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Reports of the deaths of three protestors and the injury of many others in Beirut today risks providing the spark to the political and security powder keg that is Lebanon at present.

  • The violence occurred around a protest of Shi'ite groups linked to Hezbollah seeking to oust the judge investigating the devastating Beirut Port Explosion of 2020. Gunfire and RPG fire was exchanged between Shi'ite and Christian groups around the Ain el-Remmaneh neighbourhood.
  • The army has taken to the streets with warnings that any armed individuals they see will be shot, but the situation could well deteriorate significantly and rapidly.
  • As well as long-festering sectarian tensions, Lebanon remains in the midst of an almost-total economic collapse, with rampant inflation and shortages of necessities including fuel, food, and medicines.
  • The presence of Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon always risks a local conflict becoming a regional proxy war involving Iran and Saudi Arabia, while Israel will also be watching the situation in Lebanon closely.
  • Should the violence in Beirut prove sustained rather than a one-off it could result in a rapid deterioration in political stability in the country.