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Bazzi on Lebanon Violence

Interviewee: Mohamad Bazzi, Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Interviewer: Lee Hudson Teslik, Assistant Editor, CFR.org
May 9, 2008

After months of political deadlock in Lebanon, large-scale violence erupted in Beirut on May 9, bringing analysts to question whether the conflict there might bubble over into civil war. Hezbollah fighters seized large parts of west Beirut (NYT), forcing pro-government groups out of the area and shutting down media outlets. Meanwhile, rocket attacks targeted the residence of Saad al-Hariri (al-Jazeera), the leader of Lebanon’s ruling coalition.

CFR’s Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow Mohamad Bazzi, on the ground in Beirut, describes the simmering violence, which was sparked by a government decision to try to dismantle the militant group Hezbollah’s telephone network. He notes that Hezbollah fighters have not generally held the positions they seized, choosing rather to force out their opponents and then hand the areas over to the Lebanese army. He notes comment from the United States and Arab League, but says many observers question how much power the international community has to reconcile Lebanon’s political deadlock. He says the next concrete event to watch for is the response of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

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