Beirut aftermath

The World

Young men carry over their heads the casket of a 17 year old Sunni Muslim boy who neighbors say was shot by Shiite gunmen from Hezbollah. The boy’s cousin says Hezbollah and its allies set the mourners with violence if they set off fireworks. Hezbollah took over this neighborhood and the rest of western Beirut on Friday in a show of force as part of a political deadlock which centers on Hezbollah’s weapons: the government wants to merge Hezbollah into the army but Hezbollah says it needs to keep its weapons as a deterrent against the Israeli Army. The confrontation has become a proxy war between the US-backed government and Hezbollah which is backed by Syria and Iran. The deadlock has left the government without a president and the parliament hasn’t met in months and the army is the only functioning institution. But it fears being dragged into the religious-fueled violence. Those tensions even showed up at the boy’s funeral. This man says Hezbollah brought Iranians into Beirut and he’s outraged about the presence of Hezbollah soldiers on his street. He says the government must catch the people who are responsible for the shooting. Last night in fighting, 32 people were reported as killed from the violence. Hezbollah has shown it can take over huge swaths of the country. this analyst says the power dynamic has shifted to Hezbollah and negotiation is the only way to avoid another civil war.

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