Lebanon: War of the Christians

War of the Christians

General Michel Aoun, the renegade Christian strongman who considers himself Lebanon's rightful leader, was spoiling for a fight. Irritated because his fellow Christians in the Phalangist militia were tacitly supporting a peace agreement giving authority to President Elias Hrawi, Aoun last week ordered his troops to attack Phalangist barracks. When the Phalangists struck back, the result was a civil war within a civil war that turned the Christian enclave of East Beirut into a free-fire zone. By week's end more than 140 civilians were dead.

Aoun, who commands 15,000 troops, apparently underestimated the 10,000- strong Phalangists, who not only held their...

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