Tuesday, February 13, 2007

At the very least, a tense day in Lebanon

Three died in two terrorist attacks on buses Tuesday. Robert Fisk:
Yet the politicians now talk openly of this terrible possibility and the rumours - through every community here - that large amounts of guns are being brought into the city can no longer be ignored.

The discovery by the Lebanese army of a truck load of weapons in the suburb of Hazmieh - weapons that the Hizbollah openly acknowledged belonged to them - caused a small earthquake in the hearts of those who most fear civil conflict.

Why did the Shia group need these guns now? And if these small arms had come from the Bekaa Valley, as apparently they did, why transport them through the mixed Muslim-Christian district of Hazmieh in Beirut? The Syrian government announced only a week ago that they, too, had stopped a shipment of weapons from crossing the border into Lebanon, a bit of law-and-order publicity which many Lebanese found very hard to take but which might well be true.

The Hariri camp has called for "massive" demonstrations today. Geagea, whose thugs once bombed a church north of Beirut in a vain attempt to persuade Christians that they were under attack by the Hizbollah, says that the protests "must be a civilized and peaceful expression of democracy and opinion... in the face of all those who are trying to frighten us". The Sunni Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Qabbani called for a collective Christian-Muslim prayer at 1pm - the time of Hariri's murder two years ago.

The murdered leader's widow Nazik - a woman of great dignity whom most Lebanese have forgotten is a Palestinian - urged the Hizbollah chairman Hassan Nasrallah to allow the event to unite the Lebanese.
Also, a group claiming the title of al Qaeda claims a bomb attack in Algeria, the London Times.


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