Lebanon’s complex religious and ethnic make-up has led to ideological and political views becoming polarised and fragmented between alliances amongst the eighteen recognized sects, which escalated into a fifteen year-long civil war. In addition to this, Syria, the PLO and Israel have fought their own wars within the country, each sighting regional allegiances or national security issues. The most recent being Israel’s attack on Hezbollah in July 2006 which displaced 900,000 Lebanese and resulted in the deaths of around 1,200 people.
The deep sectarian divisions erupted again into violence in May 2008, where Beirut and other locations saw armed clashes between Shia militias and forces loyal to the then Prime Minister Saad Hariri. This unity government then collapsed in 2011, after the resignation of all Hezbollah ministers and their political allies. This was due to a long-standing disagreement into the UN-backed inquiry into the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, a former Prime Minister and father of Saad Hariri, which they felt would indict Hezbollah members. A new government was finally created on June 13th, 2011 run by the March 8th Alliance. Tensions still remain incredibly high and the situation in Syria has only increased the risk for Lebanon to become again caught in the middle.