Lebanon Bloody Battle for West Beirut

As rival militias clash, Syria moves to restore order

During twelve years of civil war, foreign correspondents came to rely on the Commodore Hotel in West Beirut as a respite from the turmoil around them. Feuding militia leaders held press conferences there, and a string of hopeful peace envoys were among its guests. The Commodore's lively bar was renowned throughout the Middle East as a meeting place for those passing through Beirut. It was also the home of a parrot whose uncannily accurate imitation of an incoming artillery shell fooled more than a few newly arrived reporters. While cross fire occasionally damaged the aging seven-story edifice, it managed to remain...

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