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Burning under Syrian fire

Article en anglais

Rédigé le 27/08/2012 (dernière modification le 03/09/2012)

In an attempt to compensate for the inability of the political leaders to put an end to the recurrent confrontations in Tripoli, the civil society is trying to put pressure on the Lebanese government to ensure the necessary cover for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in their enforcement of stability and peace within the capital city of north Lebanon.

Roving the streets! Photo (C) Ibrahim Chalhoub
Roving the streets! Photo (C) Ibrahim Chalhoub
podcast_tripoli_under_syrian_fire.mp3 Tripoli_Syrian_Fire.mp3  (394.3 Ko)

The Mayor hopes, the Mufti blesses, but one politician removes the veil.

On the sixth day of clashes between the Sunni and Alawite neighborhoods in Tripoli Lebanon, Nader Al Ghazal, Mayer of Tripoli, made an appeal urging the return of peace and stability to the capital of the north while supporting the latest stance of the Lebanese president regarding the Syrian dossiers that ignited the whole country upon the detention of the previous minister Michel Samaha and kidnapping of Syrians by Mokdad clan.

“I called for the gathering of the civil society, the orders of liberal professions, non-governmental organizations, and supporters of peace in Tripoli” said Nader Al Ghazal before a meeting with PM Najib Mikati in Tripoli.
This is the second sit-in orchestrated by the municipality trying to say no for weapons in the capital of the north following a first endeavor on June 7, 2012.

The differences between the first and later social intervention go in parallel with the major changes occurring in the attitude of President Michel Sleiman regarding the Syrian shelling on the bordering villages of Lebanon which incited him to ask the Lebanese minister of foreign affairs to send a letter of protest to the Syrian government – a letter that never reached destination. “We insist on refusing dependence on the situation in Syria which might last too long and lead to the destruction Lebanon, and we ask our government to separate its course from that of our neighboring country” noted Al Ghazal, “and our move has the blessing of Tripoli’s Mufti, Dr. Malek El Shaar” he added while in a hurry to reach the meeting with PM Mikati.

“Within its national framework of action, Dar Al-Fatwa in Tripoli is trying to provide evident help in its contribution to the insurance of calm in our city through preparation of the required environment for a serious reconciliation among fighting parties for which we have formed a committee of leaders of the civil society along with MP Robert Fadel” told us Dr. Shaar. Dar Al-Fatwa is also providing material help for the victims and those affected by the current clashes. “This is not the first time we provide material help for our citizens, we have already conducted such work in coordination with the Higher Relief Commission in 2009 when 7 million dollars were provided by the government and 9 millions by Sheikh Saad Hariri” clarified Dr. Shaar.

In addition, Mufti Shaar has requested, few days ago, a political decision from PM Mikati regarding a judiciary action against all gunmen in Lebanon. “And I insisted on having the judiciary system prosecute all those carrying illegal weapons starting with those who appeared on local media, not only those in Tripoli” alluded Mufti Shaar to Mokdad family members who were similar to heroes of action movies in their appearance on local televisions after the kidnapping of their son Hassan by FSA and their counter abduction of proclaimed members of FSA in Lebanon as well as Turkish citizens.

And on the latest statements of President Sleiman, Mufti Shaar said: “We believe that the Lebanese president has a single loyalty, that to our country, and has never sided with one group or the other. And now that he took very brave stances, which might be the first of its kind, we cannot but approve and stand with all what he says”.

On a different level, while Bab El Tebbaneh Sunni gunmen bluntly insist that they bought their arms and munitions with their own money, it seems unbelievable to see the amount of war material and the quality of some of what might be found in the hands of some fighters. Ex MP Mustafa Alloush of Future Movement reveals that some of the brand new machine guns found in Bab El Tebbaneh cost 8,000 USD. “Who in the area of poverty might buy such a weapon?” Alloush, member of March 14 coalition against the Syrian regime, asks. “If every day of battle costs about 100,000 USD, where would a fighter like Saad El Masri get his money from?” points Dr. Alloush, who seemed very confident of his claims. “El Masri gets the money from certain political leaders of Lebanon” stated Alloush mentioning another Bab El Tebbaneh fighter, Hussam El Sabbagh, who “was with Fatah Al-Islam and who now presides over El Masri” said Dr. Alloush refuting the theory of stock piling of munitions as “whatever quantity there might have been stocked would expire in a single day of such ferocious clashes”. However, following a meeting with Tripoli political and security chiefs in the house of PM Mikati in Tripoli, Minister of Interior, Marwan Sharbel gave green light to security forces to enforce the amendment of the judiciary system in tracking and detaining gunmen in Tripoli based on the decision of the government.
Alloush notes a second source of ‘material’ contributions coming from protection money like that obtained by Saad El Masri in the name of the ‘victory of Sunni’.

On the other hand, Mustafa Alloush said that Alawite Jabal Mohsen combatants get their artillery from Syrian Mukhabarat and/or Hezbollah. That said, Rifaat Eid, head of the Arab Democratic Party in Alawite Jabal Mohsen, regularly claims in his TV statements that his party buys the weapons from Future Movement.

Mustafa Alloush indicates that despite that many of the firing coming from Bab El Tebbaneh Sunni combatants is a reaction to sniping from Jabal Mohsen, “every bullet they shoot contributes to the deadly game of Alawites who have been kidnapped by the illusions of their captivator, Rifaat Eid”.

For Alloush, the Lebanese President of the Republic is now in a ‘state of liberation from the terrorism of Syrian regime’ who was forced not to act by the terrorism and indirect threatening during all the years he was not able to take a stance similar to the one he recently took. “The discovery of Michel Samaha’s case as a non-refutable evidence of the Syrian terrorism and the imminent fall of the Syrian regime allowed President Sleiman to take the correct steps at last”, said Dr. Alloush. Michel Samaha, previous minister and ex member of parliament in the Lebanese government, has been detained by the intelligence forces after being found plotting for terrorist attacks all around the Lebanese territory with a special focus on the northern area of the country. He confessed to work under the directives of General Ali Mamlook appointed head of the Syrian bureau of national security by President Bashar Al Assad. A large number of ready-for-use explosives were found in the house of Samaha when raided by intelligence forces.

“We are still highly influenced by the Assad’s regime, as evidenced by the recurrent confrontations in Tripoli and the detention of the Chief of Syrian Relief Commission, Wael Khaldi, upon his arrival to Rafik Hariri airport by the General Security Forces whose chief represents one of the Syrian regime remnants in Lebanon” assured the leader in Future Movement.
According to Dr. Alloush, Tripoli clashes will recur if they stop for now because there is no real way out. A solution would be, as stated by Alloush, “complete removal of weapons from all Tripoli (Jabal Mohsen and Bab El Tebbaneh) with political and social remedial of the crisis”.

With a clear allusion that the sit-in by the civil society on Sunday August 26, 2012 is of no real effect on the difficult situation of Tripoli while being a good expression of the suffering of the citizens and their attempt at solidarity, Dr. Alloush made his fears clear about another factor at the end of the interview. “The next 7 to 8 months, Lebanon is going to witness a violent political and military turmoil and Israel might invade and occupy the south after the US elections” he said. “Israel, to ensure its entity within a non-delimited territory, needs the presence of Iran just as it needs Hamas in the West Bank and Hezbollah in Lebanon – and Hezbollah is giving Israel the chance to hit again” Dr. Alloush firmly stated.

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