Lebanon Clever Are the Peacekeepers

Assad widens his role in Beirut, raising hopes for the hostages

The crackle of machine-gun fire and the crump of mortar shells reverberated in the narrow alleyways of Beirut's southern suburbs. Figures in camouflage fatigues crouched behind the crumbling concrete-block walls of abandoned apartment buildings, clutching Kalashnikovs and scanning the area ahead for signs of movement before advancing. Red headbands identified the men as members of Hizballah, the disciplined and fanatical Shi'ite militia supported by Iran. After three weeks of combat, Hizballah's militants, led by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, had seized control of virtually the entire area of Beirut's southern suburbs from the Syrian-backed Amal militia. Nearly 300 people were killed in the...

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