Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A leader in Ein el-Helweh

A militant Islamist, and local hero, rules his corner of Lebanon - International Herald Tribune

"Even before the current political crisis, with pro-U.S. factions struggling to keep power from pro-Syrian and pro-Iranian parties, Lebanon was a nation without institutions, a place where power was divided among religious sects. It was a state that gave Palestinians free license to live in 12 refugee camps within its borders. Within the camps' confines, they were immune from the country's rules, laws, police and oversight, but condemned to a life of degradation and second-class status.

"For those like Abu Omar, with a militant political agenda, the arrangement created 12 different places to set up shop and 12 bases to run to, hide in and conduct operations. Abu Omar lives on Emergency Street, a free-wheeling alley of martial faith surrounded by squalor."

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