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More trouble in Lebanon

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More trouble in Lebanon

Post  Panda on Sun 21 Oct - 15:34

I was posting about Lebanon on the Syria thread, but problems escalating so giving it it's own thread. This is so sad, the whole of the Middle East in turmoil and all these Countries being demolished.

Mourners Try To Storm Lebanese PM's Office

Mourners clash with police outside the Lebanese Prime Minister's office in Beirut, with reports of heavy gunfire in the capital.

3:20pm UK, Sunday 21 October 2012

Video: Angry Protests In Beirut

  • Scuffles with police erupt in the Lebanon capital Beirut.

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  • Men attempt to pull down barbed wire fencing after parts of the capital were cordoned off.

    2 of 6

  • Protesters try to storm the Lebanese government offices.

    3 of 6

  • Police clashed with mourners at the funeral of slain intelligence officer Wissam al Hassan.

    4 of 6

  • Lebanese soldiers fired machine guns and threw tear gas at protesters

    5 of 6

  • The demonstrations called for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

    6 of 6
Gallery: Beirut: Mourners Clash With Police

Lebanese soldiers have fired machine guns and thrown tear gas at hundreds of angry protesters attempting to storm the Prime Minister's office in Beirut.

Clashes with police erupted during the funeral for top intelligence chief Brigadier General Wissam al Hassan, who was killed in a massive car bombing on Friday.

Forces had earlier set up road blocks and cordoned off Beirut's Martyrs' Square as well as boosting security in the capital.
Wissam al Hassan was killed by a massive car bomb on Friday
Al Hassan, 47, was a powerful opponent of Syria in Lebanon and headed an investigation over the summer that led to the arrest of former information minister Michel Samaha, a politican who was one of Syria's most loyal allies.

He was among eight people killed in the attack on Friday, which many have blamed on the Syrian regime.

The protesters believe the government is too close to Syria and its ally in Lebanon, the Shiite group Hezbollah.

They are calling for Prime Minister Najib Mikati to quit over Mr al Hassan's assassination.

Even before the bombing, the civil war in neighboring Syria had set off violence in Lebanon and deepened tensions between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad's regime.

The attack heightened fears that Lebanon could easily plunge back into cycles of sectarian violence and reprisal that have haunted it for decades.
Politicians salute Mr al Hassan's coffin during the funeral
Dozens of anti-Syrian protesters erected eight tents near the cabinet headquarters in central Beirut, saying they will stay until Prime Minister Najib Mikati's government, which is dominated by the Shiite militant group Hizbollah and its allies, resigns.

Hezbollah is Syria's most powerful ally in Lebanon, which for much of the past 30 years has lived under Syrian military and political domination.

Syria's hold on Lebanon began to slip in 2005, when former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, an opponent of Syria, was assassinated by a truck bomb along Beirut's Mediterranean waterfront.

Syria denied any role, but broad public outrage in Lebanon expressed in massive street protests forced Damascus to withdraw its tens of thousands of troops from the country.

For years after the pullouts, there was a string of attacks on anti-Syrian figures in Lebanon without any trials for those responsible.

Al Hassan will be buried in Martyrs' Square next to the late Hariri.
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Re: More trouble in Lebanon

Post  Panda on Tue 23 Oct - 1:25

Lebanon army calls for political 'caution' amid clashes

Clashes reportedly continued on Monday with gunshots heard in the northern city of Tripoli

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Lebanon's army has urged the country's political leaders to show caution when expressing their opinions, in a bid to calm "unprecedented" tensions.

It comes after clashes broke out in several areas, following the killing of a senior security official on Friday.

The worst clashes were in Tripoli, in the north, where at least three people died as gunmen exchanged fire.

Soldiers have been deployed in the capital Beirut, where there have been sporadic clashes.

In a statement, the army said the last few hours "have proven without a doubt that the country is going through a decisive and critical time and the level of tension in some regions is rising to unprecedented levels".

It urged "all political leaders to be cautious when expressing their stances and opinions" and in attempting to mobilise public action "because the fate of the nation is at stake".

The BBC's Wyre Davies in Beirut says the army is a widely respected institution in Lebanon that has often been required to stand between the country's diverse political and religious factions.

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After days of heightened tension, the statement can only be taken as a warning against further unrest, he says.
Syria accused
The clashes come after the funeral of Gen Wissam al-Hassan - a Sunni Muslim and the head of the intelligence branch of the Internal Security Forces.

He was killed in a car bomb on Friday, along with his bodyguard and at least one other person.

Opposition figures blamed the attack on the Syrian government.

Lebanon's religious communities are divided between those who support the Syrian government - including many Shias - and those mostly from the Sunni community who back the rebels.

Gen Hassan was an outspoken critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam.

Mr Hassan also had close links to the opposition 14 March alliance and the family of its leader, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati - a Sunni - offered to resign, but this was rejected by the president.

On Monday, dozens of people set up camp outside Mr Mikati's office, calling for his cabinet - dominated by the pro-Syrian Shia Islamist movement Hezbollah and its allies - to stand down.

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Wissam al-Hassan

  • Head of the intelligence branch of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces
  • Sunni Muslim born in the northern city of Tripoli in 1965
  • Responsible for the security of former PM Rafik Hariri
  • Viewed as being close to the Hariris and the opposition 14 March coalition
  • Responsible for the August arrest of pro-Syrian politician and ex-information minister Michel Samaha

But government minister Nicholas Nahas, a member of Mr Mikati's party, said the prime minister's resignation would not do anything to keep Lebanon out of the Syrian conflict.

"I don't think the issue is to resign or not to resign. The issue is how to save the country," he told the BBC.

Meanwhile, the US has said it will help the Lebanese government with its investigation into Friday's bombing.

Gen Hassan led an investigation into the assassination in 2005 of Mr Hariri's father Rafik, which implicated Damascus.

He also organised the recent arrest of Michel Samaha, a former minister accused of planning a Syrian-sponsored bombing campaign in Lebanon.

Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon in the wake of Rafik Hariri's murder, ending a 29-year military presence.

Thousands attended Gen Hassan's funeral on Sunday, which became a political rally against both Mr Mikati and Syria.

Police scuffled with a group of protesters who attempted to storm the prime minister's office.

In Tripoli, two children were among at least three people killed in clashes on Sunday.

Overnight into Monday, protesters set up road blocks in Beirut, and exchanges of gunfire were reported.

The army launched a major security operation in the morning, sending troops backed by armoured personnel carriers on to the streets to restore calm and re-open roads.
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