Lebanon’s Sunni-Shi’a divide is deepening dangerously. Lebanese Salafi militant Ahmad al-Asir – the star of the country’s radical Sunni movement – is on the run after a two-day battle between his partisans and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) left about 60 dead in his stronghold Sidon, a majority-Sunni city 40km south of Beirut

An optimist might interpret these events as a net positive, with the LAF routing a group that posed a growing threat to Lebanon’s fragile sectarian balance. But Mr Asir and his supporters view the LAF in much the same terms that Syrian rebels view the Syrian army: as an anti-Sunni force in cahoots with Hizbollah. The LAF reflects the country’s delicate sectarian dynamics: its ranks are multi-sectarian and it enjoys widespread popular support. (CONTINUED - 890 WORDS)