "people were in need of religion".


Sat, 10/20/2012 - 17:05 | 2906810 RichardP
RichardP's picture

when "people were in need of religion" = when people were in need of something to explain things.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 15:33 | 2906688 mc_LDN
mc_LDN's picture

Yes and what starts as the core of religion - certain spiritual truths gets owned, hierachlised and corrupted by "humans". We just cant help it. ALL organisational hierachies that have the sort of sway a religion gets will always be prone to being usurped for power. Thats when we get orthodox and religion becomes a control mechanism via power hungry greed mongers. I mean just look at the Catholic Church these days or to take a modern example the Fed Reserve. We're all sheep getting herded by greedy elites down through the millenia.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 15:55 | 2906715 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

"and religion becomes a control mechanism"  might be a natural thing in the sense of "The Will to Power". To sound less totalitarian than my master,

it is the will to rule , to direct things your way, my way , well,  just the Will to Power :-)

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 16:36 | 2906778 toomanyfakecons...
toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

The New Testament King James Bible introduces and defines debt. It has been used in Western courtrooms for hundreds of years.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 18:32 | 2906968 Treeplanter
Treeplanter's picture

Syria was quite nice when it was Christian. Islam is the poison everywhere it goes. We need to deport the goat fuckers.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 22:47 | 2907233 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

yes how dare they let their religion and political boundaries stand in the way of our western worship of oil

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:01 | 2906486 dbTX
dbTX's picture

Just in time for November 6th

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:05 | 2906490 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


Daylight savings time Fall reset?

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 19:24 | 2907045 Matt
Matt's picture

close, but no cigar.

Daylight Savings will be November 4, 2012.

Remember, remember the fifth of November.

November 6 is US Presidential Election.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 10:30 | 2907620 WakeUpPeeeeeople
WakeUpPeeeeeople's picture

Nov 5 is Guy Faulks Day. Where is Guy Faulks when you need him.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:07 | 2906493 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Yep, and Egypt, since liberation by the Radical Islamic Bros in da Hood, are making Fwends w/ the Persians, and they want a Nuke,just what we need a proliferation in the most low key part of the world, with the least radical of all peoples.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:13 | 2906501 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

Funny kind of map legend with the Jews of Israel just marked as 'Other'

Rothschilds might not like being slighted like that, after all the money they put into the place, including the huge amount for that spooky Israeli Supreme Court building, with all the Masonic and pagan symbols ...

Very creepy, has been covered by the leading Israeli radical journalist Barry Chamish

Photos of that very weird structure on this page here -

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 18:33 | 2906976 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

Paranoia is sometimes funny:

"And all through the building you will detect Hindu Altars. All of this will make more sense as we go along, keep in mind we are talking about the establishment of a form of Government that will usher in the anti-Christ."

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:13 | 2906502 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Don't worry. When he is reelected, Obama will escalate his support of the Muslin Brotherhood and topple ofher regimes in the name of democrary. The Middle East hasn't seen a Caliphate since the Ottoman Empire and Obama feels its about time.


EXACTLY what the Muslim has done, and is doing.


Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:14 | 2906508 loveyajimbo
loveyajimbo's picture

Why not let the entire middle east burn?  then, after it is almost over... we go in and take all the oil.  Might have to make a deal with China or russia... so what?  Plenty to go around.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:06 | 2906590 Mr. Hudson
Mr. Hudson's picture

"We" won't get anything. The banksters will take the oil.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 15:07 | 2906659 css1971
css1971's picture

The banksters have the oil... Except in Iran.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 16:32 | 2906775 toomanyfakecons...
toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

Since the Taliban won their war, pipelines in Afghanistan are certainly in doubt.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 18:17 | 2906942 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

After it's almost over? This could last for decades. Hell just the Syrian civil war, at a low intensity, has been going on for 18 months. Now just add a whole lot more people and it'll last even longer... especially if the war becomes about religion instead of overthrowing a regime.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 10:00 | 2907590 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture


we go in and take all the oil

Are you an oil magnate/bankster? Don't be coy. You must already know that is the "Shock Doctrine" plan.

And that it's not just the oil "we" are after.

There's profits to be made in financing and arming the whole enterprise. There's privatization and debt slavery to create profits foreign AND domestic. There's fearmongering money to be made building police states and prisons.

Military bases and fortress "embassies" must be built to keep potential competitors out.

But to further those developments, "we" and our Saudi/Israeli front men must keep stirring the flames to insure everything will "burn". Wahabbi jihadists must be motivated and armed, Mossad agents must continue assassinations and false flag attacks, and special death squads must have nightly raids and daily drone liquidations. And "our" friendly drug lords and dependent dictators must be supported when convenient.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:21 | 2906517 Thurifer
Thurifer's picture

Free Constantinople! 500 years of occupation is ENOUGH!

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 18:21 | 2906949 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Yeah Europe should definitely go back to the crusades, it would unite them under a strong EU and be very bullish for the economy!

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:05 | 2906529 Duke of Con Dao
Duke of Con Dao's picture

Obama falls to Excuse Game again:

YouTube - 'Difference between me and the Terrorists? They can't blame Bush!' says President Obama

here;s the whole gang again inc. Rice, the Hill, Cliff, Stewart and Letterman
YouTube - "Things Screw Up" says Prez Obama, "Gaddafi promised me a Bugatti and left me with Bengzahi instead!

and here's the so-called 'doctored tape' according to cineaste mp on calculated risk blog: 
YouTube - The Daily Show Scene of Prez Obama saying 'If four Americans get killed, it's not optimal."

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 13:46 | 2906552 OutLookingIn
OutLookingIn's picture

Think anything will change?

Give your head a shake!

The people of that region on earth, have been at each others throats since time began.

Nothing will change. Same old. Same old. And theres not a damned thing anybody can do about it!

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:04 | 2906583 Mr. Hudson
Mr. Hudson's picture

The only difference is that a hundred years ago they slaughtered each other with swords and muskets while riding camels. Now they have modern weaponry that we gave them.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:35 | 2906621 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

We got paid in hate , though. Alladin having checked the oil on your lamp lately ?

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 16:30 | 2906766 toomanyfakecons...
toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

When the U.S. Army retired the Winchester lever-action rifle, tens of thousands were sold to Turkey. We've come a long way from Winchesters to fighter jets.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 16:45 | 2906787 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

You got me on a weak spot, I`m about to sell off my trusted hunting equipment from Winchester Repeating Arms , she being some good but hopelessly outdated bitch whos barrell never fitted and

had the worst trigger action of any of my guns...

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 17:23 | 2906836 bilejones
bilejones's picture

Not like the millenia of amity between the English, French and Kraut, eh?

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 19:29 | 2907053 Matt
Matt's picture

What amity? Did the people have any cares for one another? Or was it all just cousins fighting for position in a giant family fued of aristocrats?

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:01 | 2906574 Mr. Hudson
Mr. Hudson's picture

Where is Lawrence of Arabia when you need him?

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:19 | 2906606 rustymason
rustymason's picture

With Tony Blair, riding Brown's Bottom!

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 17:47 | 2906889 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

greenie on ya, how many will understand???

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 16:25 | 2906754 ali-ali-al-qomfri
ali-ali-al-qomfri's picture

will you settle for ;

'Ali from Philly'

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 16:46 | 2906792 toomanyfakecons...
toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

On Netflix.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 20:39 | 2907134 Iwanttoknow
Iwanttoknow's picture

In a gay bar.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:05 | 2906586 richard in norway
richard in norway's picture

looks like isreal is gearing up for another invasion of south lebanon, remember the last time they did a high profile car bombing and blamed it on syria

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:09 | 2906595 Mr. Hudson
Mr. Hudson's picture

The writer never mentions the Jews. He preferes to call them "The Others". The Others will do the car bombings.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 22:09 | 2907207 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

Israel needs the water source in southern Lebanon. Trouble is every time they try and take it the Hezbolla kicks their asses.  But given a collapse in Syria and Lebanon falling apart in Hezbolla's rear postions, Israel may feel that the chaos would weaken Hezbolla supply lines and allow Israel to roll them up in a week, clean out the local population and get the water and an Israeli buffer zone in southern Lebanon, whcih can slowly be settled by Jews and become another part of greater Israel. This is Israel's prefered outcome, but it is by no means a done deal. For now, at least, Hezbolla is in ass kicking form.

Russia has also moved their brand new S-400 anti aircraft and anti missile system to the Turkish border. Long range Russian missiles could kill aircraft and missiles very deep inside Turkey, making a Syrian no fly zone operating from Turkish air bases very vulnerable should Russia choose to support Syria. The Turkish force down of a Russian civilian plane with NO weapons found on board has put Putin into a fit of rage. Thus the S-400 move, S-400 is quite possibly the world's best long range mobile anti aircraft system. It clearly can not be discounted. The older S-300 is considered by Israel to be capable of serious damage to the elite Israeli airforce. Thus Israel demanded Russia not sell S-300 to Iran. S-400 kicks serious ass over the capable S-300. If Turkey wants to lose a shit load of plans, I suggest they the try and bring down another Russian civilian aircraft. Good luck with that Turkish stooges of NATO!

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 22:55 | 2907236 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Well said

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 23:24 | 2907237 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture


Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:15 | 2906600 rustymason
rustymason's picture

"While nobody has claimed responsibility yet for yesterday's brazen attack ..."

They are busy just now, making up their awards for having foiled their own plot to blow up the FED.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:29 | 2906614 steveo77
steveo77's picture

Took some Sunset picture over the mountains of Oahu, reposting for those who didn't see. Not world class, but really good. Also, got some Zombie chicks/snorg tee girls, what more could one want in a post? LOL, also appreciate the blog support and visits. mountains-oahu.html

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 14:49 | 2906635 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

The perpetual headline, approaching death and taxes certainty:

"Unrest in the Middle East."

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 15:13 | 2906667 Heyoka Bianco
Heyoka Bianco's picture

The Middle East: the dry, cracking, itchy taint of the world.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 17:48 | 2906891 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

Hezb'Allah keeps the corridor open?  Hmmm...

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 18:10 | 2906930 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Divide the middle-east already.

One country for the shia. One country for the sunnis. One country for the jews. One country for the christians. And one country for the moderate ones who can live with anyone.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 19:34 | 2907057 Matt
Matt's picture

And who gets the oil? Who gets the fresh water? Even if you came up with "fair" distribution, everyone would feel that you are ripping them off.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 18:14 | 2906935 besnook
besnook's picture

other. lol. like they don't matter or have any pivotal role in the attempt to pit muslim against muslim and arab country against arab country. the entire region would unite for a generation around one mass attack on israel. that is why israel plays such a critical role in the fragmentation of the regions muslims. i really hope israel makes the mistake of attacking iran before bibis election. that could provide the catalyst for a unified assault upon israel. even the kurds would participate in that action. if the usa bay of pigs them i would dance like those fn israelis filming 9/11. from across the river.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 18:24 | 2906945 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Well if there's something the extremist muslims hate more than the jews or the west is their opposite branch of islam.

And fact is, if the middle-east didn't have any oil, the world wouldn't give a flying duck what happens there... just like people don't care about Africa's genocides and civil wars.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 22:53 | 2907235 Alternative
Alternative's picture

And if you didn't come out of the cunt of your mother, you probably wouldn't even know where you came from

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 19:18 | 2907012 RECISION
RECISION's picture

the intention to unify a hopelessly split congress (and senate)

That rather assumes that they aren't working precisely as desired.  Qui Bono.

The purpose of Govt isn't to get things done.

the purpose of Govt is to ensure that nothing changes.

Protect the Status-quo.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 21:32 | 2907187 JimboSC
JimboSC's picture

Just for shits, here's Genesis 16:12:

"12And he [Ishmael] will be as a wild ass among men; his hand will be against every man and every man’s hand against him, and he will live to the east and on the borders of all his kinsmen"

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 22:41 | 2907231 mvsjcl
mvsjcl's picture

Shi'a–Sunni. Democrats-Republicans. Labour-Tories.

OK. I get it now.

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 23:19 | 2907257 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

What is missing is the massive number of refugees that have streamed out of the region. 700,000 is a truly staggering number...which is prime recruiting ground for "regime change" as clearly there is currently no government in charge of Syria as a whole given such a number. These folks will return...the question is to what. Syria has a massive chemical weapons stockpile: now acknowledged actually. as a consequence you can forget all the baloney about "these people this" and "those people that." the strategic interest is clear...the question is will the US and various interested parties in the region (Jordan comes to mind) decide to act and act forcefully to both secure the mass of refugees and the chemical weapons stockpiles which apparently and now re-vitalized Al Qaeda has its eyes on? To me it's a question of when not if...and sooner, not later.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 00:58 | 2907360 WAMO556
WAMO556's picture

And thousands of russian soldiers will just idly stand by while what you propose is done?? Fucking genius, go back to stacking your silver while the rest of us professionals who practice war for a living do the talking, we will call on you for money, when we need it.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 00:38 | 2907339 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Like voting for politician that wants to see WWIII take place is going to be a smash hit with their constituents. Maybe everyone is suicidal but not likely.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 01:33 | 2907389 EconoIdiot
EconoIdiot's picture

No but,  you guys are all wrong!  Those folks need and depend on the US to be over there! We protect them and bring democracy to the land they inhabbit! We need to spend more $$$ and get them on even keel.  After all we can print unlimited amounts of $$$.  Right?

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 02:04 | 2907400 Die Weiße Rose
Die Weiße Rose's picture

Who is at the very base of all the mid-east conflicts ?

Who has tried to invade Lebanon in 1982 and again in 2006 ?

Who tries to agitate new conflicts in the Middle East by creating ongoing terror and unrest in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and now again in Lebanon ? 

The answer is of course: ISRAEL

Washington Post Transcript:  (Monday, November 1, 2004)

"I say to you Allah knows that it had never occurred to us to strike the towers, but after it became unbearable and we witnessed the oppression and tyranny of the American Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine and Lebanon it came to my mind."

The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that.

The bombardment began and many were killed and injured and others were terrorized and displaced I couldn't forget those moving scenes, blood, and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high-rises demolished over their residents rockets raining down on our homes without mercy the situations was like a crocodile meeting a helpless child powerless except for his screams.

Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn't include a weapon?

And the whole world saw and heard but didn't respond. In those difficult moments, many hard-to-describe ideas bubbled in my soul, but in the end they produced an intense feeling of rejection of tyranny and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors.

And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.

And that day, it was confirmed to me that oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy.

Destruction is freedom and democracy while resistance is terrorism and intolerance.

This means the oppressing and embargoing to death of millions as Bush Sr. did in Iraq in the greatest mass slaughter of children mankind has ever known and it means the throwing of millions of pounds of bombs and explosives at millions of children -- also in Iraq -- as Bush Jr. did in order to remove an old agent and replace him with a new puppet to assist in the pilfering of Iraq's oil and other outrages.

So with these images and their like as their background,the events of September 11th came as a reply to those great wrongs.

Washington Post Transcript of Bin Laden's Videotaped Message:


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