Beirut (AsiaNews) – “Time is short before things in Lebanon deteriorate to what is worst,” said Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, who has been trying to help Lebanon find a way out of its current political crisis. The warning issued by Moussa, who is currently in London, comes a day after Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir sounded the alarm about his country’s “road to collapse” and in the wake of other diplomatic initiatives, most notably by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
“It is a long road (to go) but time is short,” the Arab League chief added, and Lebanese-Syrian relations remain crucial. So far the Lebanese government has accused Syria of masterminding the deadlock in parliament via its allies in Lebanon’s opposition, which is preventing the election of a president.
Something might be moving however in Damascus. Some sources in the Syrian capital have said that the head of Syrian military intelligence, Assef Shawkat, who is President Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law and the regime’s second-in-command, might be under house arrest.
Former Syrian Vice-President Abdel Halim Khaddam told al-Mustakbal TV that Shawkat is under arrest for his role in the assassination of Hizbollah military Chief Imad Mughnieh.
Allegedly Shawkat told the Americans that Syria would suspend its aid to Hizbollah for two years in exchange for an equal stop to the international tribunal that is trying to determine who is responsible for the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Shawkat is thought to be among the principals behind the murder, and through him, the Syrian President.
Adding fuel to the fire, Lebanese military sources have reported that a five-member Israeli patrol crossed into Lebanese territory near the Sheeba Farms, staying for about ten minutes.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is looking into the incident. (PD)