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Hezbollah Takes Control Of ‘Muslim’ Beirut

From their joyous allies at Reuters:

Hezbollah imposes control on Beirut

By Tomm Perry

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah group took control of the Muslim half of Beirut on Friday, tightening its grip on the city in a major blow to the U.S.-backed government.

Security sources said at least 11 people had been killed and 30 wounded in three days of battles between pro-government gunmen and fighters loyal to Hezbollah, a Shi’ite political movement with a powerful guerrilla army…

In scenes reminiscent of the darkest days of the civil war, young men armed with assault rifles roamed the streets amid smashed cars and smoldering buildings. Fighting died down by mid-morning and Hezbollah and allied fighters were in control as government supporters put down their weapons.

Hezbollah gunmen took control of media outlets owned by governing coalition leader Saad al-Hariri, Lebanon’s strongest Sunni politician. Hariri’s television and radio stations went off the air.

An opposition source told Reuters that Hezbollah and its allies would maintain road blocks that have paralyzed much of the city since Wednesday, including barricades on routes to the airport, until a resolution of their political conflict.

“All issues are linked. Beirut will remain shut until there is a political solution,” the source said, referring to the dispute which triggered this week’s violence and the rival sides’ broader 17-month-long power struggle…

An influential pro-government leader called for dialogue.

“The party (Hezbollah), regardless of its military strength, cannot annul the other,” Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Druze minority, told the pro-government LBC television. “Dialogue alone brings results. Running away from dialogue is not useful.”

The dead included a woman and her 30-year-old son, who were killed when trying to flee Ras al-Nabae — a mixed Sunni-Shi’ite Beirut district and scene of some of the heaviest clashes…

Opposition gunmen of the Syrian Socialist National Party set ablaze a building housing studios of Hariri’s TV station.

Hezbollah had been steadily seizing pro-government offices in the predominantly Muslim western half of the city.

Backed by the Shi’ite Amal group, Hezbollah fighters have been handing control of the offices to the army — which is trying to play a neutral role in the crisis.

A security source said Hezbollah and its allies were in control of the mainly Muslim half of Beirut after pro-government gunmen laid down their weapons in their last bastion…

But you see, there is no need for a global war on terror. The police can handle the handful of crazy types who pop up here and there.

Right, Mr. Kerry?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, May 9th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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