Day By Day

Monday, February 28, 2005

Latest on Lebanon

It appears violence has broken out. Caveman in Beirut reports:

[T]here are reports of violence in Tripoli (Karami's primary base of support) and some other areas in northern Lebanon - the strong points of Syrian support. Many people in Tripoli are very upset that their man was forced to resign - they are walking around in hordes, burning tires, burning cars, and the footage on television (LBC right now) shows quite a chaotic scene. With all the pressure that has been on Syria in the past two weeks, it would make perfect sense that the Syrians may want to create a diversion, and it seems that they may have done just that. What has happened here in just two hours was (1) A second news story has been created, demanding local news time, thereby taking some of the cameras off the protests in the downtown area; and (2) Counterdemonstrations - the thing that the opposition feared most.And if this were not enough - al-Nahar reports that the security convoy of U.S. envoy David Satterfield (former Ambassador to Lebanon) was forced to change the venue in which Satterfield was supposed to meet with Lebanon's top Sunni muslim cleric, Mohammad Rashid Kabbani, when up to 20 unidentified armed men wearing civilian clothes appeared in the area. Al-Jazeera went as far as saying that this was an assassination attempt, and mainstream media may be downplaying the significance of this event.

Read the whole thing here.

Across the Bay adds details:

A supporter of outgoing Prime Minister Omar Karameh died of a gunshot wound late Monday in the Syrian-backed premier's hometown of Tripoli in northern Lebanon, medics and witnesses told AFP. Fadi al-Ahmad, 22, was pronounced dead in a nearby hospital, medics there said. He was fired on inside the compound of Karameh's family home from a nearby rooftop, a statement from the outgoing premier's office said. Police said they had no immediate word on the shooting. The announcement in parliament earlier Monday of Karameh's resignation in the face of mass demonstrations set off protests by some 2,000 of his supporters who fired into the air and set ablaze tyres to block off roads. They also tore down banners strung up by the opposition and broke the windows of two cars parked outside an opposition MP's home.

and this:

[I]n stark contrast to the scenes of joy in the capital and other cities, the mood was one of anger in Karameh's home town of Tripoli. His supporters launched volleys of machine-gun fire into the air, blocked traffic with burning tyres and tore down opposition banners."With our blood, with our soul, we will defend you o Karameh," they shouted, along with slogans insulting leading opposition figure, the Druze MP Walid Jumblatt and voicing their backing for Syria.

Read the whole thing here.

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