Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lebanese Army Says It Will Use Force to Quell Fighting

دخول الجيش اللبناني إلى منطقة الشويفات (بلال جاويش) - Al-Akhbar

Reuters through the NYT,

Troops took over more positions held by Druze forces loyal to pro-government leader Walid Jumblatt, whose mountain fiefdom east of Beirut was attacked by Hezbollah on Sunday.

"The security situation in the mountain is stable after the army move," said Akram Shuhayeb, a lawmaker and Jumblat aide.

But in the hill resort town of Aley, a grocer named Wassim Timani, who is loyal to Jumblatt, was not so sure.

"The army's presence here is only for show. It won't be able to do anything if the truce is violated," he told Reuters. "We have shown it all respect but we will not hand over our guns."

And, Robert Worth in the NYT:

...The army continued to deploy forces in the mountains east of Beirut and in northern Lebanon, as part of a plan to take over militia positions and quell the fighting. But there were signs that some government-allied figures were increasingly mistrustful of the army — widely viewed as Lebanon’s one nonpartisan institution — because it did not interfere when Hezbollah supporters seized control of much of western Beirut on Friday.

In northern Lebanon, a plan for local groups to hand their weapons to the army has encountered some resistance because pro-government groups, which are a majority in the north, fear being left at the mercy of Hezbollah, said Misbah Ahdab, a member of Parliament from Tripoli. Sporadic gun battles took place on Monday between pro-government Sunni fighters in the Bab al Tabbaneh area of Tripoli, in the north, and pro-Hezbollah Alawites in neighboring Jebel Mohsen, Mr. Ahdab said.

Although both of Lebanon’s major political camps still look to the army as an arbiter, government supporters have become increasingly critical of its passive role in the recent clashes.

“The army is no longer the army,” said a political adviser to the government, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “It has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the citizens.”

In the Chouf mountains east of Beirut, one pro-government Druse fighter, asked if he and his fellow Druse would give up their weapons to the army starting Tuesday, said, “We will if Hezbollah will.”

1 comment:

sandrine said...

It seems that suleiman's candidacy is on hold.