2005/02/15

Update: Lebanon



Lebanon has put its army on alert after the assasination of Rafik Hariri. Schools, banks and shops of the capitol are virtually closed for three days of mourning. The armed forces have been put on full alert and troop leave has been cancelled.

Police raised the toll from Monday's bombing in downtown Beirut by one to 14 dead and about 120 injured. It has not been confirmed that the blast was caused by a car bomb.

Former Economy Minister Bassel Fleihan, a member of parliament in Hariri's bloc, was among those severely wounded. He was flown to France on Monday for treatment.

Lebanon's Druze opposition leader Walid Jumblatt Tuesday accused Syria and Lebanese authorities of assassinating former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.
"This (Lebanese) regime is backed by the Syrians. This is the regime of terrorists and terrorism that was able yesterday to wipe out Rafik al-Hariri," Jumblatt told reporters after presenting his condolences to Hariri's family in Beirut.

"I charge the Lebanese-Syrian police regime with the responsibility for Hariri's death."

Syria, which keeps 14,000 troops in Lebanon and plays a powerbroker role there, has condemned the car bomb attack that devastated Hariri's motorcade as it drove through Beirut's luxury seafront district Monday, killing him and 14 others.

Jumblatt, a former minister and current member of parliament, said the Lebanese authorities had accused him and his ally, Hariri, of being "traitors and agents of Israel, America and France," paving the way for the bombing.

Hariri had recently joined Jumblatt in calling for a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.

ABC

Reuters

6 Comments:

In 1975, Maarouf Saad, who also came from Sidon was murdered just 3 months before the start of the civil war. Many indeed see his murder as the catalyst to the following 15 years of horror. I read today that Lebanon has been under the 'international microscope' for the past 6 months. I had no idea. I only now know of UN Resolution 1559 calling for Syria to withdraw the troops it has stationed there. Lebanon is also looking at being caught up in US sanctions against Damascus.
On top of all this is the international anxiety and internal debate over the upcoming parliamentary elections. As the articles I posted point out, the US and France have been warning Syria not to interfere or harm the politicians. Many or now wondering if the elections should take place.
This seems a pot capable of boiling over and I fear for these people. Will they again be caught up in war? I don't know but will be watching and posting updates on the situation.
One thing I do know. There will be no peace in the Middle East in the near future.  

Posted by Dianne
2/15/2005 10:10:00 pm  
The sad thing is that Syria brought a semblance of stability to Lebanon after a bitter civil war no one seemed capable of winning, although a stability meither Israel nor the U.S. was comfortable with.

Now the U.S. and Israel are pressing for the removal of the Syrians. Who will replace that power vacuum?

The U.S.?

If their track record in Iraq is any indication, the situation will worsen.

Israel?

That is a non-starter, except in the Druze sector, and if that sector is dominated by pro-Israeli parties, civil war will return.

Is there a viable alternative to the continued presensce of Syria, taking into consideration they share a large border and don't want another unstable border to deal with? The Golan and the Iraqi borders are quite enough, I would think, from their perspective.

 

Posted by Buckwheat
2/16/2005 01:15:00 am  
OMG! back a few years ago when all that crap was going on with kudlof *sp* we were stationed in northern italy.. things got scary and hairy. we lived off base in a beautiful villa.. well we had to be escorted on base and no americans were allowed to leave. my dad worked for nato in communications.. he had an armed escort and had to carry a gas mask with him every time he left the army base to go to the natoe one.
needless to say we flew back to the states and spent the time with our grandmother.
my dads plane just took off from germany when that air port was bombed.. if he his plane had been late.. he would have been dead. those were scary times... now if we can get over all of that.. why cant we get over this iraq crap??? 

Posted by April
2/16/2005 08:19:00 am  
Thanks for your input on this, Buckwheat. As I said, I have been out of the loop on this issue so have only tried to make us all aware of what is a very tense situation in Lebanon.
Many of our critics, and rightly so, point out that Bush and the US seem to be our only interest.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and raising interesting questions. I will try to educate myself more in the coming days. 

Posted by Dianne
2/16/2005 09:40:00 am  
Scary times indeed, April especially for someone living in the reality of the situation. I think you have had many interesting experiences that I know I would like to hear more about.
I'm not sure what you mean by 'get over Iraq'??
2/16/2005 09:47:00 am  
after bombing and killing over half of lebia back in the 80's.. the US is now being friends with them.. why can they not do the same with iraq?
they killed kaudolf's (sp again) family but not him.. but now they are all putting all that in the past.. why can they not do that with the people of iraq too?
i mean they got huessan.. what is keeping the us over there besides bush's greed for power and oil. why cant nato go in and take over?? 

Posted by April
2/16/2005 03:17:00 pm  

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