Lebanon on the Brink

From MEMRI 

In recent days, the Lebanese media has been reporting on impending large-scale street demonstrations planned by Hizbullah. According to several reports, last night Hizbullah and its allies met and set the time and date for the launch of these actions; the reports also state that activists from Hizbullah, Amal, and Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement have been placed on alert. The Lebanese, pro-Syrian daily Al-Diyar estimated that the actions would start within 48 hours, stating that Lebanon seems “headed for the unknown,” and that the stubbornness of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Al-Siniora “has brought Lebanon to the brink of bloodshed.”

Today, November 28, 2006, Lebanese papers also reported that there were several clashes during the night in various areas of Beirut, between activists from Samir Geagea’s Lebanese Forces party and activists from the Free Patriotic Movement, and that these clashes followed attempts by the latter to hang flags and posters of Aoun in the streets of Beirut. Near 1 A.M., about 2,000 activists, from both parties, gathered at Sasin Square and the surrounding streets and taunted and threw stones at each other. Eventually, Lebanese Army soldiers arrived to break up the conflict. A similar clash in the Christian neighborhood of Al-Ashrafiya in the eastern part of the city was broken up by the army and by the internal security forces.

The following are excerpts from recent reports and statements:

Hizbullah Executive Council Chairman Hashem Safi Al-Din 

“Lebanon does not have a legitimate and legal government,” continued Safi Al-Din,”but only a group that claims to be a government, a group that is usurping the government… As far as we are concerned, any government or element in the world which regards [the Al-Siniora] government or its decisions as legal is part of the internal [Lebanese] dispute. These elements [should not become involved] in the dispute, since they would thereby become involved in the conflict.”

Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem

“This government must resign, officially and finally, through the resignation of Prime Minister [Al-Siniora]. Alternatively, it must replace [the ministers who resigned] so as to represent all [ethnic] groups in Lebanon. If it remains as it is, it will plunge the country into a legal and governmental vacuum…

On November 28, 2006, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hizbullah

“The statement ‘the zero hour is closer than the jugular vein’ is sufficient to explain the preparations by the opposition forces towards the launch of its extensive popular and political plan of action, which will continue until the Fuad Al-Siniora government resigns…

“Yesterday, the opposition forces held the most extensive consultation [meeting to date], far from the eyes of the regime, and it concluded with the setting of the zero hour, when the action on various levels will begin. This action will take place throughout Lebanon.”

On November 28, 2006, the pro-Syrian Lebanese daily Al-Diyar

“According to information exclusive to Al-Diyar, at 11 PM [yesterday, November 27] activists from [Michel Aoun’s party] The Free Patriotic Movement, Hizbullah, and Amal received instructions to be on alert, in advance of a demonstration and a sit-in in front of the prime minister’s residence [in Beirut], and also in a number of other regions. This is aimed at bringing about the resignation of Al-Siniora’s government, and at establishing a government in which all will participate, and there will be a national unity government. “

Remeber those two UNSC Resolutions that stipulated the disarming of Hizbollah and other militant forces…

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