Saturday, December 02, 2006
In the last two days big demonstrations have been going on in Down Town Beirut. They started on Friday, with a slightly bigger demonstration than the 8th of March 2005, when Hezbollah went down to the street to thank Syria, but smaller than March the 14th, when the current majority (Hariri, Joumblatt, and Geagea; in addition to Aoun who is now allied with Hezbollah) marched to the streets and were able to kick the Syrians out of Lebanon.
This time numbers are meaningless, the country is split down the middle (give or take 5%). The two parties must understand that no one can win, and the only solution is a compromise.
Unfortunately, Hezbollah and their allies are playing a very dangerous game. They are making the same mistake Israel made in its last war against Lebanon, they went into a battle with unachievable goals, assuming that they will topple the government. And the longer Siniora’s government hold on to power, the more pressure they will have to apply, and the harder it will be for the army and the Internal Security Forces to keep control of the two very very angry streets.
The first day was peaceful, until Hezbollah tried to encircle the Government headquarter (the Saray), then the 14th of March supporters started to stir and Siniora called the army and informed them that he will not be able to hold them from breaking the siege themselves. The army intervened, they contacted Hezbollah and the siege was lifted.
Just imagine what could have happened if the 14th of March protesters went down and lifted the siege themselves…
Today, a big scuffle happened in an adjacent area to where the demonstrations are taking place. Several people were injured and the army had to fire in the air to stop the small riot (It is interesting to note that three Syrians were caught hurling stones from the roof top of one of a building)
This madness must stop! Sooner rather than later, because the next scuffle might be that small sparks that leads to the big explosion. The two sides are raising the stakes, raising their rhetoric, and everyday they become less capable to back down and a compromise becomes harder to reach…
We urgently need a return to sanity! Now, before it is too late!