Deja vu in Lebanon: Lahoud-Jumblatt shoot-out

More uneasy deja vu from Lebanon. The sons of the Syria-backed President Emile Lahoud and the bitterly anti-Syria Druze leader Walid Jumblatt get into a shoot-out in Beirut—just as their fathers opposed each other in the civil war. From Lebanon’s Daily Star, June 5:

BEIRUT: Following in their father’s footsteps, Ralph Lahoud and Najib Jumblatt clashed on Saturday in a shooting incident that damaged Jumblatt’s car. Newspapers reported on Sunday that shots were fired by President Emile Lahoud’s younger son’s bodyguards at the car of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt’s stepson in the bustling street of Ain Mreisseh.

It was reported that the shooting was triggered after a row over who should go first at a traffic light and that neither of the passengers knew who was in the other car.

Al-Mustaqbal daily said Jumblatt’s car was hit with at least four bullets: one in the front passenger seat, two in a rear door and one in a rear tire.

Al-Mustaqbal and Al-Balad local dailies said the young Lahoud and his escorts were in a BMW-520 with tinted windows and forged license plates. The car chased Jumblatt’s car, an Alfa Romeo, along the seaside boulevard and bumped into it from the rear. The passengers then climbed out and began shooting.

They were released by the army after a swift interrogation despite a detention warrant issued by the military prosecution.

And let’s not forget Hezbollah. From AP, June 6:

Thousands of Hezbollah supporters rioted Thursday night in their strongholds of south Beirut and southern and eastern Lebanon after a television satire poked fun at Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the organization’s leader.

Men and women carrying Nasrallah’s pictures blocked roads by setting tires afire and roamed the streets. A key artery from Beirut to the international airport was shut for several hours.

And of course all this immediately follows a border clash with Israel. From the Washington Post, May 29:

Israeli military aircraft, responding to rocket fire from Lebanon, struck targets there Sunday, and Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah militiamen engaged in several hours of cross-border fighting, leaving at least two gunmen in Lebanon dead and one Israeli soldier seriously injured.

A U.N. peacekeeping unit in southern Lebanon intervened at the request of the Lebanese government and brokered a cease-fire between the two sides Sunday evening…

Early Sunday, Palestinian fighters in Lebanon fired several Katyusha rockets into northern Israel. The Israeli military said one soldier was slightly injured when one of the 120mm shells landed inside an Israeli military post.

Israeli fighter jets then struck what military officials described as two command posts in Lebanon, including a storage site for weapons and ammunition. The camps, one near the Syrian border in the Bekaa Valley, the other 12 miles south of Beirut, were run by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical nationalist movement. One gunman was killed and five others were wounded in the strikes.

Hours later, skirmishes between Israeli soldiers and gunmen in Lebanon broke out along the border. Israeli military officials said the fighting began when a sniper from Hezbollah, a radical Shiite Muslim movement in Lebanon, shot an Israeli soldier on assignment in a kibbutz, or civilian commune, in the border community of Manara.

Hezbollah claims that Shebaa Farms, a nearby tract of land that Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war, is Lebanese territory. But the United Nations says the land is part of Syria.

The Israeli soldier was seriously wounded in the attack, Israeli military officials said. The military responded with artillery fire and airstrikes on Hezbollah positions, killing at least one Hezbollah gunman.

See our last post on Lebanon.