Eid Has Reservations Over Army Raids, Berri Hints 5th Column Involved in Tripoli Fighting

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The head of the Arab Democratic Party, Rifaat Eid, has expressed reservations over raids carried out by the Lebanese army in his stronghold in the northern city of Tripoli as Speaker Nabih Berri hinted that a fifth column was seeking to create tension in the area.

In remarks to An Nahar daily, Eid said the army made unusual steps in the neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen on Tuesday by “raiding our homes and ransacking them and we haven't made a move against it.”

But Eid accused the military of not taking similar measures in the Sunni neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh. “We have reservations on such a behavior although we understand the way the army is acting.”

Eid, who is from the Alawite sect of Syrian President Bashar Assad, also lashed out at the National Islamic Gathering, a group of politicians and religious figures headed by MP Mohammed Kabbara.

The Gathering gave the army and security forces on Tuesday 48 hours to respond to the snipers and control the situation in the city which witnessed in the past days the 17th round of fighting that has left scores of casualties.

The violence is tied to the war in Syria, where a Sunni-led uprising is fighting to overthrow the regime of Assad, who is an Alawite.

An Nahar said that Eid has held phone conversations with Berri and leaders in the speaker's Amal movement in addition to Hizbullah.

It quoted him as saying that his party was ready to cooperate with the army in its deployment in Jabal Mohsen.

The military's move in entering buildings that are housing snipers in the neighborhood is expected to be followed by similar measures in Bab al-Tabbaneh.

But Berri warned in remarks to As Safir newspaper that a fifth column might be behind the sniper attacks and the gunbattles with the objective of creating tension as soon as a cautious clam reigns in.

The situation in the capital of the North “is no longer acceptable,” he said.

The speaker's remarks came as Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said the gunmen in both neighborhoods were acting on their own and no longer taking orders from politicians.

An Nahar quoted sources as saying that 90 percent of armed men were working independently after Salafist groups entered the city and engaged in the battles.

They said the army's raids of the apartments housing the snipers were not part of a new plan.

Soldiers “are using the appropriate weapons to avoid endangering the lives of people” in the city, the sources added.

Comments 5
Missing phillipo 05 June 2013, 08:21

How on earth can any politician in a democratic country be opposed to the government using force (the army when necessary) to put down civil disorder and murders by gunmen operating as a probably "fifth column".
That is unless 1)Rifaat Eid is part of the uprising and/or 2) he doesn't recognise Lebanon as a democratic country, in which case why is he sitting in parliament?

Default-user-icon dddd (Guest) 05 June 2013, 08:58

The Lebanese Army dont need your assistance to deploy in jabal mouhsen or anywhere else on the Lebanese soil! The day is coming when your tail and every outlaw tail will be cut.. enjoy the last of it !

Thumb mckinl 05 June 2013, 09:22

Tripoli is just the tip of the iceberg of political corruption ... Every institution of the government is controlled by political mobs in service to running their rackets at the public's expense.

The Parliament reelecting itself was a by-product of Tripoli. Tripoli violence was one of the excuses they used to reelect themselves. As soon as that was accomplished they were all for a crackdown in Tripoli.

Default-user-icon habib (Guest) 05 June 2013, 10:14

The problem with only raiding Jabal Mohsen is that this leaves them defenseless, and the army doesn't dare to protect them from Salafist attacks afterwards.

The Salafists can always get resupplied, the people of Jabal Mohsen can't, since they are completely surrounded.

Thumb LebCynic 05 June 2013, 12:12

This is the result of radical salafi clerics calling for openly for jihad. It is in the opinion of moderate muslim that a cleric that insights violence is doing nothing but bringing his religion into disripute and creating sectarian strife. I don't recall a single fatwa from an Alawite cleric calling for jihad, jabal mohsen is fighting in self defense, fighting for the right to exist and live in freedom with dignity. Salafi's/wahabi's openly justify killing alawite children and raping thier woman. So taking their means of self defense away isn't a good move by the LAF. By all means track and take down this 5th column.