Islamist fighters carry weapons in Tripoli, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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Since the formation of ISIS in northern Iraq and Syria, observers have turned their gaze toward Tripoli, a bastion of fundamentalist Sunni groups in Lebanon with a complicated relationship to the country's modern borders. Some fear that the city's disenfranchised Sunni youth are being seduced by the 'dream of the caliphate,' and could even try to establish an Islamic state in Tripoli. Tripoli's intelligentsia, however, maintain that while the civil war gave rise to Islamist groups that have since exploited the neglected northern region's poor economic and social conditions, the city is not yet in danger of becoming an outpost of the Islamic State. Tripoli has served as a major center for various principalities and governments under the Phoenicians, the Arabs, the Crusaders and the Ottomans. For centuries before Lebanese independence, Tripoli's strategic position on the coast made it an important Arab city, and some local leaders sought to preserve its influence by opposing the unification of greater Lebanon.In 1958, many Lebanese Muslims, especially in Tripoli, declared a revolution against the government of Chamille Chamoun.
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