A strike originally called over high food prices and low wages spirals into confrontation and violence.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has provoked a deepening crisis with the Iranian-backed Shiite group Hezbollah by targeting its security apparatus and an alleged spy network through Lebanon. Mr. Siniora's assertive stand led to violent clashes Wednesday as a general strike ostensibly targeting poor economic conditions was overwhelmed by political divisions, plunging the country into further violence.
The Times of London reports:
The political divide separates, on one side, Siniora's pro-Western government and a coalition of the mainly Sunni Muslim Future group, including the Druze Progressive Socialist Party; and the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah Party and alliance with the Shiite Amal Movement on the other, reports Reuters.
Initially, the general strike had been set to call for higher salaries as a result of rising food prices, and not as a continuation of the 17-month-long political conflict that has divided Lebanon between the pro-Western government and the opposition, says the blog Monsters and Critics:
However, then came the telephone-network crisis, reports Time magazine: