Rafehi Urges Disbanding of Arab Democratic Party, Arrest of Shootersإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Salafist cleric Sheikh Salem al-Rafehi on Thursday slammed the state for failing to stop the violence in Tripoli, accusing Jabal Mohsen's Arab Democratic Party of starting the new round of fighting in the city.
“Tripoli is being shelled since four days at the hands of a criminal party despite the presence of the security plan,” Rafehi said following a meeting for clerics and leaders of Bab al-Tabbaneh's fighting frontiers.
“Tripoli's residents endured the security forces' restriction of their freedoms at the checkpoints for the sake of their security and stability,” the cleric said.
“The security plan is not defending us and it is preventing us from defending ourselves,” Rafehi lamented, calling on the state to “perform its duties.”
The cleric called on the state to “disband” the Arab Democratic Party, the main political and armed force in Jabal Mohsen, saying its officials must be “put on trial” after “members of it” were accused of deadly bombings that hit two mosques in the city.
“Why didn't security forces arrest those who opened fire in Tripoli? Had another sect been targeted they would have acted differently,” said Rafehi, referring to four days of clashes between the rival neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh that have left at least four people dead and 35 others wounded.
Syrian President Bashar “Assad launches threats and the Arab Democratic Party executes them and Assad admitted that this party is loyal to the regime, that's why this party must be disbanded but the state is not doing so. The state is thanking the regime instead of summoning the Syrian ambassador” over the bombings, Rafehi added.
“Bashar Assad must be considered a war criminal, not a head of state, and he must be held accountable for his crimes,” Rafehi said.
“Where is the security plan devised for Tripoli? We want security in in our country and the state is responsible for providing security. It is collecting taxes to do so. Many young men have been killed in Tripoli and more than 50 people have been wounded, where is the state's response?" he asked.
“Why is this only happening in Tripoli? We have neither security nor an economy. Had this happened in Jounieh, Beirut or Dahieh, the state would not have remained silent,” the cleric noted.
The fighting broke out on Monday evening as celebratory gunfire erupted in Jabal Mohsen over Assad’s appearance on al-Mayadeen television for an interview.
State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr has charged seven people, three of whom are in custody, in connection with the August bombings that rocked two mosques in Tripoli.
Three of those charged are in detention and the other four are at large. The majority of them are residents of Jabal Mohsen, where the pro-Damascus Arab Democratic Party has a strong influence.
Two Lebanese and two Syrians were already charged on August 30. According to Lebanese media, one of the Syrians, Captain Mohammed Ali, is a security official based in Tartus, a Syrian city on the Mediterranean close to Tripoli.
In August last year, security forces arrested former Lebanese information minister Michel Samaha, who is considered close to Damascus.
He is accused of planning attacks in Lebanon along with Syrian security chief General Ali Mamlouk and faces the death penalty if convicted.