An elderly man sits in front of a shop in Baissour, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (The Daily Star/Nizar Hasan)
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In southern Syria, the Druze of Jabal al-Arab (known by some as Jabal al-Druze) last week engaged in deadly clashes with neighboring Bedouins, losing a dozen men including three preachers.The dilemma has exposed the deep divisions between the Lebanese Druze community's two main zaims – political leaders – over how to deal with the neighboring Syrian regime, especially now that it is mired in a complex and brutal war with a myriad of opponents.For example, PSP leader Walid Jumblatt has said the Jabal al-Arab clashes were orchestrated by the regime, accusing it of trying to trick the Druze into entering the war on its side as it has done with Syria's other minorities.But a spokesperson for his rival party, Talal Arslan's Lebanese Democratic Party, the second most popular group among Lebanese Druze, countered that the Syrian regime was simply concerned that radical groups would eradicate Syria's rich ethnic diversity. Regardless of the differences in opinion on Assad, all community leaders seemed to agree that the real enemy to the Druze people is obvious: the rising tide of extremist Islamist groups.
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