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always a place to stir up a war - now lebanon
DrMarty | May 23, 2012 at 02:27 amby
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Northern Lebanon, especially Tripoli, has become not only the logistics center for the Salafi terrorist groups fighting the Syrian government, but also part of the sectarian war in Southwest Asia. Northern Lebanon was set on fire last Sunday, May 20, when a Sunni cleric was shot dead by soldiers at a checkpoint of the Lebanese army.
Sheikh Ahmed Abdulwahid and his companion refused to stop their car at the checkpoint, which prompted the soldiers to shoot and kill both of them. The checkpoint's mission is to search cars for weapons that are suspected to have become a major trade item in the north. Last month Lebanese customs stopped a car filled with guns and ammunition at the Tripoli port in a ship suspected to have originated from one of the anti-Syrian Arab regimes (Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Libya).
Furthermore, the Sheikh and his companion were on their way to a demonstration organized in Akkar to counter a festival of the pan-Syrian Syrian National Socialist Party -- which is a Lebanese party! When news of the shooting of the Sheikh spread, the National Socialists cancelled their festival on advice from the Lebanese army, in order to avoid a bloodbath. The Sunni supporters of Sheikh Abdulwahid blocked roads and launched attacks on the Lebanese army posts.
On Monday, clashes between pro-Syrian and Sunni Salafi groups led to the death of two persons in Beirut. Two grenades were launched into two Alawite neighborhoods in Tripoli, but no casualties were reported. Saudi-backed groups like Saad Al-Hariri's Al-Mustaqbal Party, accuse the Syrian regime of exporting the war to Lebanon.
The reality is, that British-U.S. support for the regime-change policy and terrorist groups have entangled Lebanon in the sectarian war in Syria, as Lebanon has become a base for training, financing, and arming Salafist terrorists on their way to Syria.
The Lebanese army and government have so far only partially managed to control some of these groups and the smuggling across the border. But Tripoli and the regions around it in the north are becoming more and more an autonomous region under the militant Salafi groups, including such London-produced Sheikh Omar Bakri.
Even Al-Hariri and his Al-Mustaqbal party are not able to control the area which is their traditional base, because they are considered too soft on the Shi'ite Hezbollah-Christian alliance government, which is clearly pro-Syrian.
Moreover, money and weapons which flowed from Saudi Arabia to Tripoli through Al-Mustaqbal networks before, are now going directly to the militant groups through new networks.
Even among the Christians in Lebanon, fault lines are emerging, as the fanatic Samir Geagea and his Christian militant group, Lebanese Forces (a member of Hariri's March 14 Alliance), joined the Saudi anti-Syrian propaganda war in March when he attacked the Lebanese Catholic Patriarch, Bishara Al-Rai, for saying that the militants in Syria were aspiring to create a sectarian Sunni state and force the Christians out as happened in Iraq.
Geagea, in his insanity, blamed Al-Rai for having provoked the equally insane statement of the Saudi Mufti, Al-Alsheikh, who said in early March that "all [Christian] churches should be destroyed in the Arab Peninsula," and that no other religion should exist there besides Islam.
Geagea is a sworn enemy of Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (now called Change and Reform Bloc), which is the largest partner in the current government together with Hezbollah and Amal (both Iran-backed Shi'a groups), and independent Sunni figures such as Prime Minister Najib Miqati.
The sectarian war in Lebanon can become much bloodier, due to the complexity of the texture of the society and the fact that almost all parties have armed groups and backing by foreign governments. A continuation of this sectarian war on Syria will mean the death of Lebanon and many nations beyond, including Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, and even Saudi Arabia itself.
Anglo-Saudis Feed Lebanese Civil War; Interior Ministry Calls for State of Emergency
In the last 24 hours, violence in Lebanon has been escalating hourly into a full-scale emergency. Two major incidents on Tuesday have fueled the violence, leading Interior Minister Marwan Charbel to call for a "State of Political Emergency," and for a decision about whether to impose a state of "Military Emergency." Charbel said that there must be "a political decision by all the parties to lift the cover [of immunity] off any gunmen" under their control, as all sectarian groups have armed militias -- in order to allow the government security forces to take over the streets.
The two incidents on Tuesday, May 22, that have inflamed the already bloody situation were: (1) the kidnapping of Lebanese Shi'ite pilgrims by the Syria Free Army, as their convoy was returning to Lebanon and passed through Syria from Iran's holy shrines; and, (2) the release of accused terrorist Sunni leader Shadi al-Mawlawi from jail on $333.00 bail.
Russia Today describes the kidnapping: "[T]he bus loaded with Shi'ite pilgrims was stopped by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), say families of the men. `The FSA said they took them. They let the women go and kept the men. They told them that they will keep them until the Syrian army releases FSA detainees,' one relative said. Angry families blocked several streets in southern Beirut, burning tires in protest."
But the families stopped after (Shi'ite) Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called for restraint in a televised address. "It is not acceptable for anyone to block roads or carry out violent acts," he said.
Meanwhile, after 9 days in custody, charged with being a member of a terrorist group, Al-Mawlawi said that he was really arrested for aiding Syrian refugees, and that he had been "forced to make confessions under pressure and torture," reported Naharnet. Immediately after his release, Al-Mawlawi gave speeches in Beirut, where two people had been killed in the last 48 hours in sectarian clashes, and then moved on to Tripoli, which the Syrian government has identified as a "stronghold for terrorism" against Syria.
All this occurs against the backdrop of the killing of Sunni cleric Sheik Ahmed Abdul Waled on Sunday, by Lebanon soldiers at a checkpoint.
Free Patriotic Movement leader, MP Michel Aoun, who is a Christian in alliance with the Shi'ites of Hezbollah and Amal in the Change and Reform bloc, has been speaking out against Lebanon's being destroyed through a new civil war, due to foreign intervention.
In a statement Tuesday, Aoun "slammed" those Lebanese who are calling for the arrest of the soldiers at the checkpoint where Abdul Wahed and another cleric, Sheikh Mohammed Merheb, were killed. "The incident at the checkpoint was premeditated as they want to undermine the authority of the army," Aoun said, adding that "the army will remain the only power that we can trust."
Aoun also commented on the Syrian Foreign Ministry letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in which it said that Tripoli and Akkar are strongholds for terrorism, reported NOW Lebanon.
"[The letter did not contain] lies. I do not know about Jounieh [being a stronghold for terrorism], but in Tripoli, it is not a lie. You saw with your own eyes," Aoun told reporters.
Aoun said that US Assistant Secretary of State Jeff Feltman and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman had called for establishing a buffer zone for the Free Syrian Army in northern Lebanon, when they had visited that country, touring the north, during the first days of May,-- undoubtedly a true charge.
Already during April, the US Ambassador to Beirut, Maura Connelly, was caught out making the same demand in private to all of Lebanon's top leaders. After they went public with their refusals, Connelly tried to claim that they had all "misunderstood" her.
The buffer zone idea is based on the model of Benghazi earlier in Libya. When that plan was defeated by the Syrian army, northern Lebanon became the chosen location for such a zone.
Russia Blasts Foreign Interference in Lebanon and Syria; UN Envoy Attacks Opposition Terrorists
The Russian Foreign Ministry has denounced the escalating fighting in Lebanon and said that "forces that are unable to implement their destabilization plans in Syria have turned their attention to Lebanon," reported RIA Novosti in a late wire on May 21.
On May 22, the UN Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Herve Ladsous, said in a news conference in Damascus, that "terrorist groups are hindering the peace process in Syria," reported the Voice of Russia. While Ladsous didn't specifically identify foreign interference, putting the spotlight on the opposition terrorists is a significant admission.
As the Lebanon fight intensified, Naharnet, the Lebanese news service affiliated with the Shi'ite Hezbollah, had the most extensive coverage of the Russian Foreign Ministry statement:
"Moscow is seriously concerned by growing internal tensions in Lebanon. It appears that the forces that have failed to realize their plans to destabilize Syria have turned to neighboring Lebanon," the Ministry said on its website.
"They clearly dislike this country's government course aimed at preventing foreign intervention in Syrian affairs and facilitating a swift peaceful settlement in Syria on the basis of Kofi Annan's plan approved by the United Nations Security Council, and the actions of military and security agencies opposing arms smuggling attempts and the trafficking of militants," the Ministry said.
Naharnet summarized other parts of the Foreign Ministry statement, without direct quotes, saying that "these forces are trying to stoke tensions among various Lebanese political and sectarian forces, the ministry added."
RIA Novosti reported that "Moscow is seriously concerned over the rise of public discontent in Lebanon: `we are calling on Lebanese politicians to show restraint and high patriotic responsibility in this uneasy moment both for the country and for the region.'"
The Russian statement was issued as sectarian killings and kidnappings escalated over Sunday and Monday.
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