One of my very least favorite things to blog about, as there are just as many moving parts and hidden agendas as in Iraq but the cast of characters is totally unfamiliar. Is this Syria stirring up trouble to forestall the UN’s Hariri tribunal? Is it Iran using its proxy to open up a second front against the west? Is it Hezbollah’s own long-awaited revenge for Imad Mughniyeh’s assassination? Or is it actually a show of balls by the Lebanese government, weary of the Iranian/Syrian/Hezbollah axis and finally willing to risk open war by cracking down, however gingerly, on Nasrallah?

The leader of Hezbollah said Thursday the U.S.-supported Lebanese government had declared war by targeting its communications network, pushing the country closer to civil war.

Shiite supporters of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah and Sunnis backing the government clashed in several Beirut neighborhoods with automatic rifles and rocket propelled grenades, security officials and witnesses said…

Hezbollah launched a new street campaign on Wednesday, piling pressure on the government after it declared the network illegal and removed the head of airport security, a figure close to the group, from his post…

“This decision is first of all a declaration of war and the launching of war by the government… against the resistance and its weapons for the benefit of America and Israel,” Nasrallah told a news conference in reference to the government’s move…

Shortly after he finished, heavy clashes with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades erupted between Hezbollah supporters and pro-government gunmen in Beirut’s volatile Mazraa and Ras el-Nabae districts, and later spread to other areas.

Rather than bore with you with my own uninformed take, let me give you three recommendations. First, Moran follows Lebanon regularly and has essential background on that all-important Hezbollah “communications network,” which, you’ll be shocked to learn, is actually a Syrian spy network. Second, the AFP offers this time-warp call for Hezbollah’s disarmament by the UN, one that could have been written in nearly the same form two years ago after the war with Israel or even 10 years ago. Nasrallah laughed at them the last time they tried to pressure him to give up his weapons; he’ll be laughing at the end of this, too. Finally, the best way to get the sequence of events on all this is to start halfway down the page at Abu Kais’s blog — with his post from last Friday titled “100 Containers and the State of Hezbollah” — and just scroll up. It sounds like Hezbollah was caught off-guard here by Druze leader Walid Jumblatt (a strident Hezbollah opponent and an ally of the anti-Syrian “March 14” movement) exposing their secret plans for some sort of big shakes at the Beirut airport, and then caught off-guard again when the Lebanese government showed some spine by firing their stooge on the premises and demanding that the communications network be shut down. Nasrallah’s response: To close the road to the airport with a huge “tent city” and unleash the goons who are making news today, prompting the reply from anti-Syrian Sunni leader Saad Hariri described in Abu Kais’s latest post. Exit question: Sunni/Shiite civil war in the offing? Stand by.

Update: Five dead already.