Rifi Says Solution in Arsal Political as Kabbara Blames 'Syrian-Iranian Conspiracy'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi stressed Sunday that the way out from the current confrontation in Arsal should be through a “political solution,” as Tripoli MP Mohammed Kabbara of the Mustaqbal bloc described the incidents in the Bekaa border town as a “Syrian-Iranian conspiracy.”
“The solution in Arsal is political and we must protect our northern Bekaa from the volcano's lava and we must preserve coexistence,” Rifi said in remarks to MTV.
“The mission of protecting northern Bekaa is the mission of all of its residents and our salvation lies legitimate state institutions,” Rifi added, pointing out that “the statelet” of Hizbullah is to blame for the current situation in the country.
The minister warned that “we are before a major challenge and a critical moment,” urging an end to the crisis in Arsal “as it might lead to incidents in other regions.”
Earlier on Friday, Kabbara demanded “the withdrawal of all gunmen” from Arsal.
“We demand that the cabinet convene to restore political authority over the army,” the MP said after a meeting at his Tripoli residence for the Islamic National Gathering, a grouping of northern MPs, Muslim scholars and dignitaries.
He called for the immediate interrogation of the detained militant leader Imad Jomaa, whose arrest on Saturday had sparked the military confrontation with the army and security forces.
Kabbara said a quick probe would “determine whether there is a legitimate cause for his arrest.”
Reciting a statement issued by the conferees, the lawmaker described the developments in Arsal as “a Syrian-Iranian conspiracy against the Sunnis.”
He also warned against "transforming the army into one similar to the one in Iraq under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki."
At least 10 Lebanese Army troops have been killed and 25 others wounded while 13 troops have gone missing since the clashes with armed groups erupted in and around Arsal on Saturday. Dozens of gunmen have been killed or arrested in the fighting.
The battle started after the army arrested al-Nusra Front top official Imad Ahmed Jomaa.
Army chief General Jean Qahwaji has however announced that the clashes had been “premeditated” by the armed groups.