Monday, January 22, 2007

Pro-Syrians Confuse Right to Strike with Threats of Deterrence by Force - Updated!

Pro-Syrian opposition forces in Lebanon have announced their intent to block roads and forcefully prevent members of the general public to reach their workplaces on Tuesday, following the government's announcement of a 'national day of productivity' for that day.
The government announcement came in response to a general call to strike by the pro-Syrian opposition over the weekend. The strikes, due to take place tomorrow, will be aimed at prolonging the 7 week-long series of sit-ins and demonstrations started by those forces in order to bring down the current government in favor of one allowing them a veto over all cabinet decisions.
According to the online news website Naharnet:

'...Hizbullah-led protestors are likely to take to the streets at dawn Tuesday, the day of the strike, and block major road intersections with burning tires...busses are also likely to be used as barriers to block the roads with the aim of stirring up tensions between the demonstrators and the security forces which, as a result, would send frightened Lebanese out of their beds, forcing them against reporting to work or sending their children to school.

Opposition MP Suleiman Franjieh said in a speech on Sunday that government supporters who "are going to report to work (Tuesday) should consider how they are going to reach (their workplace) and how they are going to return (home)."

These remarks were met, however, by assurances from the Prime Minister that the Lebanese Army and other state security agencies would act to keep major arteries around the country open, as well as ensuring access to government institutions and businesses in and around the capital.

Update

Here are some more quotes from another (newer) Naharnet article:

Hizbullah on Monday escalated the opposition's general strike call, urging its followers to take to the streets and block roads by blazing tires to "achieve victory" by toppling Premier Fouad Saniora's majority government.

Hizbullah, in a statement issued by its command in the eastern Bekaa valley, said five key roads would be blocked Tuesday in an apparent effort to interrupt businesses and facilitate the general strike that the opposition has called for.

Cars raising Hizbullah flags and posters of its leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also toured several villages in south Lebanon blaring from loudspeakers calls to "the most honorable people to take to the streets to achieve victory that has been pledged by the sayyed. Men, women, the elderly and the children are urged to take to the streets tomorrow."

Sources within the army and security services have, once again, reassured the public that those institutions would take all necessary steps to ensure that citizens would not be harassed by rioters tomorrow.

15 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:25 PM

    i like the title :)

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  2. Check Samir Geagea's "Michel Hayek-style predictions of trouble". Oil and nails on the road... its interesting but Aoun sounded a little anxious on TV and didn't really encoruage people to do go down (Monday)... apparently, the opposition has received threats of trouble.

    I might be wrong in my attitude when I say that forest fires aren't put out by candle fires but instead by torrents of water. Extreme times such as these require extreme measures, and if that means peacefully blocking roads so be it. I know I will critized by many for this, but here is where I stand. For those that don't plan to strike, all I can say is that if it goes the way of the Moustaqabl in our country, then pay the price without complaining: 18% TVA, 32,000L.L. Benzene, more poverty, never ending debts and nothing in return.

    And Blacksmith Jade, call em Pro-Syrian if you wish and I have no problem with that whatsoever, you have the right... but they aren't, especially the FPMers. Remember, its Khaddam's friends who are in power in the government... the same Khaddam who had Lebanon as his personal file for years and years under the Hafez el Assad rule.

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  3. Jimmy9:52 PM

    Its comments like Abu Jaafar's that make me worry about this country.

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  4. Abu Jaafar,
    Instead of making fun of Geagea's comments why don't you highlight some real news. How about the tires brought in by Pro-Syrian Palestinian factions to be set on fire tomorrow on major highways across the south of the country?
    Story

    You can delude yourself all you want into thinking that the policies pursued by Hizballah and the FPM and others won't lead to a re-instating of elements aligned with the Syrian regime into the only vestige of resistance to that regime in the country. That vestige being the elected Parliament and the Cabinet that Parliament approved. If you think the law that brought those people to power was faulty then ponder on who acted to keep that electoral law the way it was, Hizballah and Amal.

    You're completely off in your comment, and if it reflects your opinions then in those too. Have you even read the reform plan proposed by the government? I know the answer to that is no. I also know that none of the pro-Syrian opposition parties have submitted anything close to an economic plan of their own. What we both know is that it was Hizballah who started the summer war that destroyed the economic boom we were to experience this summer. So lets start there before we support the shutting down of a country and the starvation of a people in favor group of armed militants, assassins, and sycophants following a deluded narcicist.

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  5. Habibi BM Jade, have I ever questioned you or your intellect or your intentions? Of course I have not read the 30 page report nor would I bother doing so. I am waiting for people like you who understand economics and stuff to do with money to explain it, but for now I will do with Jihad Azour's (the Finance minister's) comments and economists' comments in the press.

    I expected such comments and expect more to come. We of course disagree on major issues, one of which is whether or not the policies of this government are in the best interests of Lebanon. Naturally, you do not agree with all of them, although we do not see eye-to-eye on how dangerous this governments policies are for the country or on the true intentions of Hizbullah. We disagree on who's worse for the country. And we can bring in the same issues: consitutionality of the government, the electoral law, Aoun's presidential aspirations, the July war, Syrian/Iranian/French/US hegemony, etc etc. I am not interested in re-engaging anybody in these debates that we have said and resaid countless times using the same labels, slogans, cause&effects arguements and accusations of who's to blame.

    As for Samir Geagea's comments, I am sarcastic. He always makes predictions and never lets us know 'who, why, what, when or where'... just as he predicted the death of ministers days before the assasination of Pierre Gemayel, Allah 'yerhamo. The man has info, let him make it public. He and Walid Jumblat's statements are fishy to me and thats my take on the issue, I ain't making fun of anybody.

    Finally, concerning the FPM's positions on reform plans. Firstly, they are not in the government to govern or propose plans in that position. Secondly, refer to their website for their plans. They have been very pro-active in very important issues ranging from our detainees in Syrian prisons, SLA families in Israel, to the corruption files, and many issues which any devoted Aouneh will readily tell you. Today Aoun is saying that these reform plans are meangingless without tackling the true cause of Lebanon's failing economy, namely, corruption... and he has been strongly calling for iniatiting auditing operations in all state-involved financial institutions. This is what I think must be done and as soon as possible.

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  6. I've read the FPM proposals, and although they're full of good intentions, they don't really amount to anything. All they are are some imported slogans (from the global Opposition'R'Us store) spit-polished to look new, and repackaged into a fancy powerpoint presentation.

    As far as auditing of state and government institutions, I'm all for that too, and in fact its called for in the Paris III reform report (which I will happily summarize for you asap).

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  7. KatKat11:43 PM

    If Ok to close roads, then OK to hurt those who close roads. so fpm should prepare themself if they close roads in christian areas, they will be hurt.

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  8. I'm so sick of people using the deficit as there excuse for not supporting the 14th of March. Which country doesn't have a deficit??? 7aj ba'a tidda7ako 3ala 7alkon. Even if u think that all the 14th of March are crooks, and all the Pro Syrian guys are angels sent from heaven, it doesn't MATTER, cause the rest of the world thinks NOT. There won't be ONE penny coming into this country if it's lead by Hizballa/3oon. Try living off of Iran, and u can do it for what a year? not even. It's only a matter of time before A. Najad disappears cause he has NO internal support, or SELLS U OUT to kiss some good all American butt.
    And i'm sick of you guys talking about a CLEAN govt. Now u want a clean govt.??? What about when the Syrians where here? was the govt. clean then? i didn't see u guys protesting. "Al Shuker li soreyya el asad"
    that's what Nasralla says (Or Al Shukghh)
    You guys have amnesia... u forget that our deficit COMES FROM the Syrians. How do u think they let 7ariri work? He had to pay them off. He also paid off Birri, and many many others for him to be able to continue his plan. Hariri also had a plan to erase the deficit, incase u didn't know, but they killed him... so there you have it. You want your money, go get it from Syrian Swiss bank accounts, and from Birri, who has ALL his money in the U.S. of A.

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  9. Anonymous11:58 PM

    AbuJaafar,
    It seems you only like to live under demi-gods like aoun and nasrallah. Well why don't u go to the god of the demi-gods bashar and take ur friends with u.

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  10. Jimmy5:47 AM

    Great comment Eve. Abu Jaafar, wake up!

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  11. Jimmy5:51 AM

    PS - Where is debate?

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Well, chaos is ripe yet again in Lebanon.

    About the previous comments about the reform plan. Most points are only included to appease the contributing nations.
    I really doubt there will be any serious auditing of state institutions under the current government.
    Any type of honest audit will mostly incriminate exactly those people who are in power now. It will also incriminate some of the opposition leaders.
    My point is that not one side can be trusted to do any good to the country in the long run so why is everybody commiting themselves to either one side?

    Finally, I would like to say that the people who are commenting on those posts should be old enough not to blindly and feverishly pledge allegiance to either one side as not one single leader or lawmaked in either camp has Lebanons well being on their mind, but only their own.

    You are old enough to see that. nothing can save Lebanon in the long run but a slow but severe break from old guard and feudal politics and fresh start with a Chehabian style modern politcal arena.

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