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The unfinished war

Why did the proxy war in Lebanon happen and whose interests did it serve? What is Hizbullah, and how independent is it from its sponsors in Damascus and Tehran? And what is life like for the Shia population of Hizbullahstan?

By Amir Taheri   September 2006

“The summer of all hopes!” This was how Sa’ad Hariri, leader of the majority bloc in the Lebanese parliament, described the new tourist season in July. He reflected the views of many of his fellow citizens. The 15-year-long civil war that ended in 1990 is a distant memory to most Lebanese, half of whom are under 30. For the first time in more than 50 summers, there were no foreign troops occupying Lebanese soil; the last of them, 14,000 Syrians, having returned home a year earlier. The cedar revolution of 2005, which had forced Syria to end its occupation, had…

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