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Old 05-07-2008, 02:16 PM
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Default Lebanon political conflict turns violent

Lebanon political conflict turns violent
By Laila Bassam
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Supporters of Lebanon's U.S.-backed government fought battles in Beirut on Wednesday with gunmen loyal to the Hezbollah-led opposition, escalating the worst internal crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.


Smoke rises from tyres set ablaze by anti-government rioters on a main road near a government building in Beirut May 7, 2008. (REUTERS/Jamal Saidi)
Supporters of Iranian-backed Hezbollah paralysed the capital and cut routes to its sea and air ports by blocking roads with blazing tyres, old cars, heaps of earth and concrete blocks.

An opposition source said the protest campaign would continue until the government rescinded decisions affecting Hezbollah, including a move to take steps against a telecommunications network operated by the group.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, has led a 17-month-long political campaign against Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's anti-Syrian cabinet. Friction has already led to bouts of lethal violence.

Security sources said pro-government supporters exchanged assault rifle and grenade fire with Hezbollah sympathisers in the Beirut neighbourhoods of Noueiri, Ras al Nabae and Wata al-Musaitbeh. Some 10 people were wounded in the violence.

Opposition gunmen took over an office of the Future political group led by Saad al-Hariri, leader of the governing coalition, Lebanon's most influential Sunni politician and a close ally of Saudi Arabia.

Youths loyal to the rival sides pelted each other with stones in Mazraa, one of the Beirut districts where sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shi'ites have been high.

The army, mostly regarded as neutral during the crisis, deployed in force but did not attempt to remove the barricades.

Government minister Marwan Hamadeh said Hezbollah, a political group with a powerful guerrilla army, was using "military means" to block the airport. The blockade trapped some 300 passengers arriving at the airport.

Tension between the government and Hezbollah escalated sharply on Tuesday when the cabinet said the group's communication network was "an attack on the sovereignty of the state". Hezbollah said it was part of its security apparatus and played a major role in its war with Israel in 2006.

Hezbollah was also infuriated by government allegations it was spying on the airport and the cabinet's decision to remove the head of airport security, a figure close to the opposition, from his post.

"ARMED AND ANGRY"

Provoked by the government's moves, Hezbollah was "flexing its muscles" in the streets, said Oussama Safa, director of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies.

"The heat has been turned up. But it's probably not going to unfold into war. A confrontation is not winnable," he said.

"Things could get very ugly, but I don't think they will spread out of hand," said Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. "Everyone is armed and angry."

Hezbollah was the only Lebanese faction allowed to keep its weapons after the civil war to fight Israeli forces occupying the south. Israel withdrew in 2000 and the fate of Hezbollah's weapons is at the heart of the political crisis.

Hezbollah has deemed Siniora's cabinet illegitimate since its Shi'ite ministers resigned in 2006. The governing coalition has refused to yield to the opposition's demand for effective veto power in cabinet. The crisis has paralysed much of government and left Lebanon without a president for five months.

Air traffic was suspended for six hours on Wednesday because of a strike by staff taking part in labour union action to demand more pay. The opposition had urged its supporters to back the strike.

(Additional reporting by Nadim Ladki and Yara Bayoumy)
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:09 AM
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Sounds like another fine mess......whats your ideas about resolving the Hezbollah problem??
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:57 PM
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Sounds like another fine mess......whats your ideas about resolving the Hezbollah problem??
Hez shouldnt have being allowed to keep their arms in the last ceasefire, not cos they are the badass Shiite Paramilitaries, but cos they are controlled by Iran, a foreign country to Lebannon, whos suffering from their Interference... and sabatoge.. That said, all that was acheived last time was a postponment of the rekindling of the civil war. Hez were careful to step down from outright voilence when the locals were starting to turn on them in the South which is a traditional stronghold for them.. However, they are regained support through trickery and deception... and seemingly there are two factions now, pro Syria/Hez and Anti Syria/Hez... call me callous if you will, but two unified factions sounds like a good match for a civil war to once and for all get Iran and Syria out of Lebannon... cut off the borders in the south with UNIFIL Help (obviously bolstered by a division or two of hardened combat troops from Europe), and let the Leb Army under the Govt take on and defeat all threats to its national security.. Hez are flexing their muscle so show they are in control and the Govt is a mockery... well if the Govt dont act decisively, they are finished and Lebannon is back in Hez hands, who will attack Isreal again and its back to 1990 AGAIN!!... Hez have to go... and sooner rather then later...
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Old 05-08-2008, 01:54 PM
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Hez shouldnt have being allowed to keep their arms in the last ceasefire, not cos they are the badass Shiite Paramilitaries, but cos they are controlled by Iran, a foreign country to Lebannon, whos suffering from their Interference... and sabatoge.. That said, all that was acheived last time was a postponment of the rekindling of the civil war. Hez were careful to step down from outright voilence when the locals were starting to turn on them in the South which is a traditional stronghold for them.. However, they are regained support through trickery and deception... and seemingly there are two factions now, pro Syria/Hez and Anti Syria/Hez... call me callous if you will, but two unified factions sounds like a good match for a civil war to once and for all get Iran and Syria out of Lebannon... cut off the borders in the south with UNIFIL Help (obviously bolstered by a division or two of hardened combat troops from Europe), and let the Leb Army under the Govt take on and defeat all threats to its national security.. Hez are flexing their muscle so show they are in control and the Govt is a mockery... well if the Govt dont act decisively, they are finished and Lebannon is back in Hez hands, who will attack Isreal again and its back to 1990 AGAIN!!... Hez have to go... and sooner rather then later...
Good post Exo....Syria and Iran need to have less control in Leb.......this means taking on Hez.....it needs a International force to go in with teeth......but i cant see anything being passed in the UN.....we all know what will happen to any reserlution.....russia or china would veto.......nobody needs what happened in 90 happening again.....
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:37 PM
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Good post Exo....Syria and Iran need to have less control in Leb.......this means taking on Hez.....it needs a International force to go in with teeth......but i cant see anything being passed in the UN.....we all know what will happen to any reserlution.....russia or china would veto.......nobody needs what happened in 90 happening again.....

Yup Yup... id like to see the Arab League getting agressive about it... and the political incentive to Russian and China to back off, youd be amazed how cooperative theyd be if the Arab states united and threatened to end contracts with both countries if they did not support an agressive UN resolution... The Lebs need to be free of their former masters, and rule themselves, this means purging Hezbollah in its current form, and once and for all, disconnecting the puppet strings of power from Iran and Syria for that matter...
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:55 AM
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Yup Yup... id like to see the Arab League getting agressive about it... and the political incentive to Russian and China to back off, youd be amazed how cooperative theyd be if the Arab states united and threatened to end contracts with both countries if they did not support an agressive UN resolution... The Lebs need to be free of their former masters, and rule themselves, this means purging Hezbollah in its current form, and once and for all, disconnecting the puppet strings of power from Iran and Syria for that matter...
Very true......but it seems most Arab countries look out for number 1.......they dont seem to understand what affects one has a knock on affect to the others....i know Europe has its problems....but when something needs fixing it more often then not gets fixed.....thats why this Kosovo/Serbia situation needs all states to stand together......because if we dont act and restore a balance/control......russia will......just as Iran and Syria have in Leb
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:34 PM
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Very true......but it seems most Arab countries look out for number 1.......they dont seem to understand what affects one has a knock on affect to the others....i know Europe has its problems....but when something needs fixing it more often then not gets fixed.....thats why this Kosovo/Serbia situation needs all states to stand together......because if we dont act and restore a balance/control......russia will......just as Iran and Syria have in Leb
I note you use the world balance when it comes to Iran and Syria in Lebannon, Id stick with your latter word "control" as it adequetely portrays their intentions...

The league is fractured mainly cos of culture, the fuedal system of the bedewon echos in the modern day states and politics in the sense that they all have deals and double deals going with each other and outside parties... and many are in conflict... its a state of imbalance they seem to enjoy and unfortunately, the region is too powerful to ignore... so they need assistance whether they like it or not!!!... The rest of the world thats not profiting from the regional stupidity of leaders greed should band together and assist the development of the country to peace... and peaceful coexistance with everyone else... cos there will not be "one world under allah" or "the path of the enlightened is in the crossing of the swords"... so sir, those jihaddis (minority of Muslims of course) can kiss my *ss if they think free men will yield to that unwillingly...
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Old 05-15-2008, 02:34 PM
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I note you use the world balance when it comes to Iran and Syria in Lebannon, Id stick with your latter word "control" as it adequetely portrays their intentions...

The league is fractured mainly cos of culture, the fuedal system of the bedewon echos in the modern day states and politics in the sense that they all have deals and double deals going with each other and outside parties... and many are in conflict... its a state of imbalance they seem to enjoy and unfortunately, the region is too powerful to ignore... so they need assistance whether they like it or not!!!... The rest of the world thats not profiting from the regional stupidity of leaders greed should band together and assist the development of the country to peace... and peaceful coexistance with everyone else... cos there will not be "one world under allah" or "the path of the enlightened is in the crossing of the swords"... so sir, those jihaddis (minority of Muslims of course) can kiss my *ss if they think free men will yield to that unwillingly...
Too true Exo fully agree.....as my old man used to say.(RIP)......its better to die on your feet....then to live on your knees....something the Irish know all to well
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Old 05-16-2008, 02:59 PM
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Too true Exo fully agree.....as my old man used to say.(RIP)......its better to die on your feet....then to live on your knees....something the Irish know all to well
Indeed my friend!!.. and to quote my Father (RIP too), "those b*stards better think twice before blinking in front of me!"...

We live in a motley world of diversity, and the perception of Islamic Fundamentalists (Eastern & Western)of the West is one of decedant playboy world of temptation and evil vice... if they want to find true dellusion and evil, all they have to do is look into their own dark hearts!!...
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:00 PM
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Indeed my friend!!.. and to quote my Father (RIP too), "those b*stards better think twice before blinking in front of me!"...

We live in a motley world of diversity, and the perception of Islamic Fundamentalists (Eastern & Western)of the West is one of decedant playboy world of temptation and evil vice... if they want to find true dellusion and evil, all they have to do is look into their own dark hearts!!...
Those bastds better think twice before blinking in front of me......i like it....looking into their own dark hearts.....sounds about right
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