We found another bullet in our house, in my daughter's room, right over her bed. But the fighting has subsided in Ras Beirut, although we still hear explosions and gunfire. The TV news reports say that the whole of West Beirut has fallen to the Opposition. I say Opposition, not Amal and Hizbullah because apparently, Hamra and the rest of Ras Beirut are in the hands of the SNP (Syrian Nationalist Party, Qawmiyyeh). SNP is a secular party with members from all sects, and, during the 1975-1991 war it was in control of Hamra and Ras Beirut. But I am not 100% sure about this, and I'll confirm later. There are also news that the large contingents of fighters that had joined the ranks of the Future Movement from Akkar and the rest of the North have surrendered. The army is taking control of many "sensitive" areas, but I think this does not mean much as the army is avoiding engaging in confrontation and is only playing the role of the neutral moderator. But then again, this might be what is needed at this stage: a "moderating" army in Beirut.
It is too early to say anything, but there is no doubt that, as Nasrallah made it clear yesterday, this is a totally new epoch. I assume Berri will be in charge of negotiations with the loyalists. Whether a compromise that will safeguard "Lebanon" is still possible at this stage is difficult to predict. The Lebanese politicians have a history of wiping the slate clean and starting again as if nothing had happened, with a quick prayer for the unlucky dead. But these are new times, and the situation in Iraq and Palestine is worse than ever, and the Arab countries are themselves divided and aligned with opposite sides. The US has now much more at stake in the region. And there are new players: Iran, Al Qaeda who thrive on instability in Lebanon, and who possess a loaded agenda. On the more local level, what will be the response of the local population to this take over especially that for the past 3 years the Lebanese have been relentlessly hammered with a sectarian discourse? Will they consider this to be an "occupation" and respond to it as in Iraq?
I know I may be sounding over dramatic. Blame it on lack of sleep and being shot at. But I cant help thinking that all bets are off.