The recent events in Tripoli remind me of the situation in the late 1960s and early 1970s, just before the outbreak of the Lebanese War of 1975. The actors' names may have changed, but the play and the director - namely Syria - remain the same.
In the 1970s, the Palestinian criminals of the PLO were the Trojan horse used by Syria to destabilize Lebanon and use it as the war front against Israel. There were - and the evidence to date is that there still are - at least two motives for the Syrian enemy regime to do so.
One was that Syria's defeat in the 1967 War with Israel was of such magnitude that the "honor" and "dignity" of the Arab Syrian Baath Socialist Party had to be restored by all means. And so Syria, in its military weakness and incompetence at ever defeating Israel, made the strategic decision to drag Lebanon along into a fight with Israel that Lebanon had managed to escape since the only war it fought against Israel, the 1948 war in whose aftermath Lebanon and Israel signed the 1949 armistice that to this day both countries agree defines their relationship, despite the many other wars between them since 1949. I remember the 1967 war vividly: We knew the Syrians (and the Egyptians too) were losing and lying to their people about who was winning. We painted our windows and car headlights blue, supposedly for camouflage against a possible Israeli attack. But the vast majority of the Lebanese sided with Israel publicly, knowing from the experience of the previous three decades that Syria hated Lebanon, that Syria had attempted several times to topple the Lebanese government in coup after coup attempt executed by the Fascist Syrian Socialist National Party (الحزب القومي السوري), and that both Syria and Egypt were trying to force Lebanon into an ill-fated Arab Union spearheaded b Gamal Abdel Nasser. The Lebanese hated Syria in return, as they still remembered the relatively recent 1958 troubles caused by the Syrians and Nasser's attempts at derailing the Lebanese National Pact that defined the structure of government in Lebanon, for the sole purpose of dragging the country into a confrontation with Israel that Lebanon knew it could never win.
The second motive for the Syrian enemy regime's attempts to destabilize Lebanon followed shortly after the 1973 October War, when a second defeat and humiliation of the Syrians on the Golan Heights convinced the Baathists in Damascus, now led by Hafez Assad, to acquiesce to Henry Kissinger's plan. Kissinger, then the US Secretary of State, had negotiated the truce on the Golan Heights after the 1973 War, which led to the positioning of UN observers in 1974 between Syria and Israel. The Kissinger Plan, to which both Syria and Israel subscribed called for:
1- Keep the Golan Heights front calm at any cost. This has been very successful since to date not one bullet was ever fired between Syria and Israel, even though Israel eventually annexed the Golan Heights, and Syria has continued its warmongering against Israel via the Lebanese War as a proxy. Indeed, the destabilization of Lebanon by Syria for the next 50 years - and to this day - remains the means by which Syria claims to be "resisting" Israel, because in Syria itself no such resistance or effort at liberating the Golan ever materialized other than by yelling and screaming through the media.
2- Focus any hostilities between Israel and Syria to the Lebanese arena, which both the Americans and the Israelis also hoped would have another windfall: As the Anglo-Saxon West considered Lebanon a French Mandate vintage country (as opposed to Israel which was a British Mandate vintage country), then a failure of Lebanon as a state would be an indirect good mark for the American-British line of western diplomacy and a downgrade of the French line of diplomacy. Remember that these were times still very close to the end of World War II and the French-British duel persisted. A failure of Lebanon as a state was already cooked up with the major ingredient being the defeat of the PLO by the US-British vintage Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the 1970 Black September Palestinian genocide conducted by King Hussein of Jordan against the Palestinian population. As a result, the PLO and its hordes of terror groups moved their headquarters from Amman to Beirut (not Damascus, mind you), and the Kissinger Plan called for surrendering the soon-to-fail State of Lebanon to Yasser Arafat who would then be satisfied with Lebanon as a substitute homeland for his lost Palestine, and Israel would be off the hook when it came to the Right of Return and other Palestinian claims to Mandatory Palestine.
Thus, since the 1970s the Syrian enemy regime's mantra became to make Lebanon the ONLY war front against Israel, thus sparing Syria itself all the consequences and calamities of the same "Resistance" and "Steadfastness" and "Liberation" that were to be the hallmark of Lebanon's predicament for the next 50 years. In fact, all the other Arab countries - mainly Jordan and Egypt, and eventually the Palestinians themselves - regulated their relationships with Israel: Egypt signed the Camp David Accord in 1979. Jordan followed suit in the mid-1980s by surrendering its claims to the West Bank to the PLO who, in in turn signed its own treaties with Israel (Oslo and Madrid). Of course, the Syrian enemy regime regulated its relationship with Israel through the 1974 truce agreement to which it adhered to this day like a religion. To all these people, however, their war against Israel continued in Lebanon, via Lebanon, with Lebanese blood and treasure, sending the country into a spiral of violence and decline from which it never recovered. To this day, the Lebanese continue to be pushed and dragged into fighting Quixotic wars against Israel despite themselves.
Today, Syria continues to play the puppeteer in Lebanon. Instead of the PLO and the Sunnis of the 1970s, it now has the "Hezbollah Club": The Iranian terror organization Hezbollah, plus some Christians like the Frangieh clan of Zghorta and the Free Patriotic Movement of the demented traitor Michel Aoun, the Druze fence-sitter Walid Jumblatt and thy Syrian dummy Wi'am Wahhab, many Sunnis like the Karamis of Tripoli and the current Prime Minister Miqati, and a horde of Palestinian terrorists groups and Islamist radicals which it manipulates at will. With the Hezbollah Club, the tune of the anti-Lebanon conspiracy was modified from "liberating Palestine" to "liberating the Shebaa Farms": a fabricated Israeli occupation of a hill in the Lebanese south, which in fact was annexed by Syria from Lebanon in the 1950s, but which Syria's puppets today claim it is occupied by Israel as a pretext to keep Lebanon as the only Arab war front against Israel, and the reason why Hezbollah and Syria have amassed 50,000 missiles pointed at Israel in the Lebanese south.
Supposedly opposing the Syrian influence are the "reformed" Sunnis like the Hariri clan, the Siniora poodles of Saida, and others.... who actually used to be Syria's main puppets until the Syrian regime killed one of them, Rafik Hariri, in 2005. The main genuine opposition to Syria's hegemony remains in the hands of a few Christians who, unfortunately, were the warlords that ran the Lebanese War of 1975 with their criminality, their feudal allegiance to the Maronite Church, and their attachment to traditional antiquated forms of government that keep the country even more backward. Even if one believed in the cause of a Lebanon free from Syrian hegemony, it is difficult to support the standard bearers of that cause because of their background. And US foreign policy continues on the tracks of the Kissinger Plan: It continues to support the traditionalist warlords like Amin Gemayel and Samir Geagea on the Christian side, and the traditionalist former pro-Syrian Sunnis on the Muslim side. Instead of promoting secularism and those Lebanese on the ground working for secularism, human rights, etc., the US and the West are perpetuating the sectarian division of the country and keeping real change from happening. Why? The US continues to believe that Lebanon should become a substitute Palestine where Israel can bury the Palestinians' Right of Return claim.
That is the curse of Lebanon: The Syrian enemy regime acting at the behest of a Western-Israeli alliance to continue undermining Lebanon until such time as the Palestinian refugees, the PLO terrorists and their appendages of Sunni Islamist radicals take control of the country and settle the Palestinians for good in it. No wonder that the Western alliance and Israel continue to say that there will be no military intervention in Syria, that Syria is too "complicated" unlike Libya... All reasons for insidiously supporting the Baathist regime in Damascus, even as it commits the worst ever atrocities against it sown people and threatens once again to send Lebanon into a downward spiral of violence. What "complications" could there be in the Syrian situation, other than protecting Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, gobbling up Palestine with everyday facts on the ground (settlements, home confiscations...), and ensuring the permanent settlement of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to abort the Palestinian claim of the Right of Return. All that would left for Israel to deal with is the Jerusalem question, which is virtually settled: The PLO is ready to accept East Jerusalem as its capital of a future Palestinian Banana Republic, while Israeli encroachments on whatever is left of the other Jerusalem have been completed.