Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lebanon: Buns and Guns restaurant opens

The sandbags lend a nice touch, don't they?

Hezbollah has it their way.

The restaurant's founding comes during a particularly tense period in Lebanese politics. Fighting between supporters of the government and the Hezbollah-led opposition in May killed 81 people and raising fears of a renewed civil war. It ended only after a political deal that gives Hezbollah and its allies a strong portion of a unity government. But the restaurant's owners say the military motif has nothing to do with the security situation in Lebanon, but is meant to attract customers.

"The idea came before all the clashes that happened in Lebanon," co-owner Ali Hamoud told Associated Press Television News on Tuesday. "But in the end, (the fighting) helped in advertising the restaurant."

He said the restaurant had no direct connection with Hezbollah. But it could not operate in the heart of Hezbollah's south Beirut stronghold, where the guerrilla group's word is law, without its blessing — and Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV ran a story about the restaurant, a sign of the movement's support.