Lebanon takes 2 Steps toward Civil War; Beirut in Chaos

On late Friday, the Lebanese army moved into some neighborhoods that had been taken during the day by the Hizbullah militia.

Hizbullah routed Sunni militiamen loyal to Saad Hariri and set fire to the offices of al-Mustaqbal newspaper, his press outlet. (The Lebanese Army declined to intervene, the same mistake it made in 1975).

Likewise, the Futur or Mustaqbal television station is off the air after employees fled for “security reasons.” But the fighting hasn’t just been between Sunni and Shiite. There has been other ethnic violence, too. Members of the Syrian National Socialist Party (probably mostly Eastern Orthodox Christians) attacked the Mustaqbal archives building. (SNSP is pro-Syrian and is allied with Hizbullah). In Tripoli pro-Hariri and anti-Hariri Sunnis clashed. (Some Sunnis up there are loyal to the rival Karami family while others belong to the Baath Party of Lebanon– both clashed with the Hariri forces).

Liz Sly of the Chicago Tribune is a veteran correspondent in Beirut and her observations are very valuable. She points to the collapse of the red line earlier drawn by Hassan Nasrallah whereby his militia would never attack other Lebanese.

Lebanon is on the brink of civil war.

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