Lebanon braces for US strike.
BEIRUT | 04 Sep 2013 :: Up in a small village on Mount Lebanon, an elderly man, Antoine, recounts the horrors of the Lebanese civil war (1975-90). “I had a machine gun. I had an M16 and a Kalashnikov,” he said calmly. “It was a dirty war. We don’t want that again” Not far, across a ridge, lies Syria. He reflects on what that war might bring to his small, coastal country. “We will not return to our civil war,” Antoine says. “We experienced it already. We saw that it is fruitless. We will not return to it.”
Scars of the Lebanese civil war dot the country, but monumentally so in Beirut. During the Battle of the Hotels in the early years of the war, the Christian Phalangists took control of the Holiday Inn in West Beirut to use as a base against the Lebanese National Movement. Today, the Holiday Inn stands as a sentinel of the destruction. At its base sit a force of armoured carriers of the Lebanese army. The floors above are rattled with bullet holes and missile craters. The Holiday Inn would be an artefact in the Museum of Futile Wars. A taxi driver from Idlib, Syria, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, weaves his old Renault past the Holiday Inn. He points frantically at the building and says, “Surya, Surya,” the Arabic for Syria. Previously he had described the devastation in his native city, from where he had fled two years ago. “We had to go,” he said. “Our building had become the frontline.”
The southern suburbs of Beirut, Dahieh, bristle with activity in preparation for more car bombs or even an aerial strike from Israel. Hezbollah, whose main Beirut base is in these neighbourhoods, is constantly on alert for some kind of attack. It is an organisation that is founded on the defence of this fragile country, whose sovereignty has been threatened since it came into existence as a modern state in 1943. Conversations in the area are often punctuated with fears about Israeli agents on the ground or Israeli drones flying overhead.(Courtesy:The Hindu)