Lebanon: The Amal Arises

Last week when Muslim guerrillas of the Shi'ite Amal militia led the attack on Lebanese Army units controlling West Beirut, it signaled the emergence of yet another faction from the wings onto center stage. With that stunning victory, the once obscure Amal, under Leader Nabih Berri, was suddenly poised to play a decisive role in Lebanon's future.

The Amal's newly won prominence is long overdue. In 1932 the last official census established the Christians as Lebanon's largest group and justified an agreement guaranteeing them a dominant role in the government. By most estimates, however,...

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