Jumblat Mocks 'Confusion', Geagea Urges Probe as 'Victory Celebration' Canceled
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Wednesday ridiculed some political parties after a downtown Beirut rally to celebrate the army's eastern border victory was called off.
“Some decided to organize a victory celebration before reversing their decision. Utter disarray that reflects confusion and the absence of a clear vision for running the state, even in the simplest things,” Jumblat tweeted.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea had earlier in the day called for a “probe” to clarify why the event was called off.
“We now need a probe into the reasons behind the cancellation of the victory celebration that the Lebanese were waiting for to celebrate the victory of the army and the concept of the State in Operation Fajr al-Juroud,” Geagea tweeted.
Free Patriotic Movement chief and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil was the first politician to call for such a celebration before his invitation was officially endorsed by the defense and tourism ministers who also belong to the FPM.
Defense Minister Yacoub al-Sarraf and Tourism Minister Avedis Guidanian held a joint press conference to invite the Lebanese to take part in the Thursday rally but on Tuesday the defense and tourism ministries issued a statement saying the celebration was “postponed” after “consultations with the three presidents” and for “purely logistical reasons.”
Al-Joumhouria newspaper reported Wednesday that the event was mainly called off to avoid “conflicting stances” from President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri on the 2014 Arsal clashes, the probe that Aoun has ordered into the kidnap of troops and policemen that year, and Hizbullah's role in the country.
“Some reports also said that there were fears that the rally could come under a terrorist attack, not to mention that the participants would have come from different and rival political forces and bringing them together in one place during this period would have been a dangerous move,” the daily added, noting that the Army Command was also not enthusiastic about the event seeing as the families of the slain troops are still grieving over their sons.
The developments come after Lebanon recovered the bodies of servicemen abducted and executed by the Islamic State group as part of a Hizbullah-led ceasefire agreement.
The ceasefire followed separate but simultaneous anti-IS offensives by the Lebanese and Syrian armies and Hizbullah on both sides of the Lebanese-Syrian border.
President Aoun, Army Commander General Joseph Aoun and Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared victory over the IS group in the wake of the assaults.