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Implications Of Beirut Bombing

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By Tahmineh Bakhtiari* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

TEHRAN (IDN) - The December 27 explosion in front of the headquarters of the March 14 Alliance in Beirut targeting some of the party’s senior members such as former finance minister, Mohammad Shatah, reveals another plot against the Middle Eastern countries.

Named after the date of the Cedar Revolution, the Alliance is a coalition of political parties and independents in Lebanon, formed in 2005, that are united by their anti-Syrian regime stance, led by MP Saad Hariri, younger son of Rafik Hariri, the assassinated former prime minister of Lebanon, as well as other figures such as Amine Gemayel, president of the Kataeb Party – the Lebanese Phalanges Party, a traditional right-wing political-paramilitary ultranationalist organization.

The Cedar Revolution or Independence Intifada was a chain of demonstrations in Lebanon (especially in the capital Beirut) triggered by the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005.

The question is, what groups benefit from unrest and insecurity in Lebanon. The answer should be found through analyzing domestic affairs, the Syrian crisis and foreign interference.

With regards to domestic affairs, currently various groups and parties with different viewpoints play active roles in Lebanon’s political scene. Most of these parties are tribal or religious. Some parties are Christian while others are predominantly Shiite or Sunnite.

This situation can set the ground for the emergence of sectarianism, and the efforts of all Lebanese groups for maintaining the integrity of Lebanon can solely save them from this threat.

Currently, much of the existing disagreement in Lebanon can be linked to the Syrian crisis. A number of parties, including Hezbollah, are supporting the government of Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian people while the March 14 Alliance is opposed to Hezbollah’s approach.

Saad Hariri, the leader of March 14 Alliance, has always criticized Hezbollah for its support of Syrian forces. Shortly after the explosion in Beirut and the death of Mohammad Shatah, he blamed Hezbollah for the attack.

Saad Hariri has always had problems with Hezbollah and March 14 Alliance has always harshly criticized the Lebanese movement.

This is while Hariri knows that over the past two decades, Hezbollah has spared no efforts to maintain Lebanon’s unity. It was the group’s effort that forced Israel to leave the south of Lebanon in May 2000 and prevented Tel Aviv from occupying the Lebanese soil in June 2006, which led to the death of many of its members.

During a meeting on December 27, 2013 in al-Hariri’s house, the March 14 Alliance and Future Movement (Al- Mustaqbal movement) declared Hezbollah as the killer of Mohammad Shatah and said, they will neither enter negotiation nor establish alliance with a government that Hezbollah is involved with.

According to reports leaked from a meeting behind closed doors, they are seeking two objectives: on one hand they are trying to omit Hezbollah from the Cabinet and on the other, seek to strengthen their position in the government.

The members of the March 14 Alliance in the meeting described their redline as forming a 6-9-9 Cabinet or political government or coalition. They want a March 14 government.

But do they know that they are helping Saudi Arabia, Israel and other supporters of terrorism in the region by levelling such accusations at Hezbollah?

Frustrated by the continuous failures of militants in Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US are trying to pave the way for their active presence in the conflict by spreading the unrest to Lebanon and expanding the warzone.

Reconsider

The March 14 Alliance only thinks of accusing Hezbollah, but prudent members of the coalition must reconsider the accusations by considering the following questions:

1. What are the benefits of this assassination for Hezbollah as a resistance or political movement? Hezbollah is currently engaged in two fronts, helping Syria and resisting the aggression of the Zionist regime. It is not wise to involve itself in a third conflict.

2. When Hasan alaqis, one of the senior commanders of Hezbollah, was assassinated, none of Hezbollah officials accused the March 14 Alliance, despite the fact that although March 14 coalition is not a military group it could have provided the enemies of Hezbollah with information about the resistance movement’s commanders due to its connections with some of the group’s enemies. Nevertheless, Hezbollah never blamed the March 14 Alliance and instead accused the Zionist regime.

Hezbollah knows that the in Israel and some of its international and regional allies benefit from any internal conflict in Lebanon. Now that Takfiri groups led by the hard-liner Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir have infiltrated into Lebanon and are trying to spread unrest in Syria to other countries.

In this regard, Lebanese political officials, groups and parties should be more vigilant with regards to their political approaches.

2013 was a difficult year for Israel, the US and all foreign supporters of militants in Syria. Their dreams for overthrowing Bashar al-Assad have failed and they have realized that the main reason behind their failure is the unity of the resistance movement in the region that has stood strong despite three years of war.

They consider Hezbollah as the core of resistance movement and seek to undermine the front by breaking the movement.

To achieve this objective they at first targeted Iran’s Embassy in Beirut, killing a number of Iranian and Lebanese nationals. But ever prudent, the Islamic Republic did not accuse any Lebanese group.

The assassination of Hezbollah commanders could not ignite the flame of sedition and tribal conflict in this country. Now it is the March 14 Alliance’s turn to pass this test. Although at first they accused Hezbollah, but they still have time to retreat from their wrong approach.

The group’s insistence on its illogical stance will yield two possible outcomes. It may lose a major part of its popularity since the coalition does not enjoy considerable popular support and will be forced to leave the political scene, because the interference of foreign parties such as Saudi Arabia and Israel in this plot is quite obvious.

The second possibility is foreign interference and the formation of truth-finding committees such as those established during the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, which not only led to the acquittal of Hezbollah from accusations, but also strengthened the group’s status among the people of Lebanon whereby Hezbollah gained several key positions at Lebanon’s coalition government.

* Tahmineh Bakhtiari is an Iranian journalist and an expert on the Middle East and Latin America. Her writings have appeared in many print and online journals and newspapers including The Khorassan Daily, Jam-e Jam, Jomhuri Islami and Aftrab-e Yazd. Bakhtiari has a master’s degree in international relations. This article was originally published on December 28, 2013 in Press TV. It is being is being reproduced with slight modifications. The views expressed are those of the writer. [IDN-InDepthNews – December 29, 2013]

Photo: Lebanese security forces and firefighters inspect the scene of a huge car bomb blast in central Beirut on December 27, 2013. Credit: Press TV

2013 IDN-InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters

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