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WASHINGTON – Tensions are building back up five years after the Lebanese army spent three months bombarding the Sunni Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon to dislodge the al-Qaida group, Fatah al-Islam, whose members had taken it over, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The residents haven’t seen the promised reconstruction, while heightened security is restricting the camp’s population from making a livelihood, with no Palestinian body to represent their interests.
Now, the conflict in neighboring Syria is having a spill-over effect that could ignite the camp’s population into renewed armed battles with the army. Increasingly, the area where the camp is located has become a haven for the Sunni opposition that has escaped the constant bombardment of the Syrian military.
In turn, regional analysts say, any Sunni uprising at the camp could quickly spread throughout Lebanon where the Iranian-backed Hezbollah supports the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
The restrictions imposed on the Palestinian residents by a combination of increased security, disputes, corruption in contracting for reconstruction and discriminatory employment and property laws are affecting the residents’ ability to make a livelihood, thereby adding to the tensions with the Lebanese government, with no relief in sight.
Organizations concerned about the spread of violence in Lebanon should the Nahr al-Bared camp erupt again have made proposals to the Lebanese parliament and government, the Lebanese armed forces and even to the United Nations Relief Work Agency, but there is no expectation that the recommendations will be acted on.
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