By Abu Kais
LBC is reporting riots involving Sunnis and Shias in the neighborhood of Qasqas as I type this. The Lebanese army has intervened. (Update: The clashes were reportedly between a Hizbullah convoy passing through the area and Sunni residents)
Yesterday, around 300 Hizbullah members reportedly chased a man who hurled insults at Hassan Nasrallah and then fled towards nearby Ashrafieh. The Lebanese army stopped the advance of the militia on the Christian neighborhood and arrested the individual, who turned out to be a Syrian citizen by the name of Hamzah Mohamad Sadeq Ismail. Al-Mustaqbal described this as a Syrian intelligence attempt to create clashes, although one wonders what Hizbullah was thinking by sending 300 members to a Christian neighborhood boiling with rage.
Following a meeting yesterday with representatives from the Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese army, the Iran-funded militia has refused yet again to remove its tents and clear the main road leading to the Grand Serail. An-Nahar reported that Hizbullah’s information warfare division has been filming the area around the Serail. It is not clear what this means. A Hizbullah-Syrian attempt to storm the building was foiled on the first day of the protest, after an intervention by the Saudi King via Nabih Berri, who has promised to resolve the situation in a couple of days.
Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak sent two letters to Berri requesting an end to the blockade of the government building and to street protests. Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mubarak sent a veiled threat that "many Arab countries" will intervene if Iran continues to meddle in Lebanese politics.
Meanwhile, downtown businesses will reportedly file lawsuits against the organizers of the protest over revenue losses (LBC). Tents and portable toilets have transformed the Beirut center, a meeting place for people from all sects, into an open dump for paid militia types and their relatives, Syrian workers, and people high on Aounist psychedelics.
Speaking of abnormal mental states, angry Aounists today hurled insults at an LBC crew filming a mass Aoun called for in the downtown Maronite church where Pierre Gemayel’s funeral was held. The Lebanese army intervened to prevent the angry crowds from attacking the reporters. (LBC)
The Aounist mass was, to quote fellow blogger Mustapha, Aoun’s way to "flex his Christian muscles". Ironically, Aoun spoke against categorizing people as Christians or Muslims two days ago, during a pathetic attempt to justify the general Christian disinterest in hobnobbing with murderers and law-breaking types as the means for one failed former general to reach a high office.
The Siniora cabinet responded to Aoun’s Christian showing by holding a memorial mass for slain minister Pierre Gemayel in the government building that’s under siege by Hizbullah.
Siniora meanwhile told reporters today that he is staying in office as long as his cabinet enjoys the confidence of parliament. He called on Nabih Berri to act like a parliament speaker and not as the head of the Amal movement.
Hizbullah MP Hussei Hajj Hassan warned that Hizbullah’s objective will "evolve" if the "occupiers of the Serail don’t resign." Aoun lashed out at all world countries (minus Syria and Iran) for supporting the Siniora government. He called on the Syrian-appointed president and parliament (speaker) to look into ways to fire the cabinet.
But time is running out for Hizbullah and Aoun. The resentment towards them and their supporters is reaching dangerous levels. There have been many spontaneous protests in several Lebanese cities, and it is clear that there are people who will not sit and watch the militia and its Christian cover besieging their government and paralyzing the country.
Unless they plan on a military coup, I don’t see how they will succeed in toppling the government, which is enjoying the support of parliament, not to mention most of the world.
If they don’t end their occupation of downtown Beirut soon, civil war will come knocking.