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Friday, December 01, 2006

The Lines are Drawn Between Siniora and Nasrallah

Hundreds of thousands have
taken to the streets demanding Siniora's resignation, but Siniora has been preparing for this moment.

Hundreds of thousands of predominantly Shiite demonstrators launched a sit-in across the street from Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's offices in Beirut Friday, demanding his government's resignation.
Retired General Michel Aoun, leader of the predominantly Christian Free Patriotic Movement, addressed the crowd from behind a bullet-proof glass shield saying: "I call on the premier and his ministers to resign".

Aoun told the cheering crowd: "Resignation is the only way out".

He criticized some media reports that said participation in the protest by Christians, Sunnis and Druze Muslims was marginal.

Aoun, addressing media organizations, said: "Shame on you to differentiate one sect from another… we've gathered under the Lebanese flag".

However, security sources said most participants in the sit-in drove from the mainly Shiite south Lebanon and the eastern sector, which are traditional strongholds for Hizbullah.

This has been the story today, so in doing some searching, I found the other article, which states that Siniora has added about 11,000 mostly Sunni Muslim and Christian troops, and has armed them with weapons and vehicles donated by the United Arab Emirates, a Sunni state.

The dramatic increase in Interior Ministry troops, including the creation of a controversial intelligence unit and the expansion of a commando force, is meant to counter the growing influence of Iran and Hezbollah, its Shiite ally in Lebanon, Cabinet minister Ahmed Fatfat said in an interview this week.

The quiet, speedy buildup indicates that Lebanon's anti-Syria ruling majority, led by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, has been bracing for armed sectarian conflict since the withdrawal of Syrian forces in the spring of 2005. It also reflects growing tensions across the region between U.S.-allied Sunni Muslims who hold power in most Arab nations and the increasingly influential Shiite-ruled Iran and Hezbollah.

Over the last week, government officials have moved about 8,000 troops — 5,000 from the army and 3,000 from the newly expanded Internal Security Forces, or ISF — into Beirut in preparation for a massive Hezbollah-led demonstration set to begin today, Fatfat said.

Nasrallah has a fight on his hands and we can only sit back and watch, but this young democracy is not stepping down without a fight. Good for them.

Previously I had written about the Ramifications of a Job Half Done Part one and two and the Comparisons of Israel leaving Lebanon before they had finished the job with the US leaving Iraq as a job half done.

Hizbullah needs to be disarmed once and for all and if Siniora cannot or will not do it, then Israel will end up having to.

Michael Totten has an update.

Update. The Hizbullah militia has laid siege to the government building, trapping the prime minister and cabinet ministers inside. Roadblocks were set up by Hizbullah members in what can only be described as coup d'etat.

The Lebanese army had to call Nabih Berri, and the Saudi King had to intervene through his ambassador, to "partially" remove the siege. Hizbullah "tents" are still on the roads, isolating the government building.

The Saudi king phoned the cabinet and spoke to all ministers one by one, affirming his support. The only countries NOT supporting this government are Syria and Iran.

March 14 is "watching and observing".

Seems everyone is watching and most are rooting for the young democracy.

Others discussing this:
Hot Air, Counterterrorism Blog, Right Wing Nut House, From Beirut to the Beltway, Gateway Pundit, A Blog For All, snapped shot and Bill's Bites