Posted by: sean | July 14, 2006

Beirut is without electricity

The strike on the electricity transformers has taken out electricity in all of Beirut. I didn’t notice at first, because I was at a friend’s place, and there’s a generator in the apartment building. The hallways of the building have been frantic since the bombings early this morning at around 3 or 4 a.m. People were leaving, but I think that a lot of people are coming back after the electricity went out in the city, since there’s a generator. I ran into a family of American Arabs from Michigan in the lobby of the apartment building, who has just arrived in Lebanon for work. Their family lives in Baalbek and the south, so they don’t have anywhere to go, since both areas are being shelled by the Israelis.

Things are tense here in the city, because it’s hard to sleep with the shelling during the night and then it’s disconcerting that the electricity is out now, also. Everyone has been really helpful and nice, worrying about me since I’m foreign. I think I will continue staying at my friend’s place, if only because they have a generator, which means that the AC will be working.

Some people are getting really worried about this spreading to Syria, and I think that they’re right to worry about that. I’m afraid that the Syrians will do something stupid, and that the Israelis will start bombing Damascus. Israel has already retreated troops from Gaza, but this is obviously so that they can reinforce the reserves in Lebanon, and probably get ready to hit Syria. Damascus, I think, believes that they have Teheran’s support, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Iran stays out of this one, particularly if Syria hits Israel first. The Iranians know that if they get overtly involved, then the US will use that as an excuse to start the regime changes in Damascus and Tehran that they’ve been hoping for.

There are some who think that the UN will be able to broker a cease-fire this weekend, but I’m not very optimistic, particularly if Annan’s envoys focus their efforts on the Lebanese government instead of going directly to Nasrallah. At this point, it seems unlikely that either Israel or Hezbollah will be willing to back down any time soon. I predict that if and when this spreads to Syria, Western governments will start evacuating their nationals.



  1. You don’t know me but I’m Matt Whitson’s brother and he sent me to your blog. I hope you can stay safe and I know it’s getting seriously fucked up there – the politics of which are a different discussion for a different time. You’ll have some damn good stories for the grandchildren.

    Good luck and keep us all posted as long as the power stays on.

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