Geagea Meets Suleiman: Asir Phenomenon Product of Hizbullah Phenomenonإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea noted on Monday that the “phenomenon” of Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir is a product of local conditions in Lebanon, calling on all Lebanese to support the army and state given the clashes in the southern city of Sidon.
He told Free Lebanon radio: “The phenomenon of Hizbullah produced several other phenomenons, including that of al-Asir.”
“We are all citizens who enjoy the same rights and duties, but when one citizen sees that another enjoys superiority over him regarding these rights, then he is bound to react against this reality,” he said.
“Hizbullah has violated all laws and state institutions seeing as it revolts against any political issue that it opposes, which was demonstrated during the May 7, 2008, clashes,” Geagea continued.
“We believe that the army's tackling of the situation in Sidon marks the beginning of addressing the possession of illegitimate arms and the presence of 'statelets' in Lebanon,” he noted.
“When a portion of Lebanese believe that they have the right to form an armed group independent of the state, then other Lebanese will follow suit,” he explained.
“This is the mistake that al-Asir committed and the only way to end this reality lies in resorting to state institutions, starting with the army,” he remarked.
“We can no longer tolerate illegitimate arms, whether they are in al-Asir's possession or Hizbullah's,” he said.
Moreover, Geagea added that the demand to eliminate al-Asir's phenomenon should continue to include the arrest of those who killed Hashem al-Salman in front of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut on June 9.
“Tackling one phenomenon and not the other will not end the current situation in Lebanon, because similar armed groups will emerge in the country in the future,” he explained.
“The bigger problem lies in the presence of Hizbullah because failure to tackle this problem will create future one and we will continue to move from one bad situation to a worse one,” noted the LF leader.
“From now on, we will demand that the state perform its duties until the end, which goes beyond ending the unrest in Sidon,” he said.
“Where are Salman's murderers?” he wondered.
Lebanese Option Party member Hashem Salman was killed and at least eleven others were wounded in a scuffle between supporters of Hizbullah and protesters near the Iranian Embassy in Beirut.
The demonstrators were holding a sit-in near the embassy to protest Hizbullah's involvement in the war raging in Syria.
Geagea stressed that the state cannot choose to assume its full responsibilities at certain instances, while at others, it only perform part of them.
“Officials cannot remain in power if some regions remain outside the state's control for unknown reasons,” he added.
On Sunday, Geagea had held talks with President Michel Suleiman at the Baabda Palace.
He said that the visit was scheduled before the eruption of the Sidon clashes.
He revealed that the discussions focused on the unrest and the security situation in Lebanon.
He later contacted Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji, MP Bahia al-Hariri, and head of the Mustaqbal bloc MP Fouad Saniora to discuss the latest security developments.
Clashes broke out on Sunday between the army and supporters of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir in the southern city of Sidon.
The military command said the number of troops killed in the fighting rose to 12. There were also more than 50 injuries among the ranks of the soldiers, but it was not clear how many fighters were killed in the unrest.
The clashes erupted when al-Asir's supporters surrounded an army checkpoint in the area, where a vehicle transporting other supporters of the cleric had been stopped.
After the armed men attacked the troops with gunfire, the army fired back.