Political situation Threats to internal security
The country is still in the middle of a phase of reconstruction. Between 1975 and 1990, civil war raged in Lebanon – a war in which Syria and Israel also had a hand. In fact, Syria did not withdraw its occupying troops until 2005. Then, in 2006, there were militant clashes between Lebanon's Hezbollah militia and Israel.
Following the withdrawal of the Syrian troops, two political blocs – both more or less equal in power – emerged in Lebanon. The first one, the March 8 Alliance, led by the Shi'ite Hezbollah, supports Syria's leader, Bashar al-Assad. The second bloc is the March 14 Alliance, which includes the Sunni-backed Future Movement and has close ties to the West and to Saudi Arabia. This group sympathises with the Syrian rebel forces fighting President Assad.
In the summer of 2012, representatives of both blocs agreed not to interfere in the conflict in Syria. However, in spring 2013, Hezbollah broke this pact with a military intervention in the war on the side of the Assad regime. Since then, the divisions between Lebanon's political factions – and thus also between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims – have widened.