Sunday, September 28, 2008

We run the road - The National Newspaper
We run the road

* Last Updated: September 26. 2008 3:23PM UAE / GMT

Shia gunmen from Amal and Hizbollah fire at Sunni positions in west Beirut on May 9 2008. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad for The National

Nir Rosen reports from Majd al Anjar, where the rage of young men mixes with the sectarian fervour spilling over Iraq’s borders.

On May 12, a few days after street fighting erupted in Beirut, I drove to Majd al Anjar, a Sunni stronghold in Lebanon’s Bekaa, close to the Syrian border, where gunmen were still blocking the motorway from Beirut to Damascus.

At the edge of town, several hundred men with automatic rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers, pistols and hand grenades stood before earthen barriers and fires. Some wore masks. There was nobody in command – this was a mob, not a militia. The men were angry, afraid, suspicious, shouting at strangers and each other, each one an authority unto himself, carelessly swinging weapons around, oblivious to where they were pointing. Some rested the barrels of their rifles on top of their feet, a sign they had no professional training...

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