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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs