10/26/2019, 12.15
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Lebanon's revolt loses spontaneity

by Pierre Balanian

A group of students appeals to the international community.  Slogans call for the fall of the regime, but in Lebanon there is a democratically elected government.  Checkpoints that require identity card checks recall religious violence in the 1970s.


Beirut (AsiaNews) - The Lebanese intifada that started ten days ago has been hijacked.  It is increasingly evident that the revolt which started spontaneously is now being orchestrated by dark powers.  Two days ago in Tripoli a group known as the "guardians of the city", created by university students years ago to protect the city from waste mafias, issued a statement.  This is an open appeal to the international community, which calls for placing Lebanon under the protection of Article 7 of the UN to protect protesters.

The declaration asking for foreign intervention was drafted by a university professor close to Ashraf Rifi, a shady Sunni figure, linked to the secret services of the Gulf countries.  Ashraf Rifi is a former Lebanese Interior Minister who played an important role in providing logistical assistance, weapons, and recruiting fighters to be sent from Lebanon to Syria at the beginning of the Syrian conflict.

From slogans that demanded social justice the chants rising from the streets now call for the fall of the regime - as during the Arab Spring - in a country like Lebanon which has no regime, but a democratically elected multi-ethnic government.

Hymns of the Arab Spring specific to Syria and the beginning of the uprising in Daraa in Syria were sung.

A group that is believed to be close to the Lebanese Forces - everyone knows this but nobody admits it -  and close to the Gulf countries and the United States, has created checkpoints by closing the streets and checking identity cards.  It is a nefarious practice that recalls the beginning of the 1975 civil war, when people were killed based on the [religious] confession that appeared on the identity card.

Neither should the closure of banks for days  be underestimated.  People are waiting for the banks to reopen to rush to withdraw all their deposits, with all that may arise from such behavior.

Yesterday after the insults to Hezbollah by groups that moved from one side to the other to repeat the same instigations, there was a clash between Shiite militants and these groups considered as the fifth column.

In a televised speech, Hassan Nasrallah spoke for over an hour and asked Hezbollah supporters to withdraw from the streets.  "These demonstrations - he said - are no longer spontaneous.  Behind it are lenders, foreign embassies, corrupt figures from the Interior and political parties.  I have certain information."

Nasrallah then said that the power vacuum is unacceptable for Hezbollah, which will not allow it.  He underlined the importance of the popular movement and praised the first victory: to have obtained the reform proposed in record time by Hariri, with a budget for reorganization without taxes.

Shiite protesters withdrew from the squares immediately after Nasrallah's speech to concentrate on Shiite areas and demonstrate in support of the general secretary.  In a few minutes the number of protesters decreased and the two squares of Riyad El Solh and Piazza dei Martiri, which made a single and united block of protesters, became two separate squares divided by the decrease in protesters.

Shiites who were retreating from the center were hit by gunshots that caused two injuries on the way to Barbir.  The intervention of the police was immediate.

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