Behind the Battle for Baalbek

The city of Baalbek, is just a few hours’ drive over the mountains from Beirut, nestled in the heart of the Bekaa Valley. This fertile farm country, once the breadbasket of the Roman Empire, is now best known for its vineyards, its hashish growers, and as a bastion of Hizballah. Indeed, the strength of Hizballah […]

Counting the Cost of Qana

The United Nations flag flew at half-staff Monday outside the organization’s mostly abandoned building in downtown Beirut. The scene was not as tranquil Sunday, when thousands gathered there to protest the killing of 54 Lebanese civilians in an Israeli air strike at Qana. “Resistance, Resistance,” the protestors chanted, and a few of them, armed with […]

Disappointed in Lebanon

Not even a week after Israel started bombing Beirut, an act of war that inadvertently revived my failing journalism career, friends began e-mailing their concern and wondering whether my suddenly frequent appearances on television would finally change my luck with the ladies of Lebanon. But the reality of life under siege is not so glamorous. […]

The Lebanese Government: From Powerless to Power Broker?

Earlier this week, the chances of achieving a workable cease-fire in the current Middle East crisis seemed about as dim as the Lebanese government’s prospects for staying in power. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who came to office last year with American support, looked as if he had been hung out to dry by Secretary […]

Bombs shatter the quiet lives of working-class Lebanese

Although the Assaads are Shi’ite Muslims from southern Beirut, they say they’ve always steered clear of Hezbollah and the other militias and parties that divide this weak country. “We don’t believe in politicians and we don’t believe in war,” said 12-year-old Fatima, who speaks articulately in English for this working-class family of four. “We pray […]