[Marxism] LA TIMES: Lebanon reverses decisions that angered Hezbollah
walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu May 15 14:33:51 MDT 2008
(While Bush visits Israel and attacks Iran
and Obama, Hezbollah wins yet another round.)
>From the Los Angeles Times
Lebanon reverses decisions that angered Hezbollah
The government's move follows days of violence.
It had outlawed the militia's communications network
and fired a pro-Hezbollah official at Beirut's airport.
By Borzou Daragahi
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 15, 2008
BEIRUT — The Lebanese government late Wednesday formally rescinded
decisions that sparked days of violence in the country, a move aimed
at easing tensions between American- and Iranian-backed political
camps vying for power in the country.
During a visit by mediating Arab foreign ministers, Lebanon's
information minister said the government would back off on decisions
announced last week to declare illegal the Shiite Muslim militia
Hezbollah's private fiber-optic telecommunications network and to
fire the pro-Hezbollah head of security at Beirut's international
"Since the government is greatly concerned with the higher interest,
the government decided to approve the rescinding of the two
decisions," Ghazi Aridi, the minister, said in a televised
Supporters of the Hezbollah-led opposition responded to the 11 p.m.
announcement by firing automatic weapons into the air in celebration
throughout the country.
Lebanon has been mired in a deepening political crisis since a
late-2006 dispute between the Western-leaning government and the
opposition over power sharing. The deadlock has left the country
without a president since November.
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah warned May 8 that the
decisions announced two days earlier amounted to a serious
provocation that challenged the group's self-proclaimed status as
leader of the resistance to Israeli and American plans for the
In response, Hezbollah and its allies last week shut down the airport
by blocking surrounding roads and then launched a ferocious
Heavily armed fighters briefly occupied West Beirut and assaulted the
political and paramilitary offices of pro-government groups in a move
that stunned the region and upset the country's delicate political
balance. Scores were killed in the capital, the northern city of
Tripoli and the mountain villages southeast of Beirut.
The violence, which has eased in the last two days, took on an
unsettling sectarian character, with Shiite and Sunni Muslims
engaging in tit-for-tat attacks that resembled the fighting in Iraq.
Hezbollah said it would unblock roads to the airport and within
Beirut only if the government rescinded its decisions. But Aridi's
statement Wednesday was hardly contrite. The minister accused
Hezbollah of using the initial government decisions "as an alibi to
invade Beirut with the force of arms" and putting "civil peace in
Aridi said the government decided to annul the decisions only "to
extricate the country" from the looming possibility of deepening
"There is no winner as a result of what happened, but there is a
loser," he said, "and that is Lebanon."
daragahi at latimes.com
Special correspondent Raed Rafei contributed to this report.
Los Angeles, California
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