Top Leaders Throw Weight Behind New Security Plan in Tripoli

President Michel Suleiman hailed on Monday as successful a security plan implemented by the Lebanese Army in the northern city of Tripoli as Prime Minister Najib Miqati hoped the situation there would remain under control following a week of deadly gunbatttles.

“The implementation of the security plan drawn by security officials began yesterday (Sunday) and it seems that it has so far given a positive effect,” Suleiman told a cabinet session held at Baabda palace.

Labor Minister Salim Jreissati quoted Suleiman as calling for the support of the Army in its mission, a day after top security and defense officials were given the green light during a meeting of the Higher Defense Council to restore order in Tripoli.

A week of clashes between the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen left scores of people dead and injured. But the Army deployed heavily in the city starting Sunday night, carrying out patrols and setting up checkpoints.

It also removed all barricades erected by the fighters in the hotspots.

“We hold onto the values of tolerance, democracy and civil rights,” Jreissati quoted Miqati as telling cabinet ministers.

The prime minister hailed the positive results of the HDC's meeting and hoped the latest calm in Tripoli would hold.

Also Monday and during a meeting with his Finnish counterpart, Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn warned that the Army will be on the lookout for any attempt to tamper with security.

“Political leaders should meet the Army's efforts by rejecting inciting and sectarian rhetoric, and working on steering Lebanon clear of any tension that could lead to dangerous repercussions,” Ghosn said.

Tripoli has been the scene of frequent sectarian clashes between the Alawite sect of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Sunnis. This time, the gunbattles broke out over reports that Lebanese Salafists were killed after entering Syria to fight alongside the rebel Free Syrian Army.

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