News / Middle East

Lebanese Army Urges Calm After Night of Clashes

Lebanese army convoy secures portions of Beirut after a night of violent clashes, October 22, 2012.
Lebanese army convoy secures portions of Beirut after a night of violent clashes, October 22, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
Lebanon's army is urging the country's political leaders to exercise caution when expressing their opinions, in a bid to calm "unprecedented" tensions.
 
The army's statement comes after clashes broke out in several areas, following the killing of a senior security official on Friday.

MAP: Kaskas neighborhood of Beirut, LebanonMAP: Kaskas neighborhood of Beirut, Lebanon
x
MAP: Kaskas neighborhood of Beirut, Lebanon
MAP: Kaskas neighborhood of Beirut, Lebanon
In Beirut, army tanks deployed in flashpoint districts after clashes between supporters of the Shi'ite Hezbollah militia and the Sunni Future Movement. The army reopened key roads that protesters had blocked with trash bins and burning tires.
 
Deputy Prime Minister Samir al Muqbil, part of the current government coalition supported by the pro-Syrian Hezbollah, urged opposing sides to solve their problems calmly via democratic means, saying "there is no solution other than talks."

Derek Plumbly, U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon, also called on all sides to discuss their differences peacefully. After meeting with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, Plumbly said U.N. Security Council nations are calling on all parties to preserve the country's unity in the face of attempts to destabilize it, adding that all five nations support President Suleiman's mediation efforts.
 
Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, thinks the international pressure will prevent the situation in Lebanon from deteriorating further.
 
"There is no decision to allow these skirmishes to lead to an all-out confrontation," he said. "[Opposition leader] Sa'ad Hariri is under direct and immense pressure from the Saudis and Americans to rein in his supporters. There are spontaneous outbursts of violence, but I think the situation will soon be contained."
 
While the Syrian uprising is "adding fuel to mounting tensions in Lebanon," Khashan says the situation in both countries differs considerably. "[In Syria] there are foreign sources which fuel the conflict," he said, while in Lebanon, "no outside parties want to militarize the conflict."
 
Members of the anti-Syrian March 14th Coalition have called for peaceful sit-ins Monday in both Beirut and Tripoli to topple the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati. According to The Associated Press, the group intiated an open-ended sit-in outside Mikati's house in his hometown of Tripoli and say they will only end the sit-in when Mikati resigns.
 
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, however, says the only way to replace the government would be "by agreeing to a new national unity government." 
 
Recent clashes, the worst of which were in the northern city of Tripoli, where at least three people died in gunfire exchanges, follow Sunday's funeral for Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, a Sunni Muslim intelligence chief opposed to the Syrian leadership who was killed in a Friday car bombing.
 
Hassan had led an investigation into a recent bomb plot that resulted in the arrest of a pro-Syrian Lebanese politician. He also led a probe that implicated Syria and Hezbollah in the truck-bomb killing of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
 
Opposition figures blamed the attack on the Syrian government. In Paris, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also pointed to a Damascus connection, telling French television, "We don't yet know exactly who is behind this but everything indicates that this is an extension of the Syrian tragedy."
 
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.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More