Lebanon: The Gathering Storm Lebanon stands on the brink. As civil war continues in Syria, its smaller neighbour is increasingly being sucked into the chaos raging next door. Long subordinate to Damascus, the tiny nation of some 4 million people is as tense now as at any time since the 15 year civil war ended in 1990. Clashes in the northern city of Tripoli between Sunni and Alawite factions, intensifying over the past 2 years, have left scores dead and reflect the increasing sectarian nature of the conflict in Syria. Hezbollah, the Shia Islamist militant group and political party, have confirmed they are actively involved in the fighting in Syria, raising tensions inside Lebanon and provoking Sunni hardliners. Hezbollah's involvement is widely seen as a battle to maintain an overland link to Iran, their principal backer and supplier of arms. The Bekaa Valley is the place where Hezbollah recruits were first indoctrinated to Ayatollah Khomeini’s vision of political Shiism and trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Today, rocket fire rains down on both Sunni, Christian, and Shia towns there with increasingly regularity. The number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is now over 800,000, and growing rapidly. The influx has put pressure on education and health systems, as well as natural resources. Wages have fallen throughout the country as Syrian workers willing to accept low pay flood the market. National elections, due to be held in June 2013, have been postponed until 2014 and a 17-month extension of parliament was voted for by politicians after they failed to agree changes to the electoral law. As the war in Syria shows no signs of abating Lebanon is sliding slowly back to a time most hoped was gone forever.