The 2008 conflict in Lebanon began on May 7, after Lebanons 17-month-long political crisis spiraled out of control. The fighting was sparked by a government move to shut down Hezbollahs telecommunication network, Hezbollah-led opposition fighters seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods from Future Movement militiamen loyal to the government, in street battles that left 11 dead and 30 wounded. The opposition-seized areas were then handed over to the Lebanese Army, the army also pledged to resolve the dispute and has reversed the decisions of the government by letting Hezbollah preserve its telecoms network and re-instating the airports security chief. Rival Lebanese leaders reached a deal on May 21,2008, to end the 18-month political feud that exploded into fighting, on December 1,2006, a series of protests and sit-ins began in Lebanon, led by groups that opposed the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. The opposition group was made up of pro-Syrian Hezbollah and Amal, a number of smaller parties were also involved, including the Marada Movement, the Lebanese Communist Party and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. The two groups are divided along religious lines, the majority of Sunnis supporting the government. Druze aligned with Walid Jumblatt support the government, while those allied to Talal Arslan have backed the opposition, the Christian community is divided as well, with Michel Aoun claiming to have 70% of the Christian communitys support, based on the results of 2005 parliamentary elections. The standoff between the March 14 government and the March 8 opposition resulted in a deadlock over the election of a new President to succeed Emile Lahoud whose term had expired. Seymour Hersh believed that the U. S was working to weaken and disarm Hezbollah with the help of Saudi Arabia, in May 2008 the tensions between the government and the opposition escalated when the government announced a series of security decisions. Heads of the government accused Hezbollah of preparing for a terrorist attack, on May 3, leaders of the government accused Hezbollah of setting up a hidden, remote-controlled camera in a container park overlooking the main runway of Beiruts international airport. Hezbollah dismissed the accusations again, saying that those who leveled them were simply parroting a US campaign against it, on May 6,2008 the government attempted to disable Hezbollahs communications network. Hezbollah operates a fiber optic network, linking its strongholds of south and east Lebanon. Hezbollah claimed that the network was a key element in the 2006 Lebanon War. The government regarded the network as a breach on its sovereignty, in addition, the network was regarded by the government as an infringement on public funds since it claimed that it competes with its own and using the Lebanese infrastructure. Hezbollah declared that it regards the network as an part of its defensive measures against Israel. Brig Gen Shuqeir hushed up the discovery of a surveillance camera allegedly set up by Hezbollah in a container overlooking the main runway, to monitor the movement of aircraft. The next day, Hezbollahs leader Hassan Nasrallah stated on television that the network was essential in the militant groups resistance against Israel. Nasrallah further said that the government was declaring war by threatening to shut down the private communications network
Map of Lebanon
A car heavily damaged during the unrest in Lebanon on May 9.
A Lebanese APC in Beirut, on May 9, during the unrest