Crossfire War – Tehran – Damascus Watch – West Asia Theatre: Tehran – Beirut – Damascus – Ankara – Riyadh/Paris – Rome – London – Washington – Berlin – Cairo – Jerusalem; Seventh Week – Opposition/pro-Government Violence in N. Lebanon – Strikes Paralyze Economy
Night Watch: BEIRUT – Fears of outbreaks of violence that could lead to another civil war in Lebanon may be coming true. AKI-Reuters reports an exchange of fire has occured in a village in northern Lebanon, Halba, near the Syrian border, between the pro-government Future movement and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP). In a separate incident five members of the Free Patriotic Movement, headed by Maronite Christian Michel Aoun were injured in a confrontation with a pro-government group, led by another Christian leader, Samir Gaegea, who supports Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. Thousands of police and troops have been trying to separate opposition and pro-government groups that have been confronting each other, so far, with stone throwing and insults. [AKI]
The confrontations have taken place not only in the city, but also along major highways where the roads are now blocked with burning tires and cars. The airport is barely functioning with a reduced staff and though planes can take off passengers have found it difficult to leave and arrive at the airport. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has called on the opposition to conduct the continued protests, now in its seventh week, in an “effective and powerful manner.” The police and army have been trying to end the strikes and roadblocks through negotiation.[ASHARQALAWSAT]
Tehran-Damascus have made certain that the opposition would win in any fighting since they are heavily armed, nearly as much, if not more so as Lebanon’s military. As crossfirewar.com stated, during last summer’s war with Israel, Hezbollah is in effect an extension of Iran’s military. And Lebanon’s army had already declared, when the demonstrations began on December 1, that they could not control the situation. Ahmed Fatfat, one of Lebanon’s pro-government Ministers stated, “The opposition is attempting a coup by force. This is not a strike. This is military action, a true aggression and I’m afraid this could develop into clashes between citizens.”
Tehran has deliberately timed this event just two days before Prime Minister Fouad Siniora was to depart for Paris with his economic adivsors to attend the Paris III conference to confer with business – financial interests that have long controlled Lebanon’s economy and politics. During the fifteen year civil war in Lebanon, from 1975-90, articles would mention there were actually 16 different groups fighting for control of the country and it was during that time Tehran created Hezbollah. The war was started by a Christian group, which no doubt had a lot of connections with Paris, something France is very proud of as they have often liked to portray themselves as a vanguard of the West. France has long led the West’s effort to control the region, which is why Tehran has assassinated political leaders close to Paris like Rafik al-Hariri and Pierre Gemayel.
These series of strikes are supported by labor unions. But AP reports that business interests and banks mostly support the Prime Minister, who is still in Beirut though some may have thought he had already left for Paris. The Paris III conference to finally resolve Lebanon’s enormous debt incurred during the 15 year civil war, begun by Paris yet they want Lebanon to pay for. That is why Tehran has had no difficulty organizing this cross-section opposition. Tehran was never only operating with spirit, but with their astute Persian state of mind, in which they know the importance of presenting the economic facts of a nation to the nation’s leadership and to importants political-economic associations there, then offering to assist financially-militarily.
An assistance that will make Beirut independent of Paris and the West, with better economic terms under Tehran.