Lebanon Fighting Middle East Totalitarianism

Beirut, 14 Feb 07

Lebanon's majority leaders told a sea of supporters marking the second anniversary of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination in Beirut that agreeing on the international tribunal to try his murderers is the only gateway to dialogue and unity. Hundreds of thousands of March 14 supporters streamed from north, east, central and south Lebanon to Martyrs' Square in cars, busses, and boats raising Lebanese flags and chanting slogans against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The March 14 majority coalition accuses the Assad regime of masterminding the Hariri assassination on Feb. 14 2005 and the serial assassinations, the latest of which killed three civilians and wounded 23 in a twin bombing that targeted commuting buses northeast of Beirut on Tuesday.

Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea said the international tribunal, which Syria reportedly rejects, "will certainly be created."

He stressed that "whoever fights against what is right will be knocked out … The international tribunal will certainly be created."

Geagea escalated the confrontation with Hizbullah pledging that "henceforth, we will not accept any weapons outside the Lebanese army's frame of control...The Lebanese army is the resistance, the Lebanese government is the resistance, the Lebanese people is the resistance."

Geagea's words drew thundering chants of support that echoed across the whole of Beirut and reached the ears of protestors taking part in a Hizbullah-led sit in at the nearby Riad Solh Square since Dec. 1 with the declared objective of toppling Premier Fouad Saniora's majority government.

Addressing President Emile Lahoud, whose term in office was extended for three years under Syrian pressure in 2004, Geagea said: "History has settled its account with any tyrant …at the end (of your term) you will go away to history's garbage dump."

At 12:55 p.m., the exact time of the one-ton explosion that killed Hariri two years ago, an angry crowd fell silent as church bells tolled and mosque minarets blared Allah Akbar chants.

Progressive Socialist Party Leader Walid Jumblat stressed in his address that the year 2007 will see the creation of the international tribunal to try suspects in the Hariri murder and related crimes.

"We will not surrender to terrorism and to authoritarian parties, be they Syrian or otherwise," Jumblat said as the crowd applauded and shouted slogans attacking Assad, his regime and his Lebanese allies in the Hizbullah-led opposition.

Addressing Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah without mentioning him by name, Jumblat said: "Give the weapons to the Lebanese army and the hay to your allies."

He was referring to Hizbullah weapons confiscated last week concealed in a truck loaded with hay.

The government delivered the weapons to the Lebanese army in south Lebanon, ignoring calls by Hizbullah which claims the weapons are needed by its resistance arm.

Jumblat stressed that "from now on there will be no weapons except what is controlled by the Lebanese army."

He was obviously escalating calls to disarm Hizbullah.

Jumblat also stressed that "we adhere to international (U.N. Security Council) resolutions. All international resolutions," in reference to resolution 1559 which was adopted in the year 2004 and called for disbanding and disarming all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, a reference to Hizbullah and pro-Syrian Palestinian factions operating in Lebanon.

Jumblat launched a vehement attack on Assad terming him "a snake .. a beast .. an Israeli product .. a liar .. a criminal."

"This year will witness the creation of the international tribunal, justice will be served and the punishment will be a death sentence," Jumblat pledged.

Parliamentary Majority leader Saad Hariri, son of the slain ex-premier, delivered an emotional speech in which he thanked all those who took part in the ceremony and stressed that the Lebanese are "committed to freedom, independence, the truth, justice and the international tribunal."

"We adhere to justice to punish the murderers" who committed the Hariri killings and related crimes, he said.

He condemned recent "aggressions on peaceful neighborhoods" by masked followers of the Hizbullah-led opposition on Jan. 23.

"Despite all that, we are in the final phase of the march to create the international tribunal soon, very soon," Hariri said.

"Lebanon will be victorious and Lebanon's enemies will be defeated," he pledged.

Hariri's speech was interrupted with applause and chants attacking the Assad regime.

The majority leader concluded by stressing that "we are ready for any brave decision in favor of Lebanon … but the international tribunal is the sole gateway to any solution."


Lebanese March 14 Forces Calls for Sanctions on Syrian Regime

Beirut, 13 Feb 07

Premier Fouad Saniora said the bus blasts that killed three people and wounded 23 on Tuesday "wouldn't terrorize us" and the March 14 majority coalition blamed the crime on the Syrian regime, calling for sanctions on Damascus.

Saniora, in an address to the Lebanese on the eve of the second anniversary of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination, said the bomb blasts in commuting buses northeast of Beirut were "criminal acts of violence."

"We will not be terrorized and we will not be scared off. We will chase the criminals," he pledged.

Saniora said "we will not give up our commitment to serve justice" in the 2005 Hariri assassination and related crimes.

Addressing families of the three people who were killed in the bus blasts in Ain Alaq earlier in the day, Saniora said: "Their rights will not be lost irrespective of the cost."

"We will not succumb … we are not a sphere of influence for anyone…The Lebanese will not compromise on their freedoms, security and safety… and the nature of their regime," he added.

In a related development, the majority March 14 coalition which backs the Saniora government said in a statement the bus blasts are "a new massacre … targeting innocent civilians."

"We hold the Syrian regime fully responsible for this crime and we charge this regime of attempting to change Lebanon into another Iraq to destroy its security and stability in order to torpedo efforts aimed at setting up an international tribunal" that should try suspects in the Hariri assassination and related crimes.

The alliance, in a statement after an emergency meeting, urged the Arab League, the U.N. Security Council and the international community to "shoulder your responsibilities in lifting the Syrian regime's aggression off Lebanon."

The statement called for imposing sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and for dispatching U.N. peacekeepers to "control the Lebanese-Syrian borders that would halt the flow of weapons to tools of this (Syrian) regime."

It also urged major factions in the opposition, in reference to Hizbullah and Amal, to "shoulder your responsibility in confronting efforts by the Syrian regime to change Lebanon into another Iraq by immediately approving the creation of the international tribunal and returning to the dialogue table."

The alliance also called on its supporters to take part in the popular ceremony scheduled for Wednesday to commemorate the second anniversary of the Hariri assassination in Beirut's Martyrs' Square.


Some related posts and articles:

- Lebanon's Independence and Democracy

- Lebanon Under Attack

- Beirut and Iranian Gangs

- Syria's Role in Lebanon

- Totalitarianism, Violence and Terror

- Middle East Totalitarian Axis

- Hariri Assassination Suspects and Independence Government

- Middle East Salvation

- The International 'New Deal' of the Middle East

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