In one corner of the Arab world, the U.S. air raids against Libya were applauded openly in coffee shops and in the offices of businessmen and the official establishment.

In this ancient port city in southern Lebanon -- which has undergone countless similar air strikes by Israeli warplanes during the past eight years -- residents said they were happy that Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi had become the target of air raids because of his alleged role in the 1978 disappearance of Imam Mousa Sadr, the leading Shiite Moslem religious figure in Lebanon.

Sadr, considered a martyr in predominantly-Shiite southern Lebanon, vanished in Tripoli after being invited there by Qaddafi. Two official and contradictory versions that have been offered by the Libyan government hold that he was last seen while being escorted to the airport in Tripoli for a Rome-bound flight, and that he failed to arrive in the Libyan capital in the first place.

"There are three bad people in the world -- Bokassa, Idi Amin and Qaddafi, and it was Qaddafi who killed Mousa Sadr," said a militant and influential figure in the Shiite National Resistance Movement, referring to the former leaders of the Central African Republic and Uganda, as well as the Libyan leader.

In a coffee shop in the center of downtown Tyre, a middle-aged Lebanese professional man gave a thumbs-up signal and said, "Mousa Sadr was working very hard for south Lebanon. He was a guest of Libya, and it is very sad if someone who goes as a guest is killed.

"Qaddafi is one who helped destroy this country. He never sent one bag of cement. He sent weapons and machine guns and money for the fighters to burn my country," he added.

No Lebanese residents questioned were willing to attach their identities to their support of the air strike, but in a day of talking with militant Shiites, none condemned the raids on Tripoli or Benghazi.