Civil war looms in Lebanon
A civil war in Lebanon, where Iran through Syria has played an alleged role in funding and supporting Hizbullah, is libel to disrupt the region even further.
As street clashes between rival political factions in Beirut fuel fears of a new civil war, many Lebanese have started to arm themselves as they prepare for the worst, arms dealers say.
"Groups or individuals, looking to make themselves more secure, are starting to buy weapons" on the black market, said one dealer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"If a Kalashnikov would sell for between 100 and 150 dollars on the black market a year ago, the price today is 1,000 dollars," the dealer told AFP. The price of a more sophisticated Dragunov sniper rifle has more than trebled from 800 dollars to 2,700 dollars over the same period, he said.
He added that the most popular weapons on the market were the easy-to-use Kalashnikov or US-made M-16 rifle.
Officially, all of Lebanon's warring militias except the Shiite Hezbollah were disarmed under the peace deal which ended the 1975-90 civil war. But there is a widespread suspicion that many of them have in fact stockpiled their light weapons.