Beirut / Naim Berjawi / Anatolia
** Political writer Tony Abi Negm:
– “Hezbollah” requires the removal of the judicial investigator, Tariq Al-Bitar, in exchange for the government’s continuation
– The party put itself in the face of the majority that wants to know the truth of the explosion, and its announcement that it includes 100,000 fighters is a “intimidation message.”
– Currently, there are no alternative Sunni leaders who can assume their role, and therefore it is not possible to talk about a clear Sunni position on what is happening
** Analyst and writer Faisal Abdel Sater:
The decision of ministers affiliated with Hezbollah and the Amal Movement to suspend participation in cabinet sessions is still valid.
– The current crisis is not related to Sunnis, Shiites or Christians, and Nasrallah’s message was clear that he wants to prevent civil war
– Efforts are being made to find a solution to the emerging crisis, and the matter is not linked to “Hezbollah” alone
Lebanon entered the second week of political stalemate, which began to reflect governmental paralysis and confusion, and a further complication of the scene in the economically and socially exhausted country.
The crisis erupted more than a week ago after the “Shiite” ministers boycotted the cabinet sessions, and the accompanying security tensions.
The “Shiite” boycott prompted President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Mikati to postpone holding cabinet sessions indefinitely.
The Lebanese government consists of 24 ministers, 5 Sunni Muslims, 5 Shiites, 2 Druze, and Christians (5 Maronites, 3 Orthodox, 2 Catholics, 1 Armenian, and another minority).
Shiite ministers (affiliated with “Hezbollah” and “Amal Movement”) are required to participate in the cabinet sessions that the council discuss the investigation file of the Beirut port explosion, in preparation for the dismissal of the judicial investigator, Judge Tariq Al-Bitar.
On October 14, armed confrontations took place in the Tayouneh area of Beirut, as a result of heavy gunfire during a demonstration organized by supporters of the “Hezbollah” group and the “Amal” movement to denounce Bitar’s decisions in the port explosion case.
The confrontations lasted for about 5 continuous hours, and resulted in 7 deaths and 32 injuries.
** Disrupt the government and paralyze the country?
In the face of this reality, some see that “Hezbollah” and “Amal” are obstructing the government’s work in accordance with their interests by insisting on the removal of Al-Bitar, while others believe that the demand for his removal is not limited to the two movements.
Political writer Tony Abi Najm told Anadolu Agency that “Hezbollah requires the overthrow of the judicial investigator Al-Bitar in exchange for the government’s continuation of work, at a time when the country needs to intensify the government’s work in light of the economic and living crisis.”
He adds that “Hezbollah has put itself in the face of the Lebanese majority that wants to know the truth about the port explosion, which is also suffering from the economic and living conditions.”
Abi Negm warns that “this reality may lead to complete paralysis in the country, and may prompt the postponement of the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for March 27.”
On the other hand, analyst and writer Faisal Abdel-Sater disagrees with Abi Najm’s approach to the situation in Lebanon, telling Anadolu Agency, “There are efforts being made to find a solution to the emerging crisis and that the matter is not linked to Hezbollah alone.”
And he asserts that “the decision of ministers affiliated with Hezbollah and the Amal movement to suspend participation in cabinet sessions is still valid.”
Abdel-Sater explains, “The demand of the two teams regarding the investigations into the explosion of the port is shared by some other currents, such as the (Christian) Marada movement, but he does not speak out in this position.”
** Where is the “Sunnah” of what is happening?
The political tension, which appeared to be a conflict between Shiite factions and other Christians, raised several questions about the position of Sunni officials in the country regarding what is happening, especially the “Future Movement” led by Saad Hariri.
Abi Negm is not surprised by the lack of a clear position for the “Sunni team”, “due to the absence of effective and influential leaders, especially after Hariri was unable to form a government, and his presence outside the country at this stage,” according to what he says.
He added, “Currently, there are no alternative Sunni leaders who can assume their role, and therefore it is not possible to talk about a clear Sunni position on what is happening.”
As for Faisal Abdel-Sater, he says, “The current crisis is not related to Sunnis, Shiites or Christians,” explaining that “the allegations made by the judicial investigator Al-Bitar affected personalities from different sects.”
He points out that “Hezbollah’s position on the judge is a common position with the Marada and the former Minister of the Interior, Deputy Nohad al-Mashnouq (Sunni), as well as the former Prime Minister, Hassan Diab.”
As for the “neutrality” of the Future Movement from the scene today, Abdel Sater believes that the movement “may not want to be a part or a party to the current conflict, and is now waiting on the sidewalk until the whole scene crystallizes in front of it.”
**Equation of one hundred thousand fighters
In light of the escalating political and security tension, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah announced that his party’s military organization includes 100,000 fighters, in the context of exchanging responses with the “Lebanese Forces” party regarding the Tayouneh events.
This announcement was seen by Abu Najm, as “a message of intimidation from Hezbollah to all the Lebanese.”
He adds that “this number (100 thousand) seems to be for use within Arab countries, unfortunately, including Lebanon, and not on the Jerusalem road.”
But Abdel Sater “rejects such accusations against Hezbollah,” and says that “Nasrallah’s message was clear that he wants to prevent a civil war.”
He points out that “the announcement of the number of 100,000 fighters is directed against the enemies of Lebanon, specifically the Israeli enemy.”
Abdel-Sater believes that “Hezbollah’s handling of the Tayouneh events depends on two principles, the first is that no one thinks of returning to the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), and the second is to hold accountable all those who caused the Tayouneh events.”
And on Monday, Nasrallah said in a televised speech, “Hezbollah’s military structure alone includes 100,000 fighters, and these fighters did not prepare them for a civil war, but rather to defend our country in the face of enemies.”
In addition to the thorny economic and social files, the investigation file into the explosion of the port of Beirut is one of the most difficult challenges facing the Mikati government, which was formed on September 10, after 13 months of stumbling after the resignation of the government of Hassan Diab, a few days after the explosion of the port of Beirut.
The explosion occurred on August 4, 2020, killing 217 people and wounding about 7,000 others, as well as massive material damage to residential and commercial buildings, due to the presence of about 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, which had been confiscated from a ship and stored since 2014.
On July 2, Judge Al-Bitar indicted 10 officials and officers, including two deputies from the “Amal” movement (Hezbollah’s ally), Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zuaiter (two former ministers), and the former prime minister, Hassan Diab.
However, these lawsuits were rejected by some Lebanese political forces, led by the “Hezbollah” group, whose leader, Hassan Nasrallah, considered Al-Bitar’s investigations “politicised” and “does not lead to the truth.”
In turn, Khalil and Zuaiter submitted a request to the Court of Cassation to dismiss al-Bitar, accusing him of “violating the constitutional principles, and exceeding the powers of the Parliament and the Supreme Council to try presidents and ministers,” but the court recently rejected their request.
The news published on the official page of Anadolu Agency, is an abbreviation for a part of the news that is presented to subscribers through the News Stream System (HAS). To subscribe to the agency, please contact the following link.