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

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora