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The Jan. 2 bombing in Beirut's southern suburbs marked the third attack against Hezbollah's stronghold for its military support of the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria.While the circumstances around why Satem decided to blow himself up are still murky, his act points to two disturbing trends: the growing radicalization of underprivileged Sunnis and the entry of Al-Qaeda's two Syrian factions into Lebanon.Whether during Lebanon's 15-year Civil War or the resulting Syrian occupation until 2005, Sunni residents have cultivated a shared historical memory of the atrocities committed.In April, Assir began to send followers to Syria and even posted a video of himself purportedly near the battleground of Qusair. After his fighters attacked an army checkpoint near Sidon on June 23, a two-day battle left 17 Lebanese soldiers and dozens of Assir's men dead. Known for smuggling fighters into the governorate of Homs, he is reported to have fought alongside the Nusra Front in Syria. He may even act as the representative of Nusra and other Syrian Islamist factions in Lebanon. As the Syrian civil war continues, the links will strengthen between Lebanon's Salafist preachers and radical Syrian groups fighting the Assad regime.
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