Beirut - The day Zeina's sister Dina returned to Lebanon from the U.S., bombs began raining down on Beirut.
By the time her sister fled Lebanon days later, Zeina found herself torn between loyalty to her Lebanese homeland, and her long-held vision of someday enjoying a peaceful, prosperous life in America.
Zeina, a twenty-three-year-old anthropology masters student at the American University of Beirut, remembers her mixed emotions during theJuly War of 2006, when Israel launched an aerial offensive in response to the seizing of two Israeli soldiers by the Islamist movement Hezbollah.Read More
Tripoli - Guards with AK-47s patrol the perimeter of Mosbah Ahdab's flat in Tripoli. "I'm effectively a prisoner" he says, in a U.S.-v-Iran proxy war waged on Lebanese soil.
The forty-six-year-old Ahdab is an independent member of the Lebanese Parliament, known for his steadfast opposition to Iranian and Syrian influence here. He consistently opposed the current Syrian-backed President Emile Lahoud, whose term expires next week.
Ahdab worries that Syrian-backed assassins are targeting him. The shutters of the flat are all closed. Cameras survey the streets all around. And he travels only in the middle of the night in a long convoy, which he enters through a specially designed tent so snipers or bombers can't tell which car he's in.
Ahdab is convinced he can outlast his assassins. But he worries that U.S. interest in Lebanese democracy might not wait with him. Ahdab wants America and the West to keep a sharp eye on Lebanon, oppose political murders, and support democracy. But he doesn't want the U.S. to engage Lebanon as a proxy battlefield, which is what Iran and Syria, he says, are goading it to do.
The numbers worry him. If a few more of Ahdab and his allies are killed before the election the anti-Syrian bloc will lose its slim majority in parliament, making the election of an anti-Syrian president far less likely.Read More