Welcome to Hizballahstan

The militants' easy victory in the battle for Beirut leaves the U.S. yet again on the losing side of an Arab conflict, with little leverage and few options

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad-Reportage/Getty

Shi'ite gunmen from Hizballah and its ally Amal fire at Sunni positions. Their superior numbers and firepower helped the Shi'ite militias secure a quick victory.

Surrounded by a ring of mountains like a concert band shell, Beirut has great acoustics. So the roiling street battles on May 8 between Hizballah militiamen and supporters of the Lebanese government echoed through the city with a drumroll of rocket explosions and a chorus of machine-gun fire that sounded like the symphonic overture to civil war. When an early-summer thunderstorm began that night, it seemed as if the heavens themselves were taking up the ominous theme.

But by the next morning, the battle for Beirut was mostly over. After just six hours of all-out fighting, Hizballah militants were in control...

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