Ghosts of Lebanon's Tortured Past Rising





BEIRUT, Lebanon -- At a makeshift roadblock of iron bars and car tires, a masked gatekeeper shines a flashlight into the driver's eyes and asks: Where do you live?

In Lebanon, even that's a disturbing question.

It dredges up all the ghosts the country had hoped were banished for good: factions clawing for the upper hand, and freelance thugs demanding home addresses to see if the neighborhood is an ally or enemy in Lebanon's patchwork of religious and political loyalties.

Their rivalries turned the nation into a worldwide symbol of anarchy during a 1975-90 civil war that pit the majority Muslims against Christians. Now, there are hints of familiar -- and worrisome -- rumblings with different players: the Sunni Muslim-led government backed and bankrolled by the West against Shiite Muslim Hezbollah forces that have counted on support from Iran and Syria.


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