December 4, 2006 Special Dispatch No. 1377

Lebanese Daily: The Opposition's Street Actions are a Syrian-Iranian Coup

December 4, 2006
Syria, Lebanon, Iran | Special Dispatch No. 1377

In its December 1, 2006 editorial, the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal, which is affiliated with the March 14 Forces, warned that the street actions organized by the Hizbullah-led Lebanese opposition are actually a coup that is being carried out on Syrian and Iranian orders. The daily pointed to the similarity between the situation in Lebanon and the situation in the Palestinian territories, stating that the resemblance arises from Syria's and Iran's involvement in both.

The following are excerpts from the editorial: [1]

An Attempt to Incite Disobedience in the Lebanese Army

"Yesterday the picture was completed. The commander of the coup, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, set the time for the launch of the street actions and sit-down strikes for three o'clock today. This declaration reminds the Lebanese of past times, when coups occurred in other [places]. [Back then], one of the officers would get on the radio and read out 'Announcement No.1' [declaring a coup]. Today, [Hizbullah's TV station] Al-Manar undertook to broadcast [this] announcement, in a military tone, on behalf of the so-called 'national opposition,' following a [TV] appearance by Nasrallah. Nothing was needed to complete the picture except [people] firing celebratory shots [in the air], and shots were indeed fired in Al-Dahiya, [Hizbullah's stronghold in Beirut,] to underscore the victory...

"All those who took part in the coup became officers [serving] under its commander. They all undertook the task of supervising his units and regiments...Those among them who considered themselves figures of stature, and [even] those who were indeed figures of stature, have now become mere [pawns]... It is clear that Hizbullah and its allies are implementing a Syrian decision, and an order given by the Iranians by means of a fatwa...

"It is important to point out [Lebanese President Emile] Lahoud's part in the current coup. He declared that government officials may disobey the decisions of their superiors and of their ministries, since the government running the country 'is illegal and lacks constitutional legitimacy...' This statement is incitement to disobedience... According to the law, the army is subordinate to the government... It is no secret that Lahoud's [statement] is essentially [meant to] incite the army to disobedience. Lahoud aims to incite the army against the government so that it will support the impending coup..."

The Goal: Thwarting The Establishment Of An International Tribunal And Thwarting The Implementation Of U.N.S.C. Resolution 1701

"The direct goal of the Syrian-Iranian coup against the situation in Lebanon is to thwart the [establishment of] an international tribunal [to investigate the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Al-Hariri]. However, its [other] goal is to thwart [the implementation of] [U.N. Security Council] Resolution 1701, and in fact this is a coup against the very existence of the state. Oh [Lebanese] Army, as of today you face the test of defending the state, the regime, and its institutions. In its entire history, the Lebanese Army has never faced such a grave challenge... At present, the army has national motivation [to act] against a foreign scheme to take over Lebanon. If this scheme succeeds, it is liable to turn the [Lebanese] Army into militias [similar] to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

"Thus, the coup will be put into action today on an order from Hassan Nasrallah... Nasrallah is disregarding the facts. The Islamic Spiritual Summit [2] declared that taking to the streets is a condemnable act. Nabih Berri himself was against taking to the streets. Even former prime ministers Omar Karami and Salim Al-Hoss sensed the people's mood around them, and announced that they would prefer the street actions to be avoided... Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir was also strongly [against taking to the streets]...

"The coup that Nasrallah is leading... from 'underground tunnels' is [a coup] against national unity... This is a coup by the 'Hizbullah state' against the Taif [Accords]. This is a coup by one group [i.e., the Shi'ites] against the other groups [in Lebanon]..."

Iran and Syria Are Operating In Palestine As Well

"Between the Palestinian Hizbullah - that is, Hamas - and the Lebanese Hamas - that is, Hizbullah - there is [only] a short distance... Iran is in Lebanon, and it is in Palestine as well. The Syrian regime is in Lebanon, and it is in Palestine as well. The March 14 Movement is not wrong to see a link between the Lebanese issue and the Palestinian issue... Neither Lebanon nor Palestine will find salvation as long as the Syrian regime remains [in power], and as long as the Iranian regime continues to run away from its crises [and to storm] forward. As for the coup in Lebanon, it disturbs the peace, undermines stability, and exacerbates people's problems. But [this coup] is destined to fail, even if it at a high price."

[1] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), December 1, 2006.

[2] On November 28, 2006, an "Islamic Spiritual Summit" was held in Lebanon. Among the participants were representatives of the major religious groups in Lebanon, including the Mufti of Lebanon, the deputy head of the Supreme Shi'ite Council, and the head Druze sheikh. At the end of the summit, the participants issued an announcement calling on Lebanon's political leaders to resolve the current crisis through dialogue alone, emphasizing that people should not be allowed to take to the streets.

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