In Progress: Heavy Gunfire, Prime Minister Office Stormed In Beirut

Yesterday we made it very clear why with the Turkey provocation avenue to further Middle East escalation rapidly closing, the one pathway left is Lebanon. Sure enough, today the escalation playbook is firmly in play - from Reuters: "Heavy gunfire erupted in central Beirut on Sunday after protesters tried to storm the offices of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, demanding that he quit over the assasination of a top intelligence official. An official said security forces had fired in the air. Witnesses said at least two protesters had fainted, apparently as a result of tear gas fired by security forces after protesters breached an outer barrier around the prime minister's offices. Hundreds of protesters, waving flags from the anti-Syrian opposition Future Movement - a mainly Sunni Muslim party - and Christian Lebanese Forces as well as black Islamist flags, marched on Mikati's offices after the funeral of Wissam al-Hassan."

When in doubt blame Syria: after all the horribly split US congress needs some flag to rally behind two months ahead of a decision that will force it to come up with a grand compromise which in the absence of a foreign conflict (and a third presidential debate precisely forcusing on US foreing policy), just isn't happening: "They accused Syria of being behind Hassan's killing and called for Mikati to resign."

Supposedly this means Syria took some time off from its busy daily schedule of provoking Turkey and NATO, and lobbing artillery shells into Turkish territory fully aware it (any by it we mean 'flip-flops on the ground' sponsored branches Al Qaeda operating in its territory of course) is playing with a fully blown Western world retaliation.

Finally, as a reminder - this is the regional sectarian powder keg just waiting for a "someone" to drop a lit match...