'Things Will Get Worse and Not Better'

In Lebanon a new generation is shaking with the tremors of the political crisis that pitted the U.S.-backed government against a Hezbollah-led coalition in the worst sectarian clashes since the Lebanese Civil War.

The threat of clashes eased today when the two sides agreed to hold talks in Qatar Friday that they hope will end the political standoff and allow the country's army chief to be elected president.

Almost immediately bulldozers cleared away roadblocks that had shut down Beirut's airport.

But while the two sides warily talk in Qatar to negotiate a new political balance of power — one that will likely favor Hezbollah — religious divisions have hardened among the nation's youth, who were stunned by a week of firefights that left at least 60 people dead.

"When the clashes first started I was shocked. I thought there was no such thing as a country anymore," said Afif Ghalayani, 19, a student at the American University of Beirut.

"We've had no president, militias in the streets asking for my ID … if we keep up like this we are headed to the gutter."

In Lebanon politics are hard for anyone to ignore.

Ghalayani, a college sophomore, describes his Beirut campus as a place where students form cliques according to their political sympathies — a split that existed well before the current crisis.

"The divisions are obvious at AUB. It gets heated. Even in class, one side sits on one side of the room and one on the other. They have each other's back."

Ghalayani is part of a youth movement supporting a third way: civic activism that groups together students from different religious sects. He is a Sunni, but says that is irrelevant to his politics.

In the closely watched student elections at the American University of Beirut, a touchstone for Lebanon, his independent party won a solid minority of 18 seats. Hezbollah's coalition won roughly 30 seats, while government supporters won about 50.

Like Ghalayani, AUB student Ahmad Nakib is fed up with the violent and stymied state of Lebanese politics. His organization is called "khallas" — Arabic for "enough."

"I was shocked that to see Lebanese using weapons against each other," said Nakib, 23, who studies political science.

"I'm too young to remember the Civil War, and this was shocking. I saw classmates I know from AUB who were fighting."

If many students are fed up, many others have a partisan frustration.

Lina Lahhoud, 20, is a supporter of Michel Aoun, a Christian opposition leader allied with Hezbollah. She studies political science in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, though she stayed home from class after watching television reports of sectarian clashes in the area.

"Things will get worse and not better. There is a deep and increasing hatred from both sides who both will take the revenge [for this week's losses]," she told ABC News.

The past week in fighting in Lebanon started out as political but took a sharp sectarian turn.

Pro-government and pro-Hezbollah coalitions clashed across Lebanon — battles that were mostly Sunni against Shiite or Shiite against Druze. Gunmen built checkpoints in the street, asking drivers for their religious and political affiliation, a chilly reminder of Lebanon's 15-year Civil War, which ended in 1990.

Some of Lebanon's youth express a will to fight.

As Lebanese leaders meet in Doha this week, they are hoping for a change in government that would give the Hezbollah-led coalition more power, even a veto over major government decisions.

Wadih Dib, a political science student who supports the opposition, sees violence as a necessary part of bringing about that change.

"[The sitting government] is trying to impose the American will," said Dib.

"I'm completely satisfied of the way the opposition responded. After all we can't succeed without blood," he said.

Ali Saayed, an accounting student from the Beirut Arab University, is a Shiite supporter of Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is considered a terrorist group in the West, but its supporters in Lebanon see it as a political, military and social organization that holds dozens of seats in the Lebanese parliament. For its supporters, Hezbollah's self-styled identity as a resistance movement against Israel is sacred.

"Prime Minister [Fouad] Siniora's government and America are launching war against [Hezbollah]," said Ali Saayed. "For us as Shiites we are obliged to defend it."

Hwaida Saad contributed to this article.