Gunfire on the streets of Beirut. Is Lebanon decending towards civil war?
Clashes intensify on Beirut streets
Al Jazeera’s james bays reports on the continued battles in Beirut, the Lebanese capital, amid reports that Hezbollah has taken control of many parts of the capital.
Nasrallah address Lebanon
Added: May 08, 2008
Hezbollah’s leader has warned the government’s moves to close the Shia group’s private telephone network are tantamount to “a declaration of war”.
Al Jazeera broadcast extracts of his speech.
Lebanon Descends Into Chaos – Rival Leaders Order General Strike
By Robert Fisk
05/08/08 “The Independent“
Burning tyres on the airport road, flights suspended, demands from the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt that Hizbollah moves secret cameras from runway 1-7 and end the militia’s equally secret underground communications equipment. Across Corniche Mazraa, crowds of shrieking Sunni and Shia Muslims hurl abuse and stones at each other. A soldier comes up to my car at the crossroads. “Turn round,” he shouts. “They’re shooting.”
Lebanon seems to feed on crisis, need crisis, breathe crisis, like a wounded man needs blood. The man who should be the president is head of the army and the man who believes he leads the resistance – Sayed Hassan Nasrallah of the Hizbollah – accuses Mr Jumblatt of doing Israel’s work while Mr Jumblatt claims the head of Beirut airport security, Colonel Wafic Chucair, works for the Hizbollah and should be fired.
Yesterday, in case you hadn’t guessed, was a “general strike” by opponents of the Lebanese government with all the usual chaos. Mr Nasrallah is to hold a press conference today and then we’ll all find out if this latest crisis is the greatest crisis since the last great crisis. Yes, a good cup of cynicism is necessary to wash down the rhetoric and threats of the past few days. At its most serious is the incendiary language in which Lebanon’s politicians now address each other, the kind of menacing words that could easily touch an assassin’s heart.
Indeed, the start of this latest drama might be traced to the murder of two Phalangist officials in the Bekaa town of Zahle a few weeks ago. The murderer has been named, is linked to the pro-Syrian opposition and is still at large.
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